What does it mean if Windows isn't supported?

An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—new drivers for your hardware and more.

Support end dates

Here are the dates when support will end for PCs running Windows XP and Windows Vista without the latest service packs:

  • Support for Windows XP ended on April 8, 2014. For more information, see Windows XP support has ended.

  • Support for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) ended on July 12, 2011. To continue support, make sure you've installed Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2).

  • Support for Windows Vista without any service packs ended on April 13, 2010. To continue support, make sure you've installed Windows Vista SP2.

If your version of Windows is still supported, you should always be sure to install the latest updates or service packs for Windows. You can download and install these through Windows Update.

Windows will continue to run

Even if you have an unsupported version of Windows XP or Windows Vista without any service packs, Windows will continue to start and run.

For full details about the support policy, see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ.