Microsoft Extends Windows 7, Vista Support to 10 Years

Microsoft could support four operating systems at the same time.

It looks like Microsoft has finally learned that old operating systems don't die quickly.

Perhaps in an acknowledgement of reality, Microsoft has quietly extended the consumer support for its two most recent operating systems, Windows 7 and Vista, from the usual seven years to 10 years.

The plan now is for an additional five years of mainstream/consumer support, while business users will get another five years of extended support. The agreement used to be two years of extended support following the last service pack, but that fell by the wayside beginning with Windows XP because its lifespan in the market was extended for so long.

Don't confuse support for sales, however. XP and Vista are off the market now, and at some point, Windows 7 will also exit the market. This is purely support from Microsoft, both in calls for help and releasing new patches/fixes.

Support for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 was supposed to end on April 10, 2012. It now has another five years of support, ending April 11, 2017. Mainstream support for Windows 7 ends on January 13, 2015, and extended support runs out on January 14, 2020. No end date is set for Windows 7 Service Pack 1.

"In the past, commercial customers who updated to the most current supported Security Packs (SPs) could receive security updates, even when Mainstream Support for a product ended. This update formalizes that all editions of our operating systems will receive security updates as long as they are using the most current SP," a Microsoft spokesperson said.

The next Microsoft desktop operating system to lose support will be Windows XP Service Pack 3, which ends in April 2014. So, assuming Microsoft ships Windows 8 this fall, Microsoft may have four operating systems to support for about a year and a half.

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