Apparently, according to ZDNet, Microsoft quietly revised its support policy for consumer versions of Windows to give them a full 10 years of life time, mostly for the 2 most recent releases, Vista and Windows 7.
The official support for a version of Windows from Microsoft is divided by 2 stages, the mainstream support end date, and the extended support end date. Each has 5 years of support period. The service pack support ends somewhere between the release date and the mainstream support date.
Let’s take look this simple lifecycle for XP, Vista, and Windows 7.
|Products||Mainstream Support End Date||Extended Support End Date||Service Pack Support End Date|
|Windows XP||April 14, 2009||April 8, 2014||Expired|
|Windows Vista||April 10, 2012||April 11, 2017||Expired|
|Windows 7||January 13, 2015||January 14, 2020||April 9, 2013|
Windows XP is actually getting over 13 years of support from Microsoft, while both Vista and 7 get a couple of month over 10 years. No guarantee though this can be changed anytime down the road. Considering Vista is a badly failed product but still gets 10 years of support out of it, I won’t be surprised if Windows 7 gets more than XP in the future, unless Windows 8 gets extremely popular once it’s released.
Since the service pack for Windows 7 ends April 9 next year, we probably will only see one more service pack at the most. Hope we will be getting a bit of more Windows 8 features porting over to Windows 7 through next service pack.
Here is also a quite cheat sheet showing what’s covered in each support period.
Since the service update is available through the whole lifecycle at no additional cost, which matters the most to a Windows system, 10 years of life to an Operating System is quite a support from the software giant. Considering the added Windows 8 in the near feature, Microsoft will be quite busy supporting 4 different OS for a short while.