Microsoft’s new Windows-as-a-service strategy means that the company plans to roll out updates to Windows 10 on an ongoing basis. Not only will we see regular security and stability improvements pushed through Windows Update, but Microsoft will also add new features to the operating system as they become available.
So how long can we expect Microsoft to support Windows 10? For at least 5-10 years… but maybe longer.
Microsoft has updated its Windows lifecycle fact sheet with end-of-support dates for Windows 10. The company says mainstream support for the operating system ends October 13th, 2020 while extended support ends October 14th, 2023.
That makes sense, since Microsoft typically provides mainstream support for 5 years after releasing an operating system and extended support for about 10 years.
But Windows 10 may be different — because it’s not clear that Microsoft plans to launch a new operating system to replace it anytime soon.
While Microsoft tends to provide 5-10 years of support for an operating system, the company also tends to roll out a new version of Windows every few years. Before Windows 10 there was Windows 8. Before that there was Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000/ME, and so on.
The shift to Windows-as-a-service could mean that Microsoft could continue updating Windows 10 indefinitely rather than launching an entirely new operating system in a few years. And if that happens, I wouldn’t be surprised if the end-of-support dates get pushed back.
Note that there’s something else different about Windows 10. Since there are cumulative updates instead of Service Pack releases, Microsoft says it will only offer support for computers that have the latest updates installed.