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Support lifecycle policy - FAQ

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NOTE: This FAQ was updated on November 10, 2014, consolidating multiple FAQs, grouping questions into topics, and simplifying some of the language used for clarity.

 General Questions 

1. What is the Support Lifecycle policy?
2. Is this policy applicable globally?
3. Why was the Support Lifecycle policy defined?
4. How was the Support Lifecycle policy developed?
5. If I have multiple Microsoft products do they all share the same support lifecycle timelines?
6. What is the difference between Mainstream Support, Extended Support, and Self-help Online Support for software products?
7. What products does the Support Lifecycle policy cover and when did they go into effect?
8. Who can receive support in the Extended Support phase?
9. For Business, Developer, and Desktop Operating System software, will Microsoft offer support beyond the Extended Support phase?
10. How can customers and partners estimate the support lifecycle for products that are not yet available or that are still in the Mainstream Support phase?


11. What does Microsoft mean by Major Product or Minor Product?
12. What is a component of a Microsoft product?
13. How do I know which product or platform a component is associated with?
14. What is a program add-on?
15. What is a tool?

 Policy Questions 

16. Is there a different Support Lifecycle policy for consumers and businesses for the Windows Operating System?
17. How long do you provide security updates for your products?
18. What is the policy for service packs?
19. Must I have the latest service pack installed to apply a security-related update or an update that is not security-related?
20. What is the Support Lifecycle policy for program add-ons?
21. What is the Support Lifecycle policy for tools?
22. What is the Support Lifecycle for products or companies that Microsoft acquires?
23. What is the Support Lifecycle for minor releases of major products?
24. How is a component supported under Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle policy?

 Technical Support Questions

25. How does the Support Lifecycle policy work with Premier Support?
26. How can customers who do not have a Premier Support obtain Extended Hotfix Support for non-security updates?
27. Would Microsoft ever release non-security updates in the Extended Phase without Extended Hotfix Support?
28. Is the Extended Hotfix Support program required for customers to receive security updates?
29. How long will security updates be available?
30. If I am running a Microsoft product that is currently supported under the Support Lifecycle policy, but my operating system is no longer supported, can I still receive support?
31. After the Microsoft assisted and paid support offerings have ended, what are my options if I want to continue to receive support?
32. I do not need non-security updates, I need only phone support during the Extended Support phase. Must I have an Extended Hotfix Support contract?
33. How will the Support Lifecycle policy affect Personal Support (telephone and Web support options that are customized to meet the requirements of home users and home office customers)?

 Miscellaneous Questions

34. How long can I legally use Microsoft software after I have licensed it? Is the term of my software license affected by the Support Lifecycle policy?
35. How does Microsoft manage software replacement parts, such as CDs and manuals, in support of the Lifecycle policy?
36. What happens if Microsoft releases a security update the same day a product reaches the end of support?
37. Is the Lifecycle Start Date the first date I can obtain technical support for a product?

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: Aug 31, 2016 - Revision: 21