Microsoft .NET Framework Support Lifecycle Policy

Date: March 25, 2010

Microsoft is pleased to announce a Support Lifecycle policy for the Microsoft .NET Framework.

This announcement affects the Support Lifecycle policy for Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 and beyond. The existing Support Lifecycle policies for Microsoft .NET Framework 1.x and 2.0 are not affected by this announcement.

Policy Highlights

The update to .NET Framework policy states that beginning with .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) the .NET Framework will be defined as a “Component”. As a Component, .NET version 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will assume the same Support Lifecycle policy as its parent product or platform.

Definition of Component

A Component is a set of files or features that is included with a Microsoft Major Product such as Windows. A Component may be:
  • shipped with the product
  • included in a product service pack
  • released as web downloads for the product at a later date

Support Lifecycle

.NET Framework 3.5 SP1: Support for 3.5 SP1 is driven by the Support Lifecycle of the Windows Operating System (i.e. when Windows is in the Mainstream Support phase, or Extended Support phase, so are its Components). When a Major Product such as Windows reaches the end of support, so does its related Components.

.NET Framework versions 3.0 and 3.5: Both versions remain supported until July 12th, 2011. After this date, support will end; we strongly encourage customers to migrate to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 before July 12th, 2011.

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle (MSL) policy provides transparent, predictable information regarding the support lifecycle of Microsoft products. More information is available on the MSL Web site http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle

Accompanying FAQ:

What is a Component of a Microsoft product?

A “Component” is defined as a set of files or features that is included with a Microsoft “Major Product”. Components may be shipped with the product, included in a product service pack, or released at a later date as a web download to the product.

What does Microsoft mean by “Major Product”?

A “Major Product” frequently ships as a top level aggregation of a bill of materials (i.e. components and features) that is released to customers. Major Products generally receive a major version number and may be the parent of multiple minor products. Customers may obtain a Major Product through a variety of methods, including retail purchase, web download, and/or volume licensing. Typical examples of a Microsoft Major Product, defined by the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy, include:

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM

How do I know which product or platform a Component is associated with?

This information is generally specified in the Component's end-user license agreement (EULA).

How is a Component supported under Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle policy?

A Component receives the same support as its parent product or platform. In other words, the Support Lifecycle of a parent product or platform drives support for a Component—when a parent product or platform is in the Mainstream Support phase, or Extended Support phase, so is the Component. When a parent product or platform reaches end of support, so does the Component.

For example: If a Component is licensed for Microsoft Windows, support ends for the Component on the same date that support ends for Windows.

Note: Sometimes a Component will receive security updates or feature enhancements that are independent of its parent product. We encourage customers to install Component updates as they become available.

Are .NET Framework versions 1.x or 2.0 affected by this announcement?

No. The Support Lifecycle policies for versions 1.x and 2.0 remain unchanged. For further information on these versions, please visit the Microsoft Support Lifecycle site: Microsoft Support Lifecycle - .Net Framework

How are .NET Framework versions 3.0 and 3.5 affected by this announcement?

At the time of this announcement, .NET Framework versions 3.0 and 3.5 (and their Service Packs) remain supported. For all 3.x versions prior to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, support will end on July 12th, 2011. We strongly encourage customers to migrate to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 before July 12th, 2011.

Does this mean the Support Lifecycle is different for .NET 3.5 SP1 depending on which version of Microsoft Windows it is installed on?

Yes. A Component follows the Support Lifecycle of its parent product (such as Microsoft Windows 7). Therefore, support for a Component ends when support for the parent product ends.

When I installed Visual Studio, it installed a version of the .NET Framework 3.0. Does this mean the .NET Framework 3.0 version that came with Visual Studio takes the Support Lifecycle of Visual Studio?

No. Versions of .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 that shipped with host products other than Microsoft Windows, shipped with a Windows Supplemental EULA. This means that the Component is considered to be part of the Windows operating system.

How do I know if I am affected by this announcement?

If your currently installed version of .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5 is earlier than .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, please migrate to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 before July 12th, 2011, to continue receiving support, including security updates.

For technical reasons we cannot migrate to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 by July 12th, 2011. What support can we expect from Microsoft?

For versions of .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 prior to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, support will end on July 12th, 2011. If you are on any version prior to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 you will no longer be eligible to receive security updates or non-security hotfixes; and you will not have access to phone support, or support by any other means. Please contact your Microsoft account representative for additional information.

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle (MSL) policy provides transparent, predictable information regarding the support lifecycle of Microsoft products. More information is available on the MSL Web site http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle.

Last Review : March 15, 2013