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Windows Support Lifecycle: dates you need to know
April 21, 2016

Every Windows product has a lifecycle, which begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported. It’s important to know key dates in the lifecycle – and what they mean – so that you can make informed decisions about when to upgrade or make other changes to your software.

We know this isn’t always easy to get your head around, so the team at projectfive have put together the following FAQ guide to make things that little bit easier to understand.

What is mainstream support?
Mainstream support is the support offered by Microsoft from the date of the product’s general availability, which includes security and fixes.

What is extended support?
Microsoft offer extended support (such as security patches and reliability patches) 5 years from the end of the mainstream support.

What is end of support lifecycle?
This is the date when Microsoft ‘no longer provides fixes, updates or online technical assistance.’

What should you do?
This is the time to make sure that you have the latest available service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you won’t receive security updates which can help ‘protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information.’

EOS Microsoft
What should you do when your version of Windows reaches its end of support date?
You can either install the latest available update, or you can upgrade to a newer version of Windows. The team at projectfive will help its clients decide which option is best for them and their business.

How does this affect my business?
In a word, security. It’s generally not considered safe to run versions of Windows that are no longer supported and receive security updates. For example, if you are using Windows 7, you are effectively working with an operating system that’s 6 years old, which doesn’t offer as much protection from today’s cyber-security threats.

Getting ready to upgrade
Newer versions of Windows are undoubtedly faster and more secure. Before you upgrade to the latest version, it’s worth taking the time to review the software and hardware that you have and make sure they’re compatible with the version of Windows you want to upgrade to.

Upgrading a couple of computers ahead of time is a good way to test the test compatibility with the new version of Windows, and iron out any potential kinks.

At projectfive we’ll work with our clients to schedule and plan this ahead of time, to ensure a smooth transition.

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