Microsoft reveals Windows 8 Product Lifecycle

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 25, 2012

When you buy software or hardware, you usually want to know how long the developer or manufacturer supports it. When it comes to Windows, the product lifecycle of each version of Windows is divided into mainstream support and extended support. Mainstream support is the first phase of the product support lifecycle. It covers both security and non-security updates for the operating system, as well as complimentary support that is included with the license and paid support. The extended support phase provides users of the operating system with security updates, and paid support is available as well.

The Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems for instance are currently in the extended support phase, while Windows 7 and Windows 8 are in the mainstream support phase.

Microsoft has added Windows 8 and Windows RT to its product lifecycle search. Here is a list of Microsoft operating systems and their mainstream and extended support end dates:

  • Windows XP: Mainstream support ended, Extended support end date: 8.4.2014.
  • Windows Vista: Mainstream support ended, Extended support end date: 11.4.2017.
  • Windows 7: Mainstream support end date 13.1.2015, Extended support end date: 14.1.2020.
  • Windows 8: Mainstream support end date 9.1.2018, Extended support end date 10.1.2023.
  • Windows RT: Not yet communicated.
  • Surface with Windows RT: Mainstream support end date 11.4.2017, Extended support end date: not applicable as it is a consumer device.

Windows 8 mainstream support ends in 2018, while extended support will deliver security patches for the operating system for another 5 years afterwards. That's the expected time frame as it follows the support lifecycles of previous versions of Windows.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft will support its Surface tablets until 2017. If you compare that to the product lifecycle of other tablet devices, you will notice that this is a rather difficult thing to do, as most manufacturers do not reveal the lifecycle of their products on the Internet.

Microsoft has yet to communicate the Windows RT end of support dates, and it is not really clear why the dates have not yet been communicated. What's almost certain is that it won't end before the Surface's lifecycle ends.


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  1. berttie said on November 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    @ hal9000

    I suspect you will be disappointed by windows 9 beta. App stores are where the money is so Microsoft will want to keep Metro in your face as much as possible so you’ll be tempted into buying. For them it’s a very lucrative business, 30% off the top for doing very little.

  2. ilev said on November 25, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    “It is interesting to note that Microsoft will support its Surface tablets until 2017″…

    Surface won’t be around more than a year. Its the new Kin, Zune, Danger….

    1. ilev said on November 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      p.s XP, with 40% market share (55% in enterprise) will have another 5 years
      of support added, at least until Microsoft will come to its senses with
      Windows 9/10 sp1.

  3. hal9000 said on November 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    what is disturbing about this is that MS think people will put up with windows 8 for that long… come on windows 9 beta

    1. baka said on November 26, 2012 at 1:41 am

      Yes, Windows 9…

  4. Gonzo said on November 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    This has been my biggest concern regarding Windows RT. I applaud Microsoft for establishing a Product Lifecycle for the Windows RT Surface! The fact that it’s half as long as Windows 8 is a little disturbing though.

    Windows RT is ARM which uses GPIOs. There’s no BIOS/UEFI so each OS must be compiled individually per device.

    The lack of Lifecycle for non Surface Win RT begs the question, will updates to non Surface ARM based tablets come from MS or the OEMs? If it’s from the OEMs how is the contract written? Did MS leave it to the OEMs like Android? If so, did MS just blindside the OEMs with this announcement?

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