Microsoft Support Lifecycle

Help and support with Microsoft product lifecycle guidelines. Service pack, security update, and general mainstream and extended support resources.

Support Lifecycle Information

Microsoft Support Lifecycle

Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy provides consistent and predictable guidelines for product support availability when a product releases and throughout that product’s life. By understanding the product support available, customers are better able to maximize the management of their IT investments and strategically plan for a successful IT future.

Support Lifecycle Search

If you do not find your product listed, check for lifecycle information on the Additional Products page and/or the Obsolete Products page.

Support Lifecycle Policy

Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy applies to most products currently available through retail purchase or volume licensing and most future release products. Below details Microsoft’s current policies which offer a minimum of:

  • 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support) at the supported service pack level for Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System products
  • 5 years Mainstream Support at the supported service pack level for Consumer and Multimedia products
  • 4 years Mainstream Support for Consumer Hardware products

Phases of the Support Lifecycle for Business, Developer, Consumer and Multimedia Software


 
Type of supportMainstream support phaseExtended support phase Self-help online support
Request to change product design and featuresAvailableNot availableAccess to freely available online content, such as Knowledge Base articles, online product information, and online support WebCasts
Security updates Available Available
Other hotfixes (bug fixes)AvailableOnly available with Extended Hotfix Support
Complimentary support1 included with license, licensing program2 or other no-charge support programs AvailableNot available
Paid-support (including pay-per-incident Premier and Essential Support) AvailableAvailable
available imageAvailablenot available imageNot availableonly available with hotfix imageOnly available with Extended Hotfix Support
Not available for Desktop Operating System consumer products
*Please Note: Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle Policy does not apply to all products. To see the specific support start and end dates by applicable product, you can search the Support Lifecycle Product Database.

1 Refers to phone support and online support options.
2 For example, support incidents acquired through the Software Assurance program for server products.

Phases of the Support Lifecycle for Consumer Hardware


Type of supportMainstream support phaseSelf-help online support
Hardware RepairHardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the support lifecycle. Services are free for products under warranty and available for a fee for products out of warrantyAccess to freely available online content, such as Knowledge Base articles, online product information, and online support
Paid and Online SupportAvailable, fees may apply, see phone support and online support for options
Software and Security UpdatesUpdates are available for the software/firmware and OS that is embedded into the hardware (except for Surface devices, which is covered by the support lifecycle policy for the Operating System on the device)  

Mainstream Support

Mainstream Support is the first phase of the product support lifecycle.
At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support for software products includes:

  • Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
  • Security update support
  • The ability to request non-security hotfixes
Please note:
  • Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products
Mainstream Support for Consumer Hardware products includes:
  • Hardware repairs or replacements and parts
  • Services are free for products under warranty
  • Support for a fee after warranty expires
  • Software and Security updates

Extended Support

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support for Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System products.
At the supported service pack level, Extended Support includes:

  • Paid support
  • Security update support at no additional cost
  • Non-security related hotfix support requires a separate Extended Hotfix Support Agreement to be purchased (per-fix fees also apply).
    This agreement is not available for Desktop Operating System consumer products. More details are available here.
Please note:
  • Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase
  • Extended Support is not available for Consumer, Consumer Hardware, or Multimedia products
  • Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products

Self-Help Online Support

Self-Help Online Support is available throughout a product's lifecycle and for a minimum of 12 months after the product reaches the end of its support. Microsoft online Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, troubleshooting tools, and other resources, are provided to help customers resolve common issues.

Please note:
  • Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products

Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy

Service Pack Lifecycle Support Policy

As part of the effort to continually improve Microsoft software, updates and fixes are created and released for recognized issues. Many of these fixes are regularly combined into a single package (called a service pack) that is made available for installation. Both the Mainstream Support and Extended Support phases for software require a product’s supported service pack be installed to continue to receive full support (including security and DST updates).

Service Pack Support Policy

  • When a new service pack is released, Microsoft will provide either 12 or 24 months of support for the previous service pack, varying according to the product family (for example, Windows, Office, Servers, or Developer tools)
  • When support for a service pack ends, Microsoft will no longer provide new security updates, DST updates, hotfixes or other updates for that service pack. Limited support will continue to be available, as described below
  • When support for a product ends, support of all the service packs for that product will also end. The product’s support lifecycle supersedes the service pack support policy
  • Support timelines for service packs will remain consistent within the product family
  • Microsoft will publish specific support timelines for a previous service pack when the new service pack is released

Customers are highly encouraged to stay on a fully supported service pack to ensure they are on the latest and most secure version of their product.

