Despite some confusion over statements made by Microsoft executive VP Terry Myerson at Windows 10's introduction, the new operating system does indeed have a support life cycle. The company's freshly updated life cycle schedule shows that WIndows 10 will enjoy the same ten-year support period as Redmond's previous operating systems, with a minimum of five years of mainstream support and five more years of extended support.
The dates don't exactly correspond with the July 29 release date, extending to October 13, 2020 for mainstream support and October 14, 2025 for extended support. Those dates are calculated using the date of general availability, which might be explained by Microsoft's plan to roll out Windows 10 upgrades over an extended period. Microsoft notes that these periods are only minimum guarantees, and support periods may be extended depending when (and if) another, newer OS is released.
There is one asterisk related to Windows 10 updates: the company says "a device may not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacking current drivers, or otherwise outside of the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s ('OEM') support period." It seems like Microsoft is reserving plenty of wiggle room for itself beyond its usual support lifecycle guarantees. Will Windows 10 really be the final version of Windows and usher in a new era of perpetual updates? We'll let you know in ten years.