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Most of today computers are bought with Windows 7 Home Premium operating system licensed and installed. But Microsoft Product Lifecycle states that its mainstream support will end on January 13, 2015, which is only 3 years from now. Extended support for Home Premium, Home Basic, Starter and even Ultimate is "Not Applicable" — only Enterprise and Professional have extended support till 2020.

I can not find any information whether this not supported consumer versions of Windows will or will not receive security updates. I'm afraid they will not.

Computers and laptops bought today will almost certainly last more than 3 years - I'm afraid many users will refuse to buy $120 upgrade license for next Windows version for 3 years old computer. With no security updates they will be easy prey for worms, viruses and other security exploits.

  • Am I right about this security updates? I'd really need some credible source for an answer — Microsoft web page for example.
  • If I'm right then is it sensible to buy a computer with Windows other than Professional or Enterprise even for home use?
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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Microsoft has just updated its Microsoft Product Lifecycle policy — consumer editions will receive Extended Support just as business ones. It is now clear that all editions of Windows 7 from Starter to Ultimate will receive security updates until January 2020.

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This article should explain you the Microsoft Product Lifecycle.

In case when TL;DR (SQL Server 2005 as an example):

But look at the Service Pack Retired date. It says 7/10/2007. What does this mean? This date is when any support for SQL Server 2005 RTM ended if you have not installed a supported service pack.

Now, let’s look at 2005 SP3. It shipped in December of 2008 but there are no other dates? Why? This is because this is the supported service pack you must be running in order to receive mainstream or extended support for the SQL Server 2005 product. The Service Pack Retired is also blank. This is because no newer service pack has shipped so the end date is currently the end of the product itself (but this will change when 2005 SP4 ships.).

  • You will receive security updates after January 13, 2015 if you will install Service Pack.
  • It is sensible to buy home versions of Windows 7, because their purpose is to be used as a home OS
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This example is not convincing — it is based on enterprise-class product with defined end of extended support date — 2016-04-12. For Windows 7 (all versions) Service Pack Retired date, which is explained in a cited text, is 2013-04-09 and is not of my concern. –  Tometzky Jan 11 '12 at 13:07

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/products/lifecycle

End of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information.

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I'm sorry but I need a little more clear answer. For example "Yes, you're right, in 3 years all users of Windows 7 Home/Starter/Ultimate will have buy an upgrade". This cited fragment is strange: "This is the time to make sure you have the latest service pack installed" — but if there are no security updates then how would it help? "Security updates can help protect your PC" — I thought they're basically required for protection. Would you buy a laptop with Home Premium then? I've talked to MS phone support and he told me that there will be updates after 2015, but he couldn't show a source. –  Tometzky Jan 11 '12 at 13:29

There are two main support phases that are meaningful to consumers :

  1. mainstream support: both security and non-security hotfixes are supplied to all.
  2. extended support: security fixes provided to all, non-security fixes require an extra subscription

For Windows 7 the dates are currently January 12, 2015 for mainstream support and January 14, 2020 for extended support. In addition you might need to upgrade to a specific SP as of some date.

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