Microsoft Windows Products Support Lifecycle FAQ

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Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Microsoft Windows Media Player

1. What is the Microsoft support lifecycle for Internet Explorer and for Windows Media Player?

Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are components of the operating systems with which they were released. When the subject operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle, support for its components also ends.

2. What is the Microsoft support lifecycle for Microsoft Outlook Express? 

Outlook Express is a component of Internet Explorer. Therefore, the support lifecycle for Outlook Express is the same as the support lifecycle for that version of Internet Explorer with which it was installed.

  • Outlook Express 5.5 SP1 was included with Internet Explorer 5.5 SP2 and is supported on Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) only until December 31, 2004.
  • Outlook Express 5.5 SP2 was included with Internet Explorer 5.01 SP3 on Microsoft Windows 2000 SP3 and is supported until June 30, 2005.
  • Outlook Express 5.5 SP2 was included with Internet Explorer 5.01 SP4 on Windows 2000 SP4 and follows the support lifecycle for Windows 2000 SP4.
  • Outlook Express 6 was included with the original release version of Microsoft Windows XP and will be supported through September 30, 2004.
  • Outlook Express 6 SP1 was included with Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) and will be supported until 24 months after Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) is released.

See the Select a Product for Lifecycle Information page to identify the end of support dates for these and other product service packs.

Microsoft NetMeeting

1. What is the Microsoft support lifecycle for NetMeeting?

The Support Lifecycle policy for NetMeeting varies depending on the version of the software that included NetMeeting. For example, if NetMeeting was included with an operating system, support will be available for the full length of that operating system's lifecycle.

Microsoft Windows

1. When a Windows desktop operating system reaches the end of its lifecycle or is no longer supported, does that mean new programs will not run on that operating system?

Even if an operating system is no longer available for purchase or support through Microsoft, that operating system may still work with programs and with hardware that become available after sale or support of for such operating system is discontinued. However, as an operating system grows older, the chance that new programs will not run well on the operating system increases. The chance that an older, non-supported operating system will not run well on new hardware also increases. This frequently occurs because the manufacturers of new hardware and of new software make product-design decisions that take advantage of the increased functionality and features in newer operating systems. These manufacturers may decide that discontinuing support of their products on older operating systems is appropriate.

2. How do I know who provides support for my Windows desktop operating system?

If you obtained a retail (packaged product) copy of a Windows desktop operating system you are eligible for support from Microsoft, subject to the Support Lifecycle policy and to the support terms and conditions that were in place at the time of purchase. If you acquired your Windows desktop operating system through a Microsoft Volume Licensing program or from an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Microsoft offers access to a wealth of online self-help support content in addition to paid support offerings. If you acquired your Windows desktop operating system through an OEM, contact your OEM for more information about the support offerings for Windows desktop operating systems from that OEM.

3. What other options do I have for getting support?

Microsoft offers a wealth of no-charge self-help tools and content on Microsoft Help and Support Web sitethat is available all day, every day. These resources include the Microsoft Knowledge Base, how to articles, troubleshooting information, lists of frequently asked questions, TechNet Support WebCasts, community newsgroups, and more.

You can also gain access to comprehensive Help files and troubleshooters by clicking Start in Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Microsoft Windows NT Workstation, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Windows XP.

Microsoft Windows NT Server

1. When does support for hotfixes that are not security-related end for Windows NT Server 4.0?

Microsoft provided customers with no-charge hotfixes that were not security-related through December 31, 2003.

2. When will security-related hotfix support end for Windows NT Server 4.0?

All security-related product support for Windows NT Server 4.0 is provided at no charge through December 31, 2004.

3. When will paid support for Windows NT Server 4.0 end?

Microsoft will offer paid assisted support through December 31, 2004.

4. When will online self-help support for Windows NT Server 4.0 end?

Online self-help support for Windows NT Server 4.0 will be available until at least December 31, 2005, or until online demand no longer warrants keeping the content available.

5. All support for Windows NT Server 4.0 was scheduled to end on December 31, 2003. Why did you extend the support dates?

Customer feedback indicated that customers needed more time to migrate from Windows NT Server 4.0. Based on this feedback, Microsoft decided to extend paid support and security-related hotfix support through December 31, 2004.

6. What if I need hotfix support that is not security-related for Windows NT Server 4.0 after December 31, 2003?

Hotfix support that is not security-related for Windows NT Server 4.0 is available only through a custom support contract.

7. How do I find more information about custom support contracts?

Customers who need hotfix support that is not security-related on Windows NT Server 4.0 after December 31, 2003, can contact their Microsoft account team representative, their Technical Account Manager, or the appropriate Microsoft partner representative for custom support options. Customers without an Essential or Premier contract can contact their local Microsoft sales office and ask to speak with the local Premier Support sales manager.

8. Does the new end-of-support date also apply to Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition, and Windows NT Server4.0, Terminal Server Edition?

Yes.

9. I receive support from my vendor. How will this affect my support for Windows NT Server 4.0 from my vendor?

This will vary depending on the vendor. Ask your own vendor how this affects you.

10. Is Alpha platform support available for Windows NT Server 4.0?

No. Microsoft discontinued Alpha platform support on December 31, 2001. No hotfix support is available.

11. How long is Microsoft BackOffice supported? Does this support change by version?

BackOffice is a collection of multiple Microsoft products that were individually released at different times. Each of these individual products has its own support lifecycle. Therefore, there is not a single mainstream or extended support timeline for the BackOffice package. Customers can visit the Select a Product for Lifecycle Information Web site to identify the support timeline for their products. This information applies to all versions of BackOffice.

Last Review : April 1, 2013