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Support Expiring for Aging Windows Products

The clock is ticking on support for a number of Windows products, Microsoft warned on Wednesday. Products with lapsing service support include Windows XP Service Pack 2, Vista RTM, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft has sounded this alarm before. Back in December, the company warned that "extended support" for XP SP2 and Windows 2000 will end on July 13.

On Wednesday, a Microsoft lifecycle support blog post hinted at grim prospects for those who don't upgrade before that time. Simply put, the end of extended support for those products means that no more security updates will be delivered to patch vulnerabilities in those operating systems. Support articles will remain online, but just for a year.

Microsoft customers who can't upgrade when extended support ends have another option: They can request "custom support" from Microsoft, which will cost extra.

Users of XP SP2 can continue "mainstream support" for the product if they can upgrade to SP3. However, some organizations may be held back from upgrading by lack of personnel and a need to support legacy applications. If an upgrade is possible, extended support for XP SP3 will end on April 8, 2014.

Vista users who have never upgraded to SP1 or SP2 will face end of support on April 13. A service pack upgrade is required "to continue to receive security updates, hotfixes or assisted support from Microsoft Customer Service & Support," according to Microsoft.

Lastly, Windows Server 2003 users will move from the mainstream support phase to the extended support phase on July 13, Microsoft warned. Security updates will still flow during the extended support phase, but nonsecurity hotfixes will require setting up an agreement with Microsoft, according to the company's lifecycle support policy.

Those who are still stuck on the Windows 7 release candidate (RC) will face two-hour shutdowns of the OS starting on March 1, according to a Microsoft blog. The RC will actually expire on June 1. An alternative for IT pros who still need time to evaluate Windows 7 is to download a 90-day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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