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Windows lifecycle fact sheet

Last updated: January 2016

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.

End of support

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.


 Client operating systems Latest update or service pack End of mainstream support End of extended support
  Windows XP  Service Pack 3 April 14, 2009  April 8, 2014
  Windows Vista  Service Pack 2  April 10, 2012  April 11, 2017
  Windows 7*  Service Pack 1  January 13, 2015  January 14, 2020
  Windows 8 Windows 8.1 January 9, 2018  January 10, 2023
Windows 10, released in July 2015** N/A  October 13, 2020  October 14, 2025

Prior versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, have limited support when running on new processors and chipsets from manufacturers like Intel, AMD, NVidia, and Qualcomm. For more information, please see the Support Lifecycle FAQ.

* 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.
** Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to install the latest update to remain supported. Updates may include new features, fixes (security and/or non-security), or a combination of both. Not all features in an update will work on all devices. A device may not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (“OEM”) support period. Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space).

End of support: questions and answers

What is the difference between mainstream support and extended support?
What should I do when the version of Windows I'm using reaches its end of support date?
How does the end of support for Windows XP affect my business?

End of sales

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.

This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.

Client operating systems and updatesDate of general availabilityRetail software end of sales*End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled
Windows XP December 31, 2001 June 30, 2008 October 22, 2010
Windows Vista January 30, 2007 October 22, 2010 October 22, 2011
Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate October 22, 2009 October 31, 2013 October 31, 2014
Windows 7 Professional October 22, 2009 October 31, 2013 October 31, 2016
Windows 8 October 26, 2012 October 31, 2014 June 30, 2016
Windows 8.1 October 18, 2013 September 1, 2015 October 31, 2016
Windows 10July 29, 2015 N/AN/A

* 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.

End of sales: questions and answers

How long can OEMs sell devices with a prior version of Windows installed?
How long can retailers sell a prior version of Windows?
How long will Volume Licensing be available for a prior version of Windows?

Service packs and updates

Service packs and updates are part of the process of keeping Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 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 Vista, or Windows 7, or to install the latest update for Windows 8, visit the Service Pack Center.

Desktop operating systemsDate of availabilitySupport retired 
Windows XP SP1August 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 Available now
Windows 7 SP1 February 22, 2011Available now
Windows 8.1 October 18, 2013 Available now
Windows 10, released in July 2015 N/A N/A


Service packs and updates: questions and answers

What is the support policy for Windows service packs?
If my version of Windows offers regular update notices, does that mean I have a service pack installed?
Where can I find information about service pack support for Windows Server products?

Windows downgrade rights

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.

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Article ID: 13853 - Last Review: Jun 9, 2016 - Revision: 34

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