General Lifecycle Policy questions

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NOTE: This FAQ was updated on February 9, 2017.


What are the Microsoft lifecycle policies?
Is this policy applicable globally?
Why was the Lifecycle Policy defined?
How was the Lifecycle Policy developed?
If I have multiple Microsoft products do they all share the same lifecycle timelines?
What products do the lifecycle policies cover and when did they go into effect?
How can customers and partners estimate the lifecycle for products that are not yet available or that are still in the Mainstream Support phase?
Is there a different Lifecycle Policy for consumers and businesses for the Windows Operating System?
What is the Lifecycle Policy for program add-ons?
What is the Lifecycle Policy for tools?
What is the Lifecycle Policy for products or companies that Microsoft acquires?
What is the Lifecycle Policy for minor releases of major products?


What does Microsoft mean by major or minor product?
What is a component of a Microsoft product?
How do I know which product or platform a component is associated with?
What is a program add-on?
What is a tool?
What is Windows Server Premium Assurance and SQL Server Premium Assurance?

 Service Packs and Updates 

How long do you provide security updates for your products?
What is the policy for service packs?
Must I have the latest service pack installed to apply a security-related update or an update that is not security-related?
Is the Extended Hotfix Support program required for customers to receive security updates?
Would Microsoft ever release non-security updates during Extended Support without Extended Hotfix Support?
What happens if Microsoft releases a security update the same day a product reaches the end of support?


What is the difference between Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Self-help Online Support for software products?
Is the Lifecycle Start Date the first date I can obtain technical support for a product?
Who can receive support in the Extended Support phase?
For business, developer, and desktop operating system software, will Microsoft offer support beyond Extended Support?
How does the Lifecycle Policy work with Premier Support?
How can customers who do not have a Premier Support Agreement obtain Extended Hotfix Support for non-security updates?
Is the Extended Hotfix Support program required for customers to receive security updates?
If I am running a Microsoft product that is currently supported under the Lifecycle Policy, but my operating system is no longer supported, can I still receive support?
After the Microsoft assisted and paid support offerings have ended, what are my options if I want to continue to receive support?
I do not need non-security updates, I only need phone support during the Extended Support phase. Must I have an Extended Hotfix Support contract?
How will the Lifecycle Policy affect telephone and web support options that are customized to meet the requirements of home users and home office customers?
How is a component supported under Microsoft’s Lifecycle Policy?

 Miscellaneous Questions

How long can I legally use Microsoft software after I have licensed it? Is the term of my software license affected by the Lifecycle Policy?

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.

Article ID: 17140 - Last Review: 9 Feb 2017 - Revision: 55