Terry Myerson had seemed to indicate that users would be forced to let Microsoft keep their PCs continually upgraded as a condition of getting Windows 10 for free. But even more confusing was the way he framed the support lifecycle. “Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device,” he had said.
That was not how Windows support had ever worked. To date, each major Windows version was supported for ten years, a timeframe split into a five-year mainstream support period, during which Microsoft could provide functional updates, and a five-year extended support period, during which it would only supply bug and security fixes. Because the firm typically released a new version of Windows every three years, the support lifecycles for the previous two or three versions would overlap, giving customers the option to stay with whatever version they were using or, if they wished, they could pay to upgrade to a newer version.