When Windows 10 was originally released many organizations decided to continue deployment and patching via “images” instead of the new modern management methods. This has created a big challenge: if an organization deployed Windows 10 back in August of 2016, the version they deployed hit end of life April of this year. Even more important, if they waited until 2017 to deploy Windows 10, but chose to deploy the version of Windows 10 from August of 2016 then they were in the same boat: end of life happened in April of this year, which meant no new security patches or updates.
This has caused confusion among some customers, especially because with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, the lifecycle was much, much longer. Windows 7 (with service pack 1; the original version hit end of life in 2013) will hit end of life in January of 2020. But the more important date is that for Windows 10, versions 1507 – 1607, have already hit end of life. Even newer versions, starting with releases in the year 2017, are going to hit end of life prior to 2020.
Here are the key expiration dates:
- Windows 10 version 1703 (released in March of 2017) – expires October 9th for consumers and March 9th, 2019for enterprises
- Windows 10 version 1709 (released in September of 2017) – expires April 9th of 2019 for consumers, and October 9th of 2019for enterprises
- Windows 10 version 1803 (released in March of this year) – expires November 12th of 2019
All three of these dates occur before 2020. That means customers need to not only deploy current versions of Windows 10, but to also have systems in place that allow existing machines running Windows 10 to be seamlessly upgraded to a newer version at a minimum every 18 months.
That leads to a simple conclusion: if your organization lacks the ability to deploy new versions of Windows 10 quicker than every 18 months, then you will find yourself outside the end-of-life window. If it takes your organization over six months to perform application remediation today, then you need help. If wrapping your mind around how you’d be able to upgrade Windows 10 (and apps) every six months is causing you friction – you need help.
Ultimately, these end-of-life dates may drive the right behavior at customers and partners to work collaboratively together to modernize the way Windows 10 is deployed and maintained. The alternative, to go beyond end-of-life, simply isn’t viable