Computer Lifecycle

By Joe Callison
21 May 2022

Support for consumer computer hardware and software used to be typically 10 years, because that was the normal contractual requirement in business and government purchases, which drove the need for stocking replacement parts and repairs and for software updates. In recent years this has changed, probably because of the explosive growth of the consumer electronics market. Now support for consumer products can be as short as the warranty period.

Computer operating system versions from Microsoft and Apple used to be supported for about 10 years, which was also about the time between new releases. Currently, releases of new versions (or feature updates) occur annually, and it has become common to support previous versions for only a few years after a new version is released, except for Enterprise and Education versions that are still supported for longer periods. Certain industrial and commercial specialized applications are still supported for a full 10 years.

The following is some information from the web regarding operating system support by Microsoft and Apple as of May 2022. The end of support is important to know because of the increased security risk of running software that is not receiving regular updates.

From Windows 10 Home and Pro – Microsoft Lifecycle | Microsoft Docs:

From Windows 11 Home and Pro (Version 21H2) – Microsoft Lifecycle | Microsoft Docs:

From Get Windows 11 for Your Compatible PC | Microsoft (frequently asked questions):

Windows 11 Free Upgrade from Windows 10

The free upgrade offer does not have a specific end date for eligible systems. However, Microsoft reserves the right to eventually end support for the free offer. This end date will be no sooner than October 5, 2022.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade from Windows 7

For the Windows 7 holdouts, you might be interested to know that I just upgraded a laptop to Windows 10 this month with no problem. I suspect it will continue to be possible until the Windows 10 end date.

Apple macOS (from macOS |

Computer Hardware

The computer equipment that runs the operating system has a limited lifecycle also. New operating system versions or updates take advantage of new hardware features available. Older hardware will not be able to run the new features and at some point may not be able to run the operating system at all when the updates are no longer designed for or tested on the older hardware. The hardware manufacturers may also not update drivers for older hardware to operate on new operating system versions. In general, you can expect hardware to be supported by the software for about 6 to 8 years. By then it is getting way behind the current technology and is prone to failures that may no longer be repairable.

Posted by Joe Callison

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