Microsoft starts warning of support phase-out for older Windows Server releases

Microsoft starts warning of support phase-out for older Windows Server releases

Summary: As it is doing on the client side of the house, with warnings about the scheduled support phase-out for Windows XP, Microsoft officials are beginning to do the same with Windows Server.


As it is doing on the client side of the house, with warnings about the scheduled support phase-out for Windows XP, Microsoft officials are beginning to do the same with Windows Server.

In a September 15 blog post to the Windows Server Division Weblog, Microsoft officials provided an early warnings about the approaching end-of-support dates for customers running Windows Server 2000 and 2003.

Microsoft provides support -- "mainstream," followed by "extended" -- for most of its business software for ten years. The main difference between mainstream and extended support is the way Microsoft treats non-security-specific hotfixes. Under mainstream support, Microsoft provides these kinds of hotfixes for free. Under extended, customers are required to pay for non-security hotfixes and must sign an extended hotfix agreement, purchased within 90 days of mainstream support ending. (Or, if customers are covered by Software Assurance, the extended hotfix agreement can be purchased at any time.)

This week, Microsoft noted that extended Support for Windows 2000 Server will end on July 13, 2010. That means, at that time, "Windows 2000 Server will no longer be publicly supported," but customers will be able to continue to get Self-Help Online Support.

("Self-Help Online Support" means online access to Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, troubleshooting tools. This type of support is available for a Microsoft product's entire lifecycle, plus a mnimum of 12 months after a product reaches its end of support phase.)

Also on July 13, 2010, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 will move from the mainstream support to the extended support phase. Microsoft will offer customers free security updates and paid support for those releases. It also means, according to the September 15 blog post, that "non-security hotfixes developed during the Extended Support phase will be provided ONLY to customers who enroll in Extended Hotfix Support (EHS)."

Microsoft also put to rest talk that the company might be issuing a third service pack for Windows Server 2003. No such Service Pack is coming, according to the blog post.

Microsoft has been sounding the warning bells on the end of XP support -- mainstream, free support ended in April of this year -- as one way to entice users to upgrade to Windows 7. The server team is likely employing the same tactic, in the hopes of convincing users of older versions of Windows Server to start thinking now about moving to Windows Server 2008 R2.

Both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 were released to manufacturing in July and made available to volume licensees in August/September. Microsoft has embarked on a campaign to try to get corporate customers to start now their deployments of the newest versions of Windows client and server, rather than to wait, as many typically do, for a service pack before kicking off their deployment plans.

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Servers, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Added benefit of "activation" (automatic "kill switch")

    Neccessary (or desirable) to reinstall XP or change hardware? Flip the kill switch. No more activation, no more XP (or any other later Windows release).

    Any OS that depends on a remote server is an excercise in futility.
    Ole Man
    • You confuse 'support' with 'activation'.

      There's no indication that they will disable activation for valid keys - in fact, there are a lot of corporate keys out there which don't even require activation (large OEMs, VLK keys).

      What they're discontinuing is providing support for older versions of Windows and they're doing it in two phases: from free to paid, and from paid to EOL.

      We all get that you don't like Microsoft and commercial software, but you're off base here.
      • The option is always there

        and many people (including me) will not tolerate their OS provider having the ability to arbitrarily disable their computer, whether they like the provider or not.

        What happened when Microsoft's activation servers all went down? Whether it is intentional or not, the results are the same.

        Nossir! My dislike of Microsoft has nothing to do with it. If that were the case, they would have had me snuffed out long, long ago.

        Its a liability for any OS to depend on the providers approval over and over again, even (especially) years later. I call that a very important part of support. Just because your defination of support is different does not invalidate mine.
        Ole Man
        • Activation vs Validation confused. Activation is one time.

          Once activated you are activated without any need to reconnect to the internet. If not activated within the activation period it will no longer work.

          Validation WGA is an on-going process but isn't necessary to keep using the system. It is necessary though to keep downloading hotfixes.

          Neither of the above either necessitates or eliminates a kill switch.

          There was a lot of traffic on the kill switch thing back in 2006 since then I believe Microsoft currently has no external kill switch except on unactivated windows (that is internally controlled) and on betas
          • "Microsoft currently has no external kill switch except on unactivated wind

            That is correct, and if for any reason a reinstall becomes necessary, for whatever or any reason, refusal or failure to reactivate constitutes a kill switch, for all practical purposes.

