Know how long you have.
We know quite a bit, particularly since the end of Windows 10 and the release of Windows 11 have been announced.
Microsoft maintains a very public list of its end-of-support dates and expectations.
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Windows End of Support
- Versions prior to Windows 10 are no longer supported.
- Windows 10 support ends October 14, 2025.
- Windows 11 support ends 24 months after each annual feature release.
The master list
First, you can find Microsoft’s public list at Lifecycle FAQ.
It’s no longer a list of dates, but rather a list of expectations …
… though some dates are definitely included.
‘Windows 8.1 and earlier’ end of support
Windows 8.1 and everything prior to it is no longer supported. The operating system will still run, of course, and you can continue to use it — you just won’t get any updates.
Windows 10 end of support
Prior to announcing Windows 11, Microsoft announced that the final support date for Windows 10 would be October 14, 2025.1
But the reality is a little more granular, and, depending on how often you update, sooner.
Each half-yearly release of Windows 10 is supported for 18 months from its release date. As long as you update, you’ll “reset the clock” to 18 months with each release. If you don’t take a feature release for over 18 months, then Windows will complain, and you’ll stop getting updates to Windows.
The combination of the 18-month support window and the final support date of October 15, 2025 implies the last feature release for Windows 10 will be 18 months earlier, around April of 2024.
Windows 11 end of support
Windows 11 isn’t even out yet, so it’s a little early to talk about the end of support, but it’s worth noting that the rules are changing there too.
New versions of Windows 11 will be released once per year, and both Pro and Home editions will be supported for 24 months from each version’s release.
What does end of support really mean?
There’s always confusion about exactly what “end of support” really means. In short, it means that there will be no more updates, no more bug fixes, and no more security issues addressed.
- Windows will continue to run after its end of support date (though it might complain).
- Your programs will continue to run after Windows’ end of support date.
- Other Microsoft software — most commonly Windows Security — may continue to get updates after Windows’ end of support date.
- Other non-Microsoft software may or may not continue to work, and may or may not continue to get updates depending on that software vendor’s decisions. (Most continue to work and get updates for some time.)
The biggest issue is the lack of security fixes. This puts additional responsibility on you to use the internet safely and take the security of your machine seriously. You should already be doing this, of course, but the additional safety net of operating system support will be removed if you continue to use it past its end of support date.
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Footnotes & References
1: An upcoming article will discuss whether this change represents deception in Microsoft’s original positioning of Windows 10.
12 comments on “When is Windows Support Ending?”
“The biggest issue is the lack of security fixes. This puts additional responsibility on you to use the internet safely and take the security of your machine seriously. You should already be doing this, of course, but the additional safety net of operating system support will be removed if you continue to use it past its end of support date.”
That’s why I figure, while it won’t be for everyone, Linux (Linux Mint etc) is a good way to extend the useful life of hardware by years, maybe many years, beyond Windows (hell, it’s basically THE reason I can still use my old ASUS motherboard from 2005-2006 to this day (since Win7 is the newest version of Windows that hardware can run as any newer simply won’t work)).
because, short of hardware failure (or other unforeseen issues), there is a good chance still be using my current primary PC setup (i5-3550 CPU / 1050 Ti 4GB GPU / 16GB of RAM etc) beyond the Oct 2025 point. so I am fortunate that Linux Mint (currently using v20.2-Cinnamon) works well enough for me for what I do on my PC that I don’t really need Windows anymore. I have been on Mint exclusively since Jan 2019 and Mint v20.x series is supported til basically April 2025. but playing the odds, ill be covered til at least April 2027 or so given it’s likely Mint v21.x series will work well on my computer to which will probably be released about 11 months from now in June 2022 and will probably be supported til about April 2027. but after this point, who knows. I mainly say that in regards to NVIDIA driver support because once I lose that, while Mint will still work, it won’t work as well, especially on anything that takes advantage of the GPU (like gaming etc) (like I expect that (lack of proper GPU driver) to become a issue for me before my CPU etc). my guess is ‘at best’ ill be covered til about April 2029 which would be Mint v22.x series since to guesstimate things, NVIDIA probably supports GPU’s roughly 10 years and apparently the Geforce 10 series GPU’s were first released in 2016 (I had mine since July 2017). so I figure it will probably be covered til at least 2024 at which point that would be when Mint v22.x series comes out, which would be supported til about April 2029 according to their current release pattern. but if that ends up being true, that would give me personally about 12 years of use out of my GPU which I can’t complain. but I figure ill probably get a minimum of 10 years assuming Mint v21.x series is the last one to support it with a proper NVIDIA driver. but I suspect by roughly the years 2027-2029 (or so), then it ‘may’ be time for me to build a new PC as I can probably get a rather large upgrade for minimal $.
Please take Leo’s comment “If you don’t take a feature release for over 18 months, … you’ll stop getting updates to Windows.” very seriously.
We thought “feature release” updates didn’t seem important, and as we seemed to have many post update issues with Windows 10, we did not update a laptop to 20H1.
Recently we found we were not able to get any security updates for the laptop and chatted with Microsoft, learning that our laptop had reached “end of service” for Windows 8. They explained that because we had upgraded from Windows 8, our service end date was now, not at end of service for Windows 10, even though that is what we were running, and had upgraded to years ago. All because we did not download feature release 20H1.
We decided it was unsafe to run a laptop not getting updates, so had to buy a new one, something we could ill afford.
Take note of Leo’s very smart advice!
It’s still possible to upgrade your Windows 8 machine to Windows 10, or at least, it was possible until recently. Give it a try.
Is Windows 10 Still Free in 2021? Where to Get It and How To Install It -Yes, you can still upgrade for free
Where Can I Download Windows 10? Or Windows 7?
If you read this again, I think you’ll find they WERE on WIn 10.
They can use those links to upgrade to the latest Win 10 version.
Is there some reason you didn’t just take subsequent feature release updates? Many people have no issue at all, and those that so are often fixed simply by waiting a while. Seems like you’ve waited quite a while.
It’s not clear what you meant by ” … we found we were not able to get any security updates for the laptop …”.
If you WERE running WIN 10 you would have had a licence for Win 10 associated with your laptop.
You could have resolved your issue easily by:
1) Making sure you had a backup of YOUR data
2) Going the WIN 10 download page and selecting the ‘update this device’ option
“The biggest issue is the lack of security fixes”. How true. News flash, Microsoft has already announced security vulnerabilities for Windows 11. That’s Windows 11. So, I suppose moving the Start button from the left to the center doesn’t quite do the job.
I don’t quite understand the point here. Of course Windows 11 has problems. It’s Not Released, and wont’ be for at least half a year. That’s why I recommend people avoid it.
Whether Windows 11 is released or not is not material to the level of “security” it’ll bring to the game. From that perspective it’ll be the same old story. The point I was trying to make is that “Windows support”, as it pertains to security, is not something to fret over. Internet security is still up to the user and, as you say, “this puts additional responsibility on you to use the internet safely” – as it always did, with or without support. But wouldn’t it have been refreshing if Microsoft came out and said that Windows 10 has this xyz vulnerability, but Windows 11 doesn’t?
Very interesting article (as they all are).
However, “Versions prior to 8.1 are no longer supported” as stated above, has me confused (not difficult at 83). I have a Windows 7 laptop and still getting updates. Why is that?
You are not getting updates to Windows itself. See this article, even though it talks about Windows XP, it applies equally to Windows 7: Why Am I Still Getting Updates for Windows XP? (I’ll be adding a version of that article for Windows 7 soon.)