Microsoft updated the Windows lifecycle fact sheet in July 2015 to highlight the two support phases for its upcoming operating system Windows 10.
Windows 10, which will be officially unveiled and released on July 29, 2015 is provided as a free upgrade by the company to eligible users.
The announcement caused confusion among some users in January when it was first made as rumors came up that Microsoft would introduce a subscription-based service shortly after the one-year free period.
Microsoft did a bad job at responding to those claims which is the core reason why the rumor is not dead yet. It published a statement months after the original "free" statement was released to clarify the situation.
The announcement did not cover the support lifetime (or lifecycle) of Windows 10 which raised other issues as rumors emerged on the Internet that Windows 10 would only be supported for a short period of time.
The updated lifecycle fact sheet on the official Microsoft Windows website puts an end to that rumor as well.
It highlights the following end of support dates for Windows 10:
The difference between mainstream and extended support is that extended support is limited to security updates and paid support, while non-security updates and feature changes are part of mainstream support.
The support range is not that different from previous versions of Windows, and the only difference is that the time period between support end dates of different versions of Windows has been reduced to two years from three years previously.
The lifecycle page offers additional information about updates are handled by Windows 10 which is different from previous versions.
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.
According to the information, users need to install updates in chronological order as they are cumulative. Microsoft mentioned previously that updates would be mandatory for Home users, and that Pro users could postpone them for up to eight months but no longer than that.
It also revealed what would happen if users would block (feature) updates from being applied to the system stating that security updates would not be be provided anymore for those systems until all previous updates were installed first.
Good news is that Windows 10 users will receive support for the operating system at least until 2025 which is more than ten years after release. That's a long time in computing and while some devices may still be in use at the end of the extended support phase, it is likely that most users will have moved on by then.
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