Microsoft Support Lifecycle’s Service Pack Policy Now Provides More Predictability

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy provides customers predictable support timelines to help customers plan their information technology environment. Service packs are part of the Support Lifecycle policy. Service packs contain updates and hotfixes that are created and released for recognized issues after the release of a product.

In response to customer feedback, Microsoft is pleased to announce modifications to the service pack support policy. Support for service packs will now vary according to the product family, such as Windows, Office, Server, and so on, but will remain consistent within the product family. In the past, decisions were made for individual products. This made the predictability of service pack support for customers a challenge. Based on the modified policy, Microsoft will no longer make decisions based on individual service packs as they are released. Instead, each service pack will follow the support timeline previously established for the product family.

A matrix of the Microsoft product families and the duration of service pack support for each product family is listed later in this section.

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy standardizes Microsoft® product support policies for business and developer products in addition to consumer, hardware, and multimedia products. For more information about the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy, please visit

Product Family

Example Products

12 Months

24 Months


Windows XP Professional
Windows Server 2003
Vista Home Basic
Windows 2000 Professional Edition



Office 2007
Office Professional Edition 2003
Office Outlook 2003
Office Small Business 2007



Biztalk Server 2006 Standard Edition
Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise Edition
System Operations Manager 2007
Office SharePoint Server 2007


Developer Tools

Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard Edition
Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition
Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition


Business Solutions

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Professional
Microsoft Dynamics AX


Consumer / Hardware / Multimedia / Games

Age of Empires III
Flight Simulator
Pocket Streets 2002
Natural Keyboard Elite


Last Review : March 15, 2013