Feeling a little… outdated?

Have you noticed that as time passes, the programs from Microsoft you know and use receive less and less updates and new features? There is a reason for this, known as the “Microsoft Product Lifecycle”. They’ve got a lot of information around it on their website, but it’s not exactly easy to find it. Here’s a brief explanation of it, with added emphasis on the brief. It’s pretty well written out on their end. The full policy can be found here

Read on to find out more…

Every product from Microsoft has a finite, predefined lifespan. This lifespan is defined by how long Microsoft are willing to provide product updates for the software.

The Lifecycle begins when the product is released. From this moment on the product is in both the “Service Pack Support” and the “Mainstream Support” cycles. During “Mainstream Support” a product will receive both security patches and new features via the appropriate update service, many of which will be rolled up into a “Service Pack”. Any updates released before the Service Pack is created can be included in it.

Once Service Pack support ends, any updates released after that will remain separate – they’ll never be packaged up into a big ‘service pack’ again (note that not all software gets service packs, which is why it’s in the table after the “Extended Support”).

Once “Mainstream Support” ends, the software moves into “Extended Support”. During this phase of the lifecycle, Microsoft will provide security patches for holes found in the software that can pose a risk to the user. Any issues found in software usage itself will no longer be fixed, and no new features or product improvements will be released. This cycle is the ideal space to be looking at your next options.

After the “Extended Support” cycle ends, the official stance from Microsoft is that the software is now an “as-is” program, ora “use at your own risk” software. There will be no fixes, no updates, and no improvements to that particular version of the program. If you want better, you have to update.

Here is the lifecycle (as it stands at article publication – the dates are subject to change should Microsoft change their minds). For further information about specific versions of the systems, you can click here or on the product names below.

 

Windows Operating System
Version Lifecycle Start Date Mainstream Support end date Extended Support end date Service Pack Support end date
Windows XP 31/12/2001 14/04/2009 08/04/2014 11/01/2011
Windows Vista 25/01/2007 10/04/2012 11/04/2017 13/04/2011
Windows 7 22/10/2009 13/01/2015 14/01/2020 09/04/2013
Windows 8 30/10/2012 09/01/2018 10/01/2023 12/01/2019
Windows 8.1 13/11/2013 09/01/2018 10/01/2023 12/01/2019

 

Microsoft Office Suites

Version Lifecycle Start Date Mainstream Support end date Extended Support end date Service Pack Support end date
Office 2003 17/11/2003 14/04/2009 08/04/2014 27/07/2005
Office 2007 27/01/2007 09/10/2012 10/10/2017 13/01/2009
Office 2010 15/07/2010 13/10/2015 13/10/2020 10/07/2012
Office 2013 09/01/2013 10/04/2018 11/04/2023 14/04/2015
Office 365 Information not available at present Information not available at present Information not available at present Information not available at present

 

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