Microsoft extends Windows Server 2008 support cut-off date

Microsoft extends Windows Server 2008 support cut-off date

Summary: Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 is getting an additional two years of mainstream support.


Microsoft has added two years of optional extended support for Windows Server 2008 to its product-support roadmap.


Originally, Windows Server 2008 was supposed to move from free, mainstream support, to extended, paid support on July 9, 2013. It now will move from mainstream to extended support on January 15, 2015, Microsoft officials acknowledged last week.

Microsoft provides five years of mainstream support and five years of extended support for all of its Windows releases, whether they be "consumer" or "business." Mainstream support is the period during which Microsoft provides free and regular updates including both security fixes and other patches for a product. Once a product exits the mainstream support phase, it enters Extended Support. During this period, security updates for a product remain free, but most other updates are only supplied on a paid basis, and require a separate Hotfix Agreement.

What's behind the latest change? Is Windows Server 2008 so popular that Microsoft decided to push back its end-of-life date for the product -- as has happened before in the case of Windows XP?

No, according to the Redmondian keepers of the lifecycle policies and procedures. From the latest edition of the company's quarterly lifecycle newsletter:

"The Microsoft policy provides a minimum of five years of Mainstream Support or two years of Mainstream Support after the successor product ships, whichever is longer....

"Modifications to the expiration dates for Windows Server 2008 are a result of the launch of Windows Server 2012, giving customers the additional 2 years of support."

Microsoft released Windows Server 2008 to manufacturing in February 2008. It released its successor, Windows Server 2008 R2, to manufacturing in July 2009. And it released the most recent version of Windows Server, Windows Server 2012, to manufacturing on August 1, 2012.

And speaking of Windows XP support, Microsoft is continuing to remind customers that extended support for that product will finally end on April 8, 2014. There will be no security hotfixes for the product from Microsoft after that date.

"If Windows XP is still being run in your environment and you feel that migration will not be complete by April 8, 2014, or you haven't begun migration yet, Microsoft is eager to help. The impact it will have on your environment, the resources that are available to help you get your migration effort under way, and legacy support options should be discussed with your Technical Account Manager or Microsoft Account Representative," the Softies reminded users in its latest support lifecycle quarterly e-mail blast.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Servers


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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  • Eager to help? Really?

    Can they create a hotfix and approve my Design Change Request they have been repeatedly been turning down to fix this major usability annoyance?: If anyone from MS is reading the comments, I hope so.
  • Don't overlook one of the other "Real" reasons

    Many people forget there are many servers still in operation that are of the Pentium 4 based Xeon Cores. These processors are 32 bit only, and Windows Server 2008 is the last server OS Microsoft has released to support 32 bit.
    • No, the real reason is the established support policy

      Even XP followed the same policy. Windows Vista "Lifecycle Start Date" on Microsoft's