When will support for Windows 11 end?
When purchasing any new smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop PC, software support is a key area to consider. How long can you use your device before it stops receiving updates and becomes vulnerable to bugs and other malware?
Usually on Android, this period is two to five years, while on iOS, six years is offered as standard. macOS has been around for 5 to 7 years, but Windows is the clear winner in this area.
Major versions are supported for up to ten years, after which you can get a free upgrade. But when will Windows 11 stop being supported? Here’s what we know so far.
How long will Windows 11 be supported?
Microsoft has yet to confirm when Windows 11 will end support. This is not surprising, as the date is usually not revealed until a new version is available. For Windows 10, it was June 2021, right after the first announcement of Windows 11.
Assuming this remains in place, the end-of-life announcement for Windows 11 will occur after the next major release becomes official. Rumor has it that it is known as Windows 12 and will arrive at some point in 2024.
You won’t need to upgrade right away, but it’s important to do so before it expires. Here are the mainstream support dates for the last few iterations of Windows:
- Windows 10 – July 2015 – October 2025
- Windows 8.1 – October 2013 – July 2018
- Windows 8 – August 2012 – January 2016
- Windows Vista – January 2007 – April 2012
- Windows 7 – October 2009 – January 2020
Extended Support generally continues beyond these dates, but it is Mainstream Support that is most relevant to consumers. In general, you need five years for versions with mixed reviews, but a decade for more popular ones.
It remains to be seen where Windows 11 will end up. But if Windows Central’s report of major new releases every three years turns out to be true, support for Windows 11 could end sooner than we expected.
Will Windows 11 need to be updated before support ends?
Yes. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 11 for at least a few more years, but only if you keep updating your device.
You don’t have to install every monthly security update, but each “feature” update is only supported for a limited time. Here are the timelines for the two that have been released so far:
Not sure what you’re working on? Go to Settings > System > About and check Windows Features.
Eniron Koopman / Foundry
It is extremely unlikely that you will go two years without updating your device at all (unless you never use it), especially if you do not turn off automatic updates.
What happens after Windows 11 support ends?
It’s worth clarifying what Microsoft means when it says “end of support”. To mark the end of extended support for Windows 8.1 in January 2023, Microsoft has confirmed that it will no longer provide the following:
- Technical support for any question
- Software updates
- Security updates or fixes
Devices still work, but remain unprotected from viruses and malware. Many developers stop working on apps for the operating system as soon as support ends, meaning you won’t get any new features and there may be bugs.
There have been instances in the past where Microsoft released a patch for a version it no longer supports, but that depends on popularity and is far from guaranteed.
These recommendations are unlikely to change significantly when it comes to Windows 11.