Surface with Windows RT and Windows 8 support end dates revealed

Microsoft launched both Windows 8 and Surface less than a month ago, but the company's already planning ahead for the future, including how long it will continue to support these products. So just how long will Microsoft support Windows 8 and Surface? According to new postings on the company's support pages, quite a while.

The listing for Surface with Windows RT on the website shows that mainstream support will continue until at least April 11, 2017. A separate post on Microsoft's support website shows the various SKU builds of Windows 8 will have their mainstream support end a little less than a year later – January 9, 2018. Following that, the extended support for Windows 8 will end January 10, 2023.

That means owners of the Surface tablet can expect to see both major and minor software updates for the tablet until April 11, 2017, and it's possible that Microsoft could choose to extend that mainstream support beyond that date. So far, Microsoft has yet to announce when the extended support for Surface will end. Extended support typically means that Microsoft will merely offer free security updates to a product.

Windows RT is also used in other current and upcoming devices, although Microsoft has yet to state when mainstream support for Windows RT as a whole will end. In an FAQ post, Microsoft says, "Microsoft will make software updates, including security updates, available for Windows RT. Additional information regarding the Windows RT lifecycle policy will be communicated as available."

Via: ZDNet.com
Source: Microsoft support page | Image via Microsoft

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33 Comments

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At least it is TWICE as long as Apple iOS. 2.5 years after the original iPad was released, you cannot get iOS updates for it anymore.

Reminds me also about their behavior with their computers... If your equipment is 3 years (or older), don't expect to be "allowed" to run OSX current software it.

I have 4 to 5 year old computers that run Windows 8 in use. Did put in an SSD, but they have only 2 to 4 Gigs of RAM.

Fingers crossed for Domain Join/Group Policy (not just local group policy like we have now) and RSAT for Windows RT in the next release.

TPreston said,
Fingers crossed for Domain Join/Group Policy (not just local group policy like we have now) and RSAT for Windows RT in the next release.

Win2008 had compatibility for 2003, 2008 R2 had compatibility for 2003/2008, 2012 has compatibility for 2003, 2008 and 2008R2.

Doubt they'll throw away backwards compatibility for no proper reason all of a sudden.

Acac1aStrain said,
Longer than any iOS product

Shadrack said,

Definitely much much longer than any Windows Phone product...

Let's keep this on the topic of desktop operating systems....

Definitely much much longer than any Macbook/OS X product...

rfirth said,


Let's keep this on the topic of desktop operating systems....

Definitely much much longer than any Macbook/OS X product...


WinRT is a tablet OS tho.

That's a long time to support a device, OS wise the dates seem to be the norm for MS. The Surface getting more than 3 years of support is a good deal. Though, I expect to find out at CES in January when they finally show off and talk about the Surface Pro that they also have a new RT version with 3g/4g support as well. If they\re really going to do the hardware ala Apple model then once they're close to finished with their initial batch of Surface RT hardware they'll give us a updated version and price cut the original soon.

GP007 said,
That's a long time to support a device, OS wise the dates seem to be the norm for MS. The Surface getting more than 3 years of support is a good deal. Though, I expect to find out at CES in January when they finally show off and talk about the Surface Pro that they also have a new RT version with 3g/4g support as well. If they\re really going to do the hardware ala Apple model then once they're close to finished with their initial batch of Surface RT hardware they'll give us a updated version and price cut the original soon.

I remember reading somewhere that Microsoft won't be showing off any more products at CES.

LUTZIFER said,
How do they come up with these dates? Have some computer program randomly spit em out?

Yeah because you would need a computer to work out how to add 5 years onto the release date for std support and then add another 5 years onto that for extended, I mean what human could carry out such a complex calculation?

duddit2 said,

Yeah because you would need a computer to work out how to add 5 years onto the release date for std support and then add another 5 years onto that for extended, I mean what human could carry out such a complex calculation?

26 October 2012 plus five years does not equal 11 April 2017. I'm intrigued too... an exact round number of days, perhaps ... or seconds?

Timble said,

26 October 2012 plus five years does not equal 11 April 2017. I'm intrigued too... an exact round number of days, perhaps ... or seconds?


Think quarters.

LUTZIFER said,
How do they come up with these dates? Have some computer program randomly spit em out?

It's count as this:

For Mainstream Support, add 5 years to the release date (for Windows 8 is that on 26 Oktober 2017) and than count on until the second thuesday of a new quarter, and that's 9 January 2018. Then add another 5 years for Extended Support and pick the second thuesday of the same quarter in that year, and that's 10 Januari 2023

djpailo said,
5 years of support is quite nice to be fair.

