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Lifecycle FAQ—Windows products


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Windows 10

What are the requirements for servicing and updating Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channels?

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon the updates preceding it. A device must have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include new features, security and/or non-security fixes, or a combination of both based on your release channel.

A device might not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturers' (“OEM”) support period. Not all features in an update will work on all devices.

Update availability may vary by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space). Microsoft will continue to support at least one Semi-Annual Channel version of Windows 10 until the previously defined extended support end date of October 14, 2025.

On Semi-Annual Channel devices that do not defer the installation of feature updates, the subsequent Semi-Annual Channel version of Windows 10 may be automatically installed prior to the support end date. Update deferral is not available in all versions of Windows 10. Please see Windows as a Service (WaaS) for information on release channels and the Windows 10 release info page for additional update details.

What are my installation options for Windows updates? 

Windows 10 quality updates are cumulative. Installing the most recent update ensures that customers receive any previous updates they may have missed. To help reduce the burden on network bandwidth, yet provide customers with the equivalent update, Microsoft designed three different update types: Full Updates, Express Updates and Delta Updates*.

*As of April 9th, 2019 Delta Updates are no longer be available. Customers can still use Express and Full updates. To learn more, go here.

What happened to the End of Mainstream Support date for Windows 10 listings on the Lifecycle Product Search page?

In the Windows as a Service (WaaS) model, the concept of Mainstream Support does not apply to Semi-Annual Channels as each Semi-Annual Channel will be serviced for a limited time and require moving to the next Semi-Annual Channel to continue to receive security and non-security updates.

What are the requirements for servicing and updating the Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel?

The Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) is designed to be used only for specialized devices (which typically don't run Microsoft Office), such as those that control medical equipment or ATM machines.

See Overview of Windows as a Service (WaaS) for more information on release channels and the Windows 10 release info page for additional update details.

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon the updates preceding it. A device must have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include security and/or non-security fixes.

A device might not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturer's (“OEM”) support period.

Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space).

Windows Server

What are the requirements for servicing and updating Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel)?

Updates are cumulative, with each update built upon all of the updates that preceded it. A device needs to have the latest update installed to remain supported.

Updates may include new features, security and/or non-security fixes, or a combination of both based on your release channel. For the Semi-Annual Channel, new features in an update might not work on all devices. Please see the Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel overview for information on release channels.

A device might not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturers' (“OEM”) support period.

Update availability may vary, for example by country, region, network connectivity, mobile operator (e.g., for cellular-capable devices), or hardware capabilities (including, e.g., free disk space).

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows Server Update Services?

Previously a standalone product, Windows Server Update Services became a component of the Windows Server operating system beginning with Windows Server 2012. As a component, it follows the Lifecycle Policy for the product on which it is installed – Windows Server (the parent product). A component is defined as a set of files or features that are included with a Microsoft product, whether it is shipped with the product, included in a product service pack or update, or later made available as a web download for the product.

Microsoft Windows - General  

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows?

Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel and Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel are governed by the Modern Policy. Other Windows products are governed by the Fixed Lifecycle Policy. Search for the product lifecycle for your specific Windows product and its corresponding Lifecycle Policy and end-of-support dates.

Microsoft does not differentiate Microsoft Lifecycle Policy between consumer and business versions of desktop operating system products. Search here for the product lifecycle for your specific Windows product and its corresponding Lifecycle Policy.

If you obtained a retail (packaged product) copy of a Windows desktop operating system, you are eligible for support from Microsoft, subject to the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy and the support terms and conditions that were in place at the time of purchase. If you acquired your Windows desktop operating system through the Microsoft Volume Licensing program or from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Microsoft offers access to a wealth of online self-help support content in addition to paid technical help offerings. If you acquired your Windows desktop operating system through an OEM, you may also contact your OEM for more information about the support offerings for Windows desktop operating systems from that OEM

Microsoft offers self-help tools and content on the Microsoft Support website. These resources include the Microsoft Knowledge Base, how-to articles, troubleshooting information, frequently asked questions, TechNet Support Webcasts, community newsgroups, and more.

When a Windows desktop operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle or is no longer supported, does that mean new programs will not run on that operating system?

Even if an operating system is no longer available for purchase or support through Microsoft, that operating system may still work with programs and with hardware that become available after sale or support of the operating system was discontinued. However, as an operating system ages, the possibility that new programs will not be performant on the operating system increases. The possibility that an older, unsupported operating system will not be performant on new hardware also increases. This frequently occurs because the manufacturers of new hardware and of new software make product-design decisions that take advantage of the increased functionality and features in newer operating systems. These manufacturers may decide that discontinuing support of their products on older operating systems is appropriate.

Windows 8.1 

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows 8.1?

Windows 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, and will reach end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 have two years, until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported.

Why are you requiring Windows 8 customers move to Windows 8.1 two years after the general availability?

Historically, we’ve had a similar support approach related to Windows service packs; when a Windows service pack is released, Microsoft provides customers 24 months of support for the prior service pack or original RTM version. Unlike service packs that are typically just a collection of fixes, Windows 8.1 has new features and enhancements. We designed Windows 8.1 to give customers the ability to deploy this update in a manner that resembles how customers deploy service packs. Therefore we are applying the existing service pack policy to Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 does not change any hardware requirements compared with Windows 8 or Windows 7 and existing Windows Store apps will work with Windows 8.1. The update has little to no impact on existing desktop apps and there is no direct software cost because business customers who have Software Assurance licensing will receive Windows 8.1 as a free update. For organizations running legacy applications that must be upgraded, there are tools to manage deployment in order to help mitigate cost and impact.

