Windows Operating Systems Life Cycle Details
Microsoft’s product life cycle/support is fairly simple but they do a good job of making it look complicated and annoying to gather all the information.
There’s usually 2 dates of importance: mainstream support, and extended support end dates.
Mainstream is basically all the new features / improvements and standard non-security focused updates.
Extended support begins after Mainstream, and ensures the continuation of security patches.
They also throw in the dates of service packs but you can generally base yourself on the “Extended Support” date as your deadline for migrating to a newer system.
Your systems will still work perfectly fine past these dates, this is mainly a security issue as there will no longer be patches for any issues found. In the case of completely isolated systems this is not a huge deal, but for anything connected to a network or that has user interaction it can be a nightmare waiting to happen. Did you know that as of early 2016, many bank terminals/ATM systems still run on Windows XP? Let that sink in for a minute.
Windows Operating Systems End of Life List
Here is a list of Workstation and Server editions of Windows with their corresponding support dates. The list starts from windows XP onwards, if you’re using anything earlier than XP/2003 you’re either working for government or you should be shot.
|Windows Server 2016||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Windows Server 2012 R2||11/25/2013||1/9/2018||1/10/2023|
|Windows Server 2012||10/30/2012||1/9/2018||1/10/2023|
|Windows Server 2008 R2||10/22/2009||1/13/2015||1/14/2020|
|Windows Server 2008||5/6/2008||1/13/2015||1/14/2020|
|Windows Server 2003 R2||3/5/2006||7/13/2010||7/14/2015|
|Windows Server 2003||5/28/2003||7/13/2010||7/14/2015|
*While Windows 8 extended support lasts until 2023, you are actually required to be on 8.1 for that to be valid.
**Windows 10 comes with many notes about update support, they are as follows:
- 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).