Microsoft has extended support for the consumer versions of
Windows 7 and Windows Vista by five years.
Previously, Microsoft had committed to support consumer
software with security updates, and bug and stability fixes,
for five years. Meanwhile, business software was supported for
at least 10 years: The first half in "mainstream support," the
second in "extended" support.
During extended support, Microsoft provides security patches
to everyone, but offers other fixes only to organizations that
have signed support contracts with Microsoft.
Until the change, Vista's consumer editions -- Home Basic,
Home Premium, Starter and Ultimate -- were to be retired from
support in less than two months, on April 10, 2012. The new
policy extends that date to April 11, 2017.
Windows 7's consumer editions were due to drop off the support
list on Jan. 13, 2015, a deadline that has now been moved to
Jan. 14, 2020.
In 2007, Microsoft pushed out the end of mainstream support
for Windows XP Home to 2009 and its retirement date to April