First, a clarification, EOS stands for “End Of Support” and refers to the official cut-off dates for support from Microsoft for these various operating systems. Next, kudos to Ed Bott for totally nailing this topic in his Microsoft Report for ZDNet Monday, entitled “How long will Microsoft support XP, Vista, and Windows 7?”
What makes things interesting here is that MS has extended the normal life of XP in response, one imagines, to the crashing failure of Vista to enlist much market uptake, especially on the corporate side of the street. Ed also explains in his report that “The official date of retirement for support is the second Tuesday in the first month of the quarter following that anniversary [5 years from the General Availability or GA date for general public support, plus another 5 years of "extended support" for business users] …” Microsoft refers to general public support as “mainstream support” and that’s how you’ll see it named in the screencap that follows later in this blog.
Here’s how this works out, for the calendrically challenged:
- The GA date for Windows 7 fell on October 22, 2009. Add five years to get 10/22/2014, after which the next quarter starts on 1/1/2015, and in which the second Tuesday falls on 1/13/2015. That’s when mainstream support ends for Windows 7, so extended support ends 5 years later on 1/13/2020.
- The GA date for Windows Vista fell on January 30, 2007. Add five years to get 1/30/2012, after which the next quarter starts on 4/1/2012, and in which the second Tuesday falls on 4/10/2012. That’s when mainstream support ends for Windows Vista, so extended support ends five years after that, on 4/10/2017.
- The preceding calculations don’t apply to Windows XP because MS has extended its life well beyond those dates already. This is where the Microsoft Product Lifecyle Search page comes into play, into which I plugged Windows XP Professional (as the most likely business/enterprise XP version in use) to produce these results, which peg the end date for extended support at 4/8/2014, with mainstream support already having expired on 4/14/2009.
OK, so now you know. What are you going to do about it? It will be interesting to see how availability of Windows 8 in 2012, before extended support ends for Windows XP, will play out for Windows 7 sales into the enterprise. I personally think this is going to be less of an issue than some believe. That’s because the impending exhaustion of IPv4 addresses and the concomitant wholesale migration to IPv6, plus less-than-stellar support for IPv6 in Windows XP, is going to make Windows 7 a whole lot more attractive and compelling than a lot of enterprises may find it at the moment.