            An ocean of whitewash has been expended to obfuscate the facts. Your strokes at it are just a drop in the bucket, while my mention of it is just a gentle reminder for anyone not aware of the possibilities.
            Ole Man
          • So Ole Man

            Are you going to be using either XP or 2003 in 2014? Why are you so worried about a kill switch? How fast would they be taken to court?

            If you are, you might as well as put a big "All you can eat buffet" neon sign on your PC.
            The one and only, Cylon Centurion
          • Are you worried about being run down by an uninsured motorist?

            The possibility is all to real, you know, and all the posturing you can do about it will not prove that it isn't. Its just an established fact, that I had nothing to do with. I'm just presenting the information.
            Ole Man
        • You are just proving how much misinformation is out there

          It is interesting to me that people keep talking about the "evils" of MS, yet have no problem whatsoever in knowingly spreading misinformation.

          If you are trying to paint someone/something as "evil", making up misinformation doesn't help your case at all.

          [i]The option is always there[/i]

          Yes, and the "option" is always there for my electric company to crank my house voltage from 110V to 500V, thereby frying all of my electrical equipment. Just because it could theoretically happen, doesn't mean it [i]is[/i] going to happen. You need at least some proof if you are going to make wild statements like that. [i]Any[/i] proof based in reality would help.
          • Just a fact

            Anyone who actually uses Windows know that if you cannot get it reactivated when necessary, for whatever reason, it is dead as a doornail for all practical purposes.

            So if you use Windows, there is your proof.
            Ole Man
          • Except...

            You have 30 days to re-activate, during which time Windows will be fully functional. You can reactivate Windows as many times as you want. If you make significant changes to your system, you might eventually need to call to get Windows activated. If you are incapable if picking up the phone and calling within 30 days, you have bigger problems.

            It is pretty sad that Windows-nay-sayers need to resort to such doomsday predictions when all they need to do is do a simple search to get educated:


            PS: I'm sorry, but you will need to come up with a better reason for why Windows is going to fail. To date all predictions of Window's demise have been proven to be false.

            I don't know which one is your favorite OS, but chances are it is flat-lining at the bottom of [b]this[/b] graph...:

          • You cannot activate your Windows

            Microsoft MUST do it, IF it is done (legally). That is the nitty-gritty and the essence of the problem.

            As to your link, don't tell me you believe everything Microsoft says! Do you know ANYTHING about their history?

            You love Microsoft and want to depend on their benevolence to maintain your computer, more power to you. I know many who, albeit not as outspoken as myself, DON'T! And many more who wouldn't if they knew the details.

            PS: What makes you think my choice of OS would fail because it is on the bottom of some graph claiming to accurately indicate market share (if indeed it were)? It will still be working when Microsoft fails to activate yours, which I personally care not whether it has failed or not.
            Ole Man
          • Which OS has MS ever "deactivated"?

            Which OS did MS ever "deactivate" in such a way that you can't use it anymore?

            Windows 3.1?
            Windows 95?
            Windows 98?
            Windows NT?
            Windows 2000?
            Windows XP?
            Windows 7?
            Any other flavor of Windows?

            Unless you can show how [b]any[/b] one of MS' past OSs can no longer be installed today, then your argument is just a sad attempt to try and get people not to use Windows.

            [i]You love Microsoft and want to depend on their benevolence to maintain your computer, more power to you. I know many who, albeit not as outspoken as myself, DON'T! And many more who wouldn't [b]if they knew the details[/b].[/i]

            LOL, and what "details" would these be that would stop people from using Windows? Certainly not these bits and pieces of misinformation you are rambling on about, surely! And where do you propose to start telling these 1.2 billion users about these "details" that would make them switch...?

            Nobody said your choice of OS would "fail". Well, mainly because it already did, but that is besides the point. I find it interesting that you would think the marketshare values on the website I linked to would be incorrect. Do you have a link to some magical website that shows significantly different figures from the one I provided?

            [i]Microsoft MUST do it, IF it is done (legally). That is the nitty-gritty and the essence of the problem.[/i]

            I'm sorry, but I just don't see any problem here. Can you elaborate on exactly what the problem is supposed to be? Maybe provide an example to illustrate your point? Thanks!

            I seriously think you need to come up with better "material". Does any of this stuff actually work on anyone?
          • Irrevalent questions merit irrevalent answers

            and only attempt to obfuscate the facts.