For customers on supported products with service pack versions that have left full support, Microsoft offers limited support as follows:
  1. Limited break/fix support incidents will be provided through Microsoft Customer Service and Support and Microsoft’s managed support offerings (such as Premier Support).
  2. If the support incident requires escalation to development for further guidance, requires a hotfix, or requires a security update, customers will be asked to upgrade to a fully supported service pack.
  3. Limited support does not include an option to engage Microsoft’s product development resources; technical workarounds may be limited or not possible.

A matrix of the Microsoft product families and the duration of service pack support for each product family is as follows:

Product Family

12 Months

24 Months

Windows Client and Servers

Yes

Dynamics

Yes

Office

Yes

Servers

Yes

Developer Tools

Yes

Consumer, Software

Yes

This support policy permits customers to receive existing hotfixes or to request new hotfixes for the fully supported service packs during the Mainstream Support phase.

Service packs are not automatically modified to include hotfixes developed after the service pack’s initial release date. An older service pack can be modified to include hotfixes developed after the service pack has released. Contact Microsoft and request the modification.

Security updates released with bulletins from the Microsoft Security Response Center will be reviewed and built for the supported service packs only. Daylight Savings Time and Time Zone updates are built for fully supported service packs only.

Microsoft strongly recommends that customers evaluate and install current service packs in a timely manner to make sure that systems are up-to-date with the most recent security software.

This revised policy became effective on April 13, 2010

Security Update Policy

Lifecycle Security Update Policy

Microsoft is committed to providing products with improved security. Our long-term goal is to remove security vulnerabilities from all our products before they are released. To realize the dream of Trustworthy Computing is a key element of our vision. Although we strive to remove vulnerabilities during development, software vulnerabilities remain a fact today and we must be prepared to respond when they are discovered.

Security Update Policy

Microsoft will provide security update support for a minimum of 10 years (through the Extended Support phase) for Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System products. The security updates will apply only to the supported service pack level for these products.

Microsoft will provide security update support through the Mainstream Support phase for Consumer and Multimedia products. The security updates will apply only to the supported service pack level for these products.

  • Both the Mainstream Support and the Extended Support phases require that the product’s supported service pack level be installed to continue to receive and install security updates.
  • Security updates will be available from Windows Update during the Mainstream Support phase, and the Extended Support phase (if available). Note that technical limitations in Microsoft Office 2000 require that it remain an exception to this process. Updates will be provided only through the Microsoft Download Center for the duration of its Support Lifecycle.
  • Microsoft advises customers to install the latest product releases, security updates, and service packs to remain as secure as possible. Older products, such as Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, may not meet today’s more demanding security requirements. Microsoft may be unable to provide security updates for older products.

For Consumer Hardware products, updates are available for the software/firmware and Operating System that is embedded into Microsoft hardware with the exception of Surface devices. Security updates for Surface devices are covered by the support lifecycle policy of the Operating System on the device.

Visit the Microsoft Security and Privacy Web site for information about Microsoft privacy policies and the latest security bulletins, virus alerts, and security downloads.

Online Services Support Lifecycle Policy

Microsoft Online Services Support Lifecycle Policy

For Business and Developer Online Services

Online Services afford customers new ways of implementing change in their IT environments. These changes are frequently more rapid and require customers to be alert of forthcoming modifications to their cloud-based service.

Microsoft recognizes that Online Services are inherently more dynamic and, while providing businesses with increased agility, require Support Lifecycle policies to ensure service predictability. IT organizations familiar with the standard Microsoft Support Lifecycle policies for on-premise software will see that the online policies provide the consistent and predictable Support Lifecycle experience they have come to expect from Microsoft.

For additional policy details for Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, please see Microsoft Azure Cloud Services FAQ .

Online Services Support Lifecycle Policy for Business and Developer

The Business and Developer policy for Online Services offers three key features:

Support Availability

  • Microsoft Support services will be available for the duration of the customer's agreement with Microsoft for the Online Service.

Notification

  • Unless otherwise noted, for all Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft will provide a minimum of 12 months prior notification before customers must accept any change that is deemed a "disruptive change".
    • For CRM Online customers, Microsoft will provide customers a 6-month notification period, except when removing support for an underlying system requirement, in which case Microsoft will follow the standard 12-month notification policy.  See Online Policy FAQs for information about the CRM Online exception (http://support.microsoft.com/gp/OsslFaq).
  • "Disruptive change" means change where a customer or administrator is required to take action in order to avoid significant degradation to the normal operation of the Online Service.
  • The notice period will not apply to security related changes or updates.

The information on this page is subject to the Microsoft Policy Disclaimer and Change Notice. Return to this site periodically to review any such changes.

Last Review : July 3, 2014