Microsoft product lifecycles

"Every Windows product has a lifecycle. The lifecycle begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported or sold. Knowing key dates in this lifecycle helps you make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software. Here are the rights and limits of the Windows lifecycle.” As taken from Microsoft’s lifecycle fact sheet.


Desktop operating systems


Latest service pack


End of mainstream support


End of extended support

Windows XP


Service Pack 3


April 14, 2009


April 8, 2014 2

Windows Vista


Service Pack 2


April 10, 2012


April 11, 2017

Windows 7 1


Service Pack 1


January 13, 2015


January 14, 2020

Windows 8


Not yet available


January 9, 2018


January 10, 2023


1 Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates.


2 Support for Windows XP is ending on April 8, 2014. If you're running this version after support ends, you won't get security updates for Windows. In addition software vendors will stop supporting XP too. Which means Anti-virus support and new devices like printers may no longer provide updates or other support for XP.


So what does this really mean to you and your business?  Basically you need to put a plan together NOW to migrate to a newer version of Windows. Currently your choices are Windows 7 or Windows 8. Before you decide you have to determine several things.

  1. Do all the software products I use work with either Windows 7 or 8?
  2. Will all my printers, scanners and other devices work with Windows 7 or 8?
  3. Can I just upgrade my computer to the new version of Windows or must I purchase a new computer? 3

3 This is a valid question but not necessarily an easy one to answer without looking at the system. A rule of thumb might be if your system is over three (3) years old then consider purchasing new.  This is where we can assist you in analyzing your system requirements.

End of sales refers to the date when a particular version of Windows is no longer shipped to retailers or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Examples of OEMS are Dell and Toshiba—PC manufacturers who often preinstall Windows software. When a version of Windows reaches its end of sales date, it's a good time to think about upgrading.

This table gives end of sales dates for specific Windows operating systems.

Desktop operating systems


Date of general availability


Retail software end of sales 4


End of sales for PCs with Windows preinstalled

Windows XP


December 31, 2001


June 30, 2008


October 22, 2010

Windows Vista


January 30, 2007


October 22, 2010


October 22, 2011

Windows 7


October 22, 2009


To be determined


To be determined

Windows 8


October 30, 2012


To be determined


To be determined

4 Note that when the retail software product reaches its end of sales date, it can still be purchased through OEMs (the company that made your PC) until it reaches the end of sales date for PCs with Windows preinstalled.