No Service Packs For Windows 10; Support ends 2025

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has confirmed it will support Windows 10 for at least ten years. The statement answers some questions, but raises other queries.

The confirmation comes via a change to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle fact sheet. That's the page that explains exactly when it plans to stop offer support for each of its operating systems. The listed dates for Windows 10 are October 13, 2020 for the end of mainstream support and October 14, 2025 for the end of extended support. (Source:

Although XP's support was extended several times (owing largely to the reluctance of many users to upgrade to Vista), the pattern of five years after release for mainstream support, and five years after that for extended support is now for the most part Microsoft policy for Windows. However, the dates for Windows 10 are actually a few months behind, even though it will be released next week.

Windows 10 Security Fixes For At Least A Decade

Mainstream support refers to the period during which Microsoft gives some free help to users having trouble with Windows. During this time it will also listen to suggestions for improving or adding features and may make such changes.

During the extended support period, Microsoft only offers help on a paid basis. It doesn't add any new features to the software or make any improvements, but does continue to issue security patches.

There's a significant change in the small print however. Traditionally the support only applies if users have installed the most up-to-date service pack. For example, Windows 7 users must be running service pack 1 to receive the extended support that's still on offer.

No Service Packs For Windows 10

Windows 10 is different as there will be no service packs. Instead, Microsoft plans to issue updates as and when they are ready, rather than batching them together in one huge update. The primary reason for this is that Windows Updates will be automatically downloaded for most users without choice as to which updates they want installed. This applies to Windows 10 Home editions, whereas Pro editions and higher allow more flexibility.

Microsoft's lifecycle fact sheet also says that support for Windows 10 only applies if the user has the latest updates in place. However, Microsoft notes that it's possible that some devices and computers won't be able to handle every update.

What isn't yet clear is what happens if Windows 10 is simply updated indefinitely, rather than replaced with another operating system. The most likely explanation is that Microsoft is simply keeping its options open and not making any promises it can't live up to. It seems pretty much certain that at the very least it will continue issuing security updates for as long as Windows 10 is the latest edition and people are still running it. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Does it make any sense for Microsoft to put a deadline on support if people are likely going to be using some form of Windows 10 for many years? Has a support deadline ever affected your decision of when to upgrade Windows? What do you think the picture will be for Windows come 2020?

Other Questions Related to Windows 10 Upgrade

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doliceco's picture

For over a decade, I've been upgrading my Microsoft Operating systems, not because the older ones I owned had insufficient power doing what I needed to do as a graphic designer and webmaster (using Photoshop, Illustrator and other Adobe programs) but only because Microsoft stopped support for the older OS's. Along with almost each upgrade, it was necesary for me to retire my older computers and to purchase more powerful ones and install their newer OS that was still supported.

I live in Manhattan, New York. Until very recently, before New york City passed a law that no electronic devices of any kind could be placed in the street with other "garbage" to be collected, I could walk through almost any neighborhood on any day of the week and see literally dozens of what appear to be completely usable computers discarded by people who thought they had to replace them, because Microsoft stopped support of their "outdated" OS's. In those days, I picked up a few of them and took them home, mostly out of curiosity, and found them to be completely usable -- mostly with their OS's still installed.

I'm currently using MS Win 7 Pro on my latest computer that's connected to the internet, but still keep the older ones, (even some of these discarded ones I picked up) loaded with MS Windows 2000 Professional, Win XP and all of the older Adobe programs they contain to still do a lot of work.

The older ones are NOT connected to the internet in any way; and therefore are immunized from hackers. They still also still work very well (and fast enough) with the older professional scanners, printers and other hardware (that no longer provide native drivers for them from their manufacturers -- such as Epson in a number of cases), which I would have had to discard and to replace with newer machines if I were to rely totally on my newer Win 7 computer to run.

All of the files I create are put into directories (now called "folders") on removable high speed external drives that are disconnected from the Win 7 machine completely and only connected to the outside world if it's necessary to send these files attached in an email to someone, or to upload them to my website server (and only connected after being thoroughly scanned by a number of the latest available virus and malware software (I use Avast, Malware Bytes and other stuff).

I plan on holding onto Win 7 as long as possible (until Microsoft stops "support" for it), and will probably pick up free or buy a used computer with WIN 10 installed and will experiment with it; but until then, I have no intention of "upgrading" the one I'm using.

I'm glad MS will be extending its support of Win 10 to 10 years, but it should be for ALL versions, and not only for the "higher end" or "enterprise" versions.

BTW: I've tried out "touch screens" and absolutely HATE them, and when I'm at home I always have an external "old style" & "clicking type" keyboard and a good 'ol mouse attached to my laptop!

Joe D

tenn4404's picture

Dennis, I have been reading about Windows 10 ever since it hit the tech world. And I read that this would be the final version for Windows period. Microsoft wasn't going to put out any more of any form of Windows.
So, my question is: Is this true or not. Because if it is true, then why would they uphold security for a certain period of time? Seems to me, if this is final edition they would forever have their updates.


Dennis Faas's picture

I do remember reading somewhere that Windows 10 running on PCs would receive updates "for the life of the computer," so theoretically the updates should keep coming indefinitely. So, yes, this is somewhat of a contradictory policy, compared to what has been in the news lately. That said, 10 years from now is a very long time on the Internet and in the life of a PC, and things can change drastically. Windows 10, a decade from now could be replaced by another operating system (or "service") altogether.

John Lister's picture

As best as I can tell:

* The original reference to "updates for the supported lifetime of the device" was to do with the free upgrade and Microsoft wanting to make clear that if you got the free upgrade it wouldn't suddenly start trying to charge for the updates.

* It now appears that the supported lifetime will be the normal 5 years + 5 years schedule and the phrase "supported lifetime" was meant to differentiate from Microsoft literally offering updates for as long as people used the same computer.

* There appears to be added confusion in that Microsoft is also using internal estimates for "supported lifetime" for its accounting. That's because it has to estimate future costs of offering support (eg answering phone calls) and is reckoning that, on average, a desktop user will be eligible for support for longer than a tablet user and so on.

eric's picture

Ten years from now, who even knows what personal or professional computing will look like?
Good for Microsoft for setting the ten year support life, but I will be very surprised if a "desktop" OS will be very common in ten years.
They will most likely have to come out with a while new platform to support future device architecture.