What is Windows 8.1 Update? How does it impact the Windows 8 Lifecycle?

Windows 8.1 Update is a cumulative update for Windows 8.1. In addition to previous Windows 8.1 updates, it includes enhancements such as improved IE 11 compatibility for business applications, usability improvements, extended mobile device management and improved hardware support.

For more information about Windows 8.1 Update, go to What’s new in Windows 8.1 Update and Windows RT 8.1 Update. For information about how to deploy, see Windows Springboard Series blog.

Windows Embedded

How does the end of support for Windows XP impact Windows Embedded products?

Windows Embedded products have their own distinct lifecycles, based on when the product was released and made generally available. It is important for businesses to understand the support implications for these products in order to ensure that systems remain up-to-date and secure. The following Windows Embedded products are based on Windows XP:

  • Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems. This product is identical to Windows XP, and Extended Support ended on April 8, 2014.
  • Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 3 (SP3). This is the original toolkit and componentized version of Windows XP. It was originally released in 2002, and Extended Support ended on Jan. 12, 2016.
  • Windows Embedded for Point of Service SP3. This product is for use in point of sale devices. It’s built from Windows XP Embedded. It was originally released in 2005, and Extended Support ended on April 12, 2016.
  • Windows Embedded Standard 2009. This product is an updated release of the toolkit and componentized version of Windows XP. It was originally released in 2008, and Extended Support will end on January 8, 2019.
  • Windows Embedded POSReady 2009. This product for point of sale devices reflects the updates available in Windows Embedded Standard 2009. It was originally released on 2009, and extended support will end on April 9, 2019. 
Why does support for Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems end with Windows XP?

Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems is a specially licensed version of Windows XP Professional for industry devices, delivering the full features and functionality of Windows XP. Given this relationship, both operating systems followed the same release schedule and share the same timeline

Why will Windows XP Embedded be supported for two years longer than Windows XP Professional for Embedded Systems?

Windows XP Embedded is a modular form of Windows XP, with additional functionality to support the needs of industry devices. It was released separately from Windows XP and provides a separate support lifecycle to address the unique needs of industry devices. Devices running Windows XP Embedded reached end of support in 2016.

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows Embedded 8.1 products?

Windows Embedded 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows Embedded 8 with support ending 7/11/2023. Customers have 24 months to move to Windows Embedded 8.1 in order to remain supported. This applies to Windows Embedded 8 Industry Enterprise and Industry Pro.

What is the difference in the Extended Support phase for Windows Embedded products versus regular Windows products?

The type of support provided in the Extended Support phase is consistent across all products. Critical security updates are made available for products until the published Extended Support end date. This allows businesses to ensure that they are up to date in protection against security attacks. For Embedded products, these updates will continue to be made available through the usual channels of MyOEM, Windows Embedded Developer Update (WEDU) and Microsoft OEM Online (MOO), as well as through Microsoft Update for the point of sale systems.

Windows Silicon Policy

Windows products will be supported for security, reliability, and compatibility on the latest silicon available at the time of release. This includes previous silicon generations still in support by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

Windows 7 and 8.1 Devices
Supported Skylake devices will receive applicable Windows security updates through the end of support. These systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends.
Search here to see your product’s end of support dates.

Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1
Skylake devices running Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1 will be supported according to the lifecycle support policy for those products. During this supported period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. There is no supported device list for Windows Embedded.

Windows Server
The Windows Server platform is supported on certified or logoed hardware as listed in the Windows Server Catalog. Today, you can browse the catalog and find hardware that meets or exceeds our minimum server hardware requirements and has been successfully certified for Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2. For Windows Server, the policy consists of five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support. This lifecycle impacts the timeframe for which new devices and systems can be certified. We allow new systems to be submitted for certification up to the point when the OS transitions to extended support.

Where can I learn more?

To identify what generation of processor you have, see Intel’s page on processor numbers.
To see if your processor supports Windows 10, see Intel’s Product Specification page.
Go here to learn more about the latest processor requirements for all Windows products.
To find your Windows product end of support date, search the Product Lifecycle site.

Windows RT  

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows RT?

Microsoft will make software updates, including security updates, available for Windows RT. Search here for your specific product and its corresponding Lifecycle Policy.

What is the Lifecycle policy for Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT, the version of Office available on Windows RT?

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT has the same lifecycle policy as Windows RT.

How long will Microsoft support device hardware that runs Windows RT?

Please refer to hardware warranties for more information. More details can be found in the Hardware FAQ.

Windows Mobile

What is the Lifecycle Policy for Windows Mobile?

Go here to learn about the Lifecycle Policy for Windows Mobile.

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Keywords: Lifecycle, windows, windows 10, windows 8.1, windows embedded, windows mobile, windows rt, windows server, silicon

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Article Info
Article ID : 18581
Revision : 137
Created on : 4/18/2019
Published on : 4/18/2019
Exists online : False
Views : 37