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

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

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  • Too bad they can't swap versions to expire

    Swap Win8 for XP and Office 2010 for 2003, for starters.
    • Why would they do that?

      XP is, architecture-wise, ancient. There have been so many improvements in the years, and you think they should just go backwards?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • One person's improvements

        Is another's forever buggy pile of bloated rubbish.
        • ... not to fix bugs

          Because going back to a codebase from 12 years ago will totally fix bugs.
          • Actually, Microsoft did something like that before

            When deciding what to do about the next OS after Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft decided to go back to the more stable 3.x version of NT and build Windows 2000 and later XP from that rather than the 4.0 version, which had moved to many things to kernel mode to speed things up at the expense of security and stability. (Before some of you whine-object about how stable your NT 4.0 servers were, you are remembering patched versions running only a few server apps on a given server.)

            Microsoft could easily go back to Win2k or XP and build an updated, compact kernel from either, and then give users a couple of GUI interfaces. (The best version of XP has long been the hacked, nLited version of it called TinyXP There is also TinyVista and Tiny7, but not nearly as impressive.)
          • Not true

            Windows 2000 was built on top of NT 4, not 3.x. The movement of User and GDI to kernel mode is still there today (win32k.sys).

            The only time anything remotely similar happened was the Longhorn reset, where they threw out the 2003-era PDC preview versions (which had been built on top of XP in parallel with Server 2003), and started over on top of Server 2003.
          • No

            I actually heard it from someone who was in know on this -- Win2K was derived mostly from NT 3.x and *not* 4.0. This basically explains the differences between NT 3.51 and 4.0, and why the 4.0 path was ended:
          • Yuhong Bao

            Look for win32k.sys in your system32 directory.
          • Right. Heard it from someone who was "in the know on this"

            Same person "in the know" who told me that Linus Trovalds told them in confidence that Windows is better then Linux?
          • Reply to "William.Farrel"

            That is one of the most stupid this comment that I've ever heard. Anyway the ISS dropped Windows in favour of Linux because I needed something that was "reliable"
            Mercia Dragon
          • (Sure, ignore the clarification.)

            Not accurate.

            ..."[Update 5/10/13 9 p.m. EST: We heard from Kieth Chuvala below who said his comments with the Linux Foundation have been misconstrued. The ISS does use Linux as well as Windows, and has no plans to ditch Windows any time soon. This story has been updated to reflect Chuvala's correction.]"...
          • Longhorn was OK

            It was built on the same platform as XP. Vista was horrible, something NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME and NOT built on something stable. 7 is vista revisited. 8 is vista enhanced (Like ME was an enhanced version of 98.. awful.)
            "PCs running XP will not stop working when the clock runs out." Good point. People who don't NEED new computers will KEEP THEIR XP and be damn glad there are no more updates to screw them up. I forsee using XP even five to seven years from now, no problem.
          • Only

            they had best keep their XP computers offline lest some new exploits specific to XP get discovered but not patched. I imagine that if Windows continues becoming nothing more than a smartphone / pad emulator instead of a decent desktop / laptop OS, that people will just eventually be driven towards alternatives. I myself would be, although I've been "loyal" to MS operating systems (albeit picking and choosing which versions of Windows to update to) since my first IBM.
          • X2

            X 2 here.
          • pull the plug

            I plan to run with XP for quite a while longer. While some people "love" WIN8, they don't realize the amount of "bloatware" that is pulling down their system. ...you need a much larger hard drive and many more gigabytes of memory....
          • Win7 used less resources than Vista

            And I'm pretty sure that Win8 uses less resources than Win7 (particularly if you stay off the desktop). Vista was a *big* change from XP. Win7 was a refinement (with lots of optimizations) from Vista. Win8 continues that trend, though it adds the "modern UI" stuff.

            You're right that Win8 likely has a larger footprint than XP (it's been 12 years after all, and memory is probably more than an order of magnitude cheaper, and disk space has decreased in price by much more than that).

            However, if your box supports Win8, you will likely find that it runs Win8 faster than it ran XP.
          • Um, Longhorn was never going to work

            That's why the reset happened. Someday someone will write a book about everything that went into the Longhorn debacle. I was working there at the time (though not in Windows), and I'm still covered by an NDA, so it can't talk about it. But believe me, Longhorn will never be coming back (which isn't to say that features based on what Longhorn had promised will not make it into Windows).

            People who keep using XP and keep their computers connected to the internet will likely find that their computers will eventually get overwhelmed with malware.
          • Old versus new

            Yeah buddy, they got to the Moon with 8mHz of processing power! Everything since has been anticlimactic. Bells and whistles, sound and fury signifying nothing! Newer most definitely does not mean better. The code bloat of the Windows Gui is legendary. The basic GUI does nothing that we couldn't do in DOS 6.2 with a little clever programming.
            David Beachler
          • what?

          • we could do a lot

            I have to agree with you there, we did do a lot with dos and a few hundred kb's of ram with maybe a 5?? mb hard drive. wouldn't be nice if windows didn't have the bloat.

            I have a old customer who runs a hot rod shop with a old hunter wheel alignment machine that works off a old 386 based computer with windows 3.11 for work groups, no problems getting his emails or doing the work he needs to do. ie search the internet for parts or grab his emails.