Microsoft Business, Developer and Desktop Operating Systems Policy

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The Microsoft Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System Policy applies to many products currently available through retail purchase or volume licensing and offers a minimum of:

  • Ten years of support (a minimum of five years Mainstream Support and a minimum of five years Extended Support) at the supported service pack level for business, developer, and desktop operating system products. To be eligible for support services, customers may be required to deploy the latest update. See the Lifecycle date grid for specific details.
  • A minimum five years Mainstream Support at the supported service pack level for consumer and multimedia products
  • Microsoft is committed to providing products with improved security. 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. Microsoft advises customers to install the latest product releases, security updates, and service packs to remain as secure as possible. For the latest information on security updates, please visit our TechNet Library. Older products may not meet today’s more demanding security requirements. Microsoft may be unable to provide security updates for older products.

Lifecycle phases for business, developer, desktop operating systems, consumer and multimedia software

 Type of support Mainstream Support Extended Support Self-help Online Support
Request to change product design and features  Available  Not available Note4
Security updates  Available  Available Note4
Non-security updates  Available
  • Available only with Extended Hotfix Support
  • Not available for desktop operating system consumer products
Note4
Complimentary support1 included with license, licensing program2 or other no-charge support programs  Available  Not available3 Note4
Paid-support (including pay-per-incident premier and essential support)  Available  Available Note4

*NOTE: The Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System Policy does not apply to all products. To see the specific support and servicing start and end dates by applicable product, search the lifecycle product database.

1 Refers to phone and online support options.
2 For example, support incidents acquired through the Software Assurance program for server products. 
3 Limited complimentary support may be available (varies by product).
4 Access to freely available online content, such as Knowledge Base articles, online product information, and online support webcasts.
 
Mainstream Support
 
Mainstream Support is the first phase of the product lifecycle. At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support for products and services 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 updates
NOTE: Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products.
 
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 support4
  • Security update support at no additional cost
  • The ability to request a non-security hotfix during the Extended Support phase (aka Extended Hotfix Support) is included for select products for eligible Unified Support customers.5
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 paid support program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products.
4 Limited complimentary support may be available (varies by product).
5 Microsoft Lifecycle policy permits the creation and broad distribution of certain non-security updates during the Extended Support phase. For example, it may be necessary to provide a non-security update that enables continued connectivity and servicing through the Automatic Update or Windows Server Update service.

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.

NOTE: Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products.

 

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.