            I don't need to produce anything. Microsoft produces Windows, and oh what a mess it is! Your posturing doesn't make it any better, and nothing I say could possibly make it worse than it already is.

            Ole Man
          • So I guess you can't answer the question - figures

            So the only answer you have is to run away - maybe I was expecting too much in hoping you can actually back up your claims. You know, there is that silly old thing called "burden of proof". When you make a claim, it is your responsibility to back it up with proof, not the other side's responsibility to disprove it. But when did anything as silly as providing proof for claims ever stop an anti-MS zealot from producing nothing but a bunch of useless drivel.

            As I said, no wonder your OS of choice is flat-lining. You people are stuck in the 90's using 90's arguments when the rest of the world has moved on.
          • Can you prove that Microsoft WILL activate your Windows?

            Didn't think so.

            You can't prove a negative any more than I can, and it is an asinine excercise to question it.
            Ole Man
          • Yes, I can...

   the mere fact that there is currently [b]no[/b] OS from MS that you cannot activate anymore.

            Not that I need to prove anything to you. You are the one that made the original claim, so once again the burden of proof is on [b]you[/b].

            [i]You can't prove a negative any more than I can, and it is an asinine excercise to question it.[/i]

            You have it backwards. The "negative" in this case is proving that they will prevent you from activating it. Since you made the claim, you need to provide proof to back up your claim. Which you can't, so we will go ahead and accept that you lost this argument.

            As I asked before, does any of your garbage arguments [b]ever[/b] work on anyone?
          • I repeat: You cannot activate Windows

            Microsoft MUST do it, IF it is legitimatly done.

            You are depending on Microsoft (to do the right thing, ugh!), and endeavoring to obfuscate the fact. I have nothing to do with it. I simply pointed it out.
            Ole Man
          • So...

            Nobody ever said anyone other than MS does the actual Windows activation. So I'm wondering why you are repeating the same thing over and over again as if it is some sort of problem. Why is it suddenly a problem when it hasn't ever been a problem before? I think it is only a problem in your mind. If you have a ligit key, MS will activate Windows with no problems whatsoever. Do you have [b]any[/b] proof to the contrary?

            Unless you are expecting MS to go away sometime soon? I know it is your fantasy, but that is all it is. So unless MS is going away sometime soon (won't happen in our lifetime), the problem only exists in your closed off little mind. You are welcome to create your own reasons why you don't want to use the most popular OS on the planet - that is your right. But don't expect others to believe your ramblings since you are incapable of producing one single piece of evidence to support it.

            But you know what - It is all good. You can go live in your little world with your loser OS, nobody cares. The whole world has spoken, and they didn't choose your loser OS.

            Deal with it.
          • Nice of you to speak up for the "World" like that

            but it seems that you aren't qualified to speak for everybody. Microsoft press releases are not adequate information.

            What is this doomsday crap? If Microsoft folded tomorrow the world would go on, happier than ever without them.

            I merely pointed out that you MUST depend on Microsoft to activate your Microsoft software, and yes, I can (and will) give you many examples of when they did NOT activate their software when and how they were supposed to, several of which were reported by ZDNet's own beloved Ed Bott. You certainly are not very well read. Seems you speak when you should be reading.


            Yet another story of Windows Genuine Disadvantage screwing the honest customer:
            While Microsoft insists that problems with the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program are much overblown -- claiming last weekthat "only a fraction of a percent" of the systems that fail the WGAverification are actually legal -- Microsoft's customers keep saying otherwise. What's worse, the WGA false negatives are leading to increasing number of situations where customers run afoul of XP's product activation, leaving them to beg Microsoft and/or their PC vendor to help.

            More mis-validation with damages to small businesses:






            More mis-validation cases:



            Plenty more, but I'm sure that is enough to entertain you for five minutes or less.
            Ole Man
          • All your examples...

            ...are due to technical issues [b]and are 3 years old[/b], and not due to any MS policy. All of those issues have since been sorted out.

            Hey, with [b]1.2 BILLION[/b] users, it would take a miracle if NO person had any issues.

            But then you are so consumed with your MS hatred that you spend your days digging up non-issues just to desperately try to get people to not use Windows. As I said, the world spoke and they chose Windows. Deal with it.

            If you can't deal with that, you should take up a different job/hobby. I hear stamp-collecting is making a comeback. Maybe you should look into that, as it clearly would be less stressful to you than having to see your favorite OS [b]FAIL[/b] for the piece of junk it is.

            Run along now...