When will Microsoft pull the plug on your version of Windows or Office?

Summary:Windows XP is only months from its end-of-support date. What happens when the clock runs out? And how long until current versions of Windows, Windows Server, and Office suffer the same fate?

[For details about Windows support dates, see the previous page.]

Office support dates

The Office support lifecycle works just like Windows. Here are the support dates for each current member of the Office family:

Office 2013

This is the current release of Office, with a schedule that goes roughly three months past that of Windows 8. Mainstream support ends on April 10, 2018, with extended support continuing until April 11, 2023. (As a side note: the subscription-based Office 365 automatically updates itself to the most recent release, so it has no support lifecycle.)

Office 2010 Service Pack 2

Support for Service Pack 1 ends on October 14, 2014. But once you install Service Pack 2, you'll find this version is in its prime, with end of support dates that are 6 months after those of Windows 7. Mainstream support ends October 13, 2015, and the end date for extended support  is not until October 13, 2020.

Office 2007 Service Pack 3

Earlier service pack release are no longer supported, and this group of products has already passed the end of mainstream support. Extended support ends on October 10, 2017.

Office 2003 Service Pack 3

This old-timer is on the same calendar as Windows XP, with mainstream support already ended and extended support slated to end on April 8, 2014.

How the support lifecycle works

For all versions of Windows and Office, Microsoft provides at least five years of mainstream support, followed by another five years of extended support. These lifecycles apply equally to business and home versions of Windows and Office. Service packs have separate end-of-support dates. For example, beginning next week you’ll need to be running Service Pack 1 to get support for Windows 7. (There’s an exhaustive FAQ if you want to dig deeper into this stuff.)

Generally, “supported” means you have access to at least one type of assisted support option (possibly paid) and no-charge security updates through channels like Windows Update and the Download Center.

The calculations start with the general availability (GA) date for each product. The official date of retirement for support is the second Tuesday in the first month of the quarter following that anniversary (which also happens to be Patch Tuesday). That grace period typically means a few weeks or months of extra support tacked on at the end of the five- and ten-year support cycles for each product.

For Windows 7, you can do the math yourself. The GA date for all Windows 7 editions was October 22, 2009. Five years after that date is October 22, 2014. The next calendar quarter begins in January, 2015, and the second Tuesday of that month is January 13. So, that's when mainstream support is scheduled to end. Extended support for business all editions goes an extra five years, until January 14, 2020, which happens to be the second Tuesday of that month. (Those calculations don't work for Windows XP, whose end-of-life date was extended artificially.)

To find the end-of-support date for any Microsoft product, use the  Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search page, the product family index, or the full A-Z product index to get the official answer. When you find the entry for a specific product, you can see the general availability date, the retirement dates for mainstream and extended support, and retirement dates for service packs.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, Windows

About

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the a... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.