Vista Supported Long After the Windows 8 Release

Until April 2017, with end of sales coming in October 2011

Customers currently running Windows Vista, and those that will opt to buy the OS until next year, will be able to enjoy support for approximately seven more years. Microsoft recently revised its Windows end of sales policy, and Jared Proudfoot, Group program manager, Microsoft Support Lifecycle offered a clarification on the new Windows sales availability strategy by explaining that it has no impact whatsoever on the Support Lifecycle. Per the new Windows end of sales policy, the Redmond company will only sell old copies of Windows a maximum of two years after a new releases is offered to consumers.

“This means that after October 22, 2010, customers will not be able to obtain Windows Vista through their local retailer. If they get Windows from an OEM or system builder, they will have another year — until October 22, 2011 — to purchase Windows Vista. October 22nd 2010 also signifies when many downgrade facilitation rights expire through OEMs, though customers can continue to qualify for end user downgrade rights to Windows XP for as long as Windows 7 is sold if they purchase Ultimate or Professional-preinstalled Windows PCs,” Proudfoot added.

At this point in time even Windows XP has quite some life left in it. Customers can continue running XP until 2014, at which point Extended Support will run out. Of course, those currently leveraging Vista will have the option to use their OS far longer than XP. This despite the launch of Windows 7, and the upcoming release of Windows 8. Fact of the matter is, that if speculation turns to be right and Windows 8 will be released in 2012, users will still be able to enjoy XP support after Windows 7’s successor will hit store shelves.

“Microsoft provides Mainstream Support phase for a minimum of 5 years from the General Availability date (at a supported service pack level). For Business & Developer products, the Extended Support phase will last another 5 years following the end of the Mainstream Support phase (at a supported service pack level),” Proudfoot added. “So, how does the end of sales date and the Support Lifecycle dates impact each other? Generally speaking, they don’t have a direct impact on one another, other than that the clock for both cycles begins when a new product is shipped.”

Still, it is important to underline that Microsoft will only support certain releases of Windows XP and Windows Vista going forward. In this regard, customers running Vista RTM or XP SP2 will not be able to access support from Microsoft, unless they upgrade to Vista SP2 and XP SP3, respectively.

“For Windows Vista, this means that the Mainstream Support phase will continue until April 10, 2012. For the editions of Windows Vista that fall under our Business & Developer products policy, the Extended Support phase will continue through April 11, 2017,” Proudfoot concluded.

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