For the device, even Apple's iPad's don't get nearly the same length in support.
Neither does Samsung offer such long periods of support.
HTC neither... what other tablet creator, other then perhaps Toshiba's military grade line of hardware? (which is not a consumer product anyways)

It is very illuminating that support for Windows-7 extends way beyond support for Windows-8 RT. Is this some kind subtle admission that RT is not the "savior OS" that Microsoft tried to may the world at large believe? It certainly sets the stage for Microsoft to use Windows-9 to fix the problems with Windows-8 for serious business use.

TsarNikky said,
It is very illuminating that support for Windows-7 extends way beyond support for Windows-8 RT. Is this some kind subtle admission that RT is not the "savior OS" that Microsoft tried to may the world at large believe? It certainly sets the stage for Microsoft to use Windows-9 to fix the problems with Windows-8 for serious business use.

Windows RT was never a "savior OS", it's an OS for cheap ARM devices like tablets. 5 years of support on a tablet is great and better than anything else at the moment. Windows 8 has over 10 years of support.

TsarNikky said,
It is very illuminating that support for Windows-7 extends way beyond support for Windows-8 RT.

Support and extended support are two different things., each MS OS is in standard support after release for about 5 years. Extended is when they only release critical fixes and is usually 5 years after standard.
win 7 is 2015 and 2020 for standard and extended. Win8 is 2017 and 2023, win XP was 2009 and 2014,

n_K said,

Wait what, W7 mainstream ends in 2015!? That is utterly dire! XP got a hell of a much longer mainstream support cycle.

2001-2009 vs 2009-2015? Not that different.

rfirth said,

2001-2009 vs 2009-2015? Not that different.


Few years is 'hell of allot longer'

And XP was a special case.
Other OS's from MS are also around 10years including extended support.

Yet MS crowns here, only one doing better is Red Hat, but since few use it why bother considering it in an argument. MS supports the SURFACE until 2017, which is the device on its own. Not Windows per se, considering its NT already and MS's focus on backwards compatibility, and considering that Windows has been optimized and going faster release after release... doing more with less hardware. (Win8 outruns Win7, Vista or even XP easily on the very low-end devices).
The device should be upgradeable to Win9 which should be released before 2017, but we'll see

n_K said,

Wait what, W7 mainstream ends in 2015!? That is utterly dire! XP got a hell of a much longer mainstream support cycle.
XP was around for far longer without a replacement OS, that's why.

"That means owners of the Surface tablet can expect to see both major and minor software updates for the tablet until April 11, 2017"

Not true... This has always meant that Microsoft will release security fixes and patches until this date. It doesn't not mean you'll get any new features and it doesn't guarantee being able to upgrade to any new Windows version.

LogicalApex said,
"That means owners of the Surface tablet can expect to see both major and minor software updates for the tablet until April 11, 2017"

Not true... This has always meant that Microsoft will release security fixes and patches until this date. It doesn't not mean you'll get any new features and it doesn't guarantee being able to upgrade to any new Windows version.


Didn't say there would be a way to upgrade to any new Windows version...just that there will likely be major and minor software updates..which is true.

John Callaham said,

Didn't say there would be a way to upgrade to any new Windows version...just that there will likely be major and minor software updates..which is true.

We shall see. Mainstream support timelines from Microsoft don't cover major software updates. It covers bug fixes and security updates.

LogicalApex said,

We shall see. Mainstream support timelines from Microsoft don't cover major software updates. It covers bug fixes and security updates.

How would major software updates not be covered? Similar to a Service Pack, but as they seem to be moving away from Service Packs, we don't know what that means. It doesn't mean we'll get a major update right before mainstream support end, just that that will be covered, IF they are released. Which is completely true.

farmeunit said,

How would major software updates not be covered? Similar to a Service Pack, but as they seem to be moving away from Service Packs, we don't know what that means. It doesn't mean we'll get a major update right before mainstream support end, just that that will be covered, IF they are released. Which is completely true.

An unknown area. Remember, Windows Service Packs had a mainstream support cycle that ended at a point later than the non-SP release. As a result, any major updates would have a separate mainstream support cycle. Again, reaffirming my point that this is just covering bug fixes and security updates.

I think you are confusing Mainstream support with extended support. In extended support, microsoft only releases bug fixes and security patches. That is why it is called extended.

farmeunit said,

How would major software updates not be covered? Similar to a Service Pack, but as they seem to be moving away from Service Packs, we don't know what that means. It doesn't mean we'll get a major update right before mainstream support end, just that that will be covered, IF they are released. Which is completely true.

LogicalApex said,
"That means owners of the Surface tablet can expect to see both major and minor software updates for the tablet until April 11, 2017"

Not true... This has always meant that Microsoft will release security fixes and patches until this date. It doesn't not mean you'll get any new features and it doesn't guarantee being able to upgrade to any new Windows version.


You (and others here) already forget the announced update "Blue"? Which will be for both Win8 as WinRT (possible WP8 aswell).

There you go, 1 major update which will include new features and other goodies/balance-updates or performance improvements, rather then just security updates.