Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software. Here are the rights and limits of the Windows lifecycle.
End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. For more information go to
Microsoft Support Lifecycle
Service Pack 3
April 14, 2009
April 8, 2014
Service Pack 2
April 10, 2012
April 11, 2017
Windows 7 *
Service Pack 1
January 13, 2015
January 14, 2020
January 9, 2018
January 10, 2023
* Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates.
End of support: questions and answers
Mainstream support—Microsoft will offer mainstream support for a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer. For example, if you buy a new version of Windows and five years later another version is released, you will still have two years of support left for the previous version.
Extended support—Microsoft will offer extended support for either a minimum of 5 years from the date of a product's general availability, or for 2 years after the second successor product (two versions later) is released, whichever is longer.
For more details on the difference between mainstream support and extended support, refer to the
Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ
You can either install the latest available update or service pack or you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows. For more information, see
What does it mean if my version of Windows is no longer supported?
Learn why Microsoft ended support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003, what it means to you, and how you can get access to all available tools to begin your migration.
End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba—PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it's a good time to think about upgrading.
This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.
December 31, 2001
June 30, 2008
October 22, 2010
January 30, 2007
October 22, 2011
Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate
October 22, 2009
October 31, 2013
October 31, 2014
Windows 7 Professional
Not yet established **
October 26, 2012
Not yet established
October 18, 2013
* Note that when the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled.
** Microsoft will provide one year of notice prior to the end of sale date.
End of sales: questions and answers
When Microsoft launches a new version of Windows, we will continue to allow OEMs to sell PCs preinstalled with the previous version for up to two years after the launch date of the new version unless otherwise announced. Certain OEM versions of Windows products include downgrade rights (as outlined within the software license terms). Downgrade rights make it possible to use a previous version of Windows instead of the licensed software preinstalled on a new PC. See Downgrade rights for additional details.
We will continue to allow retailers to sell the previous version of Windows for a year after the launch date of the new version.
For Volume Licensing programs, licenses will continue to be available through downgrade rights after the end of general availability. General availability of licenses for the previous version of Windows will cease as soon as the new version is available. However, we will make media available for the current version as well as the previous two versions.
Service packs and updates are part of the process of keeping your Windows product up to date. Service packs combine the latest updates and fixes into one package or download. A service pack can include security and performance improvements as well as support for new types of hardware. To install the latest service pack for Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7, or to install the latest update for Windows 8, visit the Service Pack Center.
Windows XP SP1
August 30, 2002
October 10, 2006
Windows XP SP2
September 17, 2004
July 13, 2010
Windows XP SP3
April 21, 2008
April 8, 2014
Windows Vista SP1
February 4, 2008
July 12, 2011
Windows Vista SP2
May 26, 2009
Windows 7 SP1
February 22, 2011
Service packs and updates: questions and answers
Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product's support lifecycle, whichever comes first. If you are using software without the latest service pack you won't be offered any new security or non-security updates, although preexisting updates will continue to be offered. Refer to the Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy for further information.
Not necessarily. Update notices only indicate your software has not reached its end of support date. To find out if you already have a service pack installed, read the information on our
page. To install the latest Windows service packs, see the Service Pack Center.
You can find this information on the
Windows 8.1 Support Lifecycle Policy
See the following table for service pack support information.
Windows 2000 Professional,
Windows 2000 Server, Advanced Server, and Datacenter Server
SP3 or earlier
SP4June 26, 2003
Update Rollup #1 for SP4June 28, 2005
Support for Windows 2000 ended on July 13, 2010. Microsoft is no longer producing public monthly security updates or service packs.
Windows Server 2003
SP2March 13, 2007
No further updates planned
Windows Server 2008
SP1(Windows Server 2008 was released including SP1)
SP2May 26, 2009
Not yet established
Windows Server 2008 R2
SP1February 22, 2011
To use prior versions of Windows software on PCs installed with newer versions, it is possible for consumers to obtain a license for downgrade rights. These downgrade rights will vary depending on if the software was acquired via Volume Licensing, OEM, or FPP. To learn more about these rights, review the
downgrade rights licensing brief.