Lifecycle FAQ—Windows products

Applies to: Windows

On this page:

Windows 10

What are the requirements for servicing and updating Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channels?

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include new features, security and/or non-security fixes, or a combination of both based on your release channel.

A device might not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturers' (“OEM”) support period. Not all features in an update will work on all devices.

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). Microsoft will continue to support at least one Semi-Annual Channel version of Windows 10 until the previously defined extended support end date of October 14, 2025.

On Semi-Annual Channel devices that do not defer the installation of feature updates, the subsequent Semi-Annual Channel version of Windows 10 may be automatically installed prior to the support end date. Update deferral is not available in all versions of Windows 10. Please see Windows as a Service (WaaS) for information on release channels and the Windows 10 release info page for additional update details.

What happened to the End of Mainstream Support date for Windows 10 listings on the Lifecycle Product Search page?

In the Windows as a Service (WaaS) model, the concept of Mainstream Support does not apply to Semi-Annual Channels as each Semi-Annual Channel will be serviced for a limited time and require moving to the next Semi-Annual Channel to continue to receive security and non-security updates.

What are the requirements for servicing and updating the Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel?

The Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) is designed to be used only for specialized devices (which typically don't run Microsoft Office), such as those that control medical equipment or ATM machines.

See Overview of Windows as a Service (WaaS) for more information on release channels and the Windows 10 release info page for additional update details.

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include security and/or non-security fixes.

A device might 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).

Windows Server

What are the requirements for servicing and updating Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel)?

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include new features, security and/or non-security fixes, or a combination of both based on your release channel. For the Semi-Annual Channel, new features in an update might not work on all devices. Please see the Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel overview for information on release channels.

A device might not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturers' (“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).

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows Server Update Services?

Previously a standalone product, Windows Server Update Services became a component of the Windows Server operating system beginning with Windows Server 2012. As a component, it follows the Lifecycle Policy for the product on which it is installed – Windows Server (the parent product). A component is defined as a set of files or features that are included with a Microsoft product, whether it is shipped with the product, included in a product service pack or update, or later made available as a web download for the product.

Microsoft Windows - General  

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows?

Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel and Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel are governed by the Modern Policy. Other Windows products are governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy. Search for the product lifecycle for your specific Windows product and its corresponding Lifecycle Policy and end-of-support dates.

Windows 8.1 

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, and will reach end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 have two years, until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported.

Windows Embedded

How does the end of support for Windows XP impact Windows Embedded products?

Windows Embedded products have their own distinct lifecycles, based on when the product was released and made generally available. It is important for businesses to understand the support implications for these products in order to ensure that systems remain up-to-date and secure. The following Windows Embedded products are based on Windows XP:

  • Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems. This product is identical to Windows XP, and Extended Support ended on April 8, 2014.
  • Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 3 (SP3). This is the original toolkit and componentized version of Windows XP. It was originally released in 2002, and Extended Support ended on Jan. 12, 2016.
  • Windows Embedded for Point of Service SP3. This product is for use in point of sale devices. It’s built from Windows XP Embedded. It was originally released in 2005, and Extended Support ended on April 12, 2016.
  • Windows Embedded Standard 2009. This product is an updated release of the toolkit and componentized version of Windows XP. It was originally released in 2008, and Extended Support will end on January 8, 2019.
  • Windows Embedded POSReady 2009. This product for point of sale devices reflects the updates available in Windows Embedded Standard 2009. It was originally released on 2009, and extended support will end on April 9, 2019. 

Windows Silicon Policy

What is the Windows policy for silicon support?

Windows products will be supported for security, reliability, and compatibility on the latest silicon available at the time of release. This includes previous silicon generations still in support by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

 

Windows RT  

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows RT?

Microsoft will make software updates, including security updates, available for Windows RT. Search here for your specific product and its corresponding Lifecycle Policy.

The information on this page is subject to the Microsoft Policy Disclaimer and Change Notice. Return to this site periodically to review any such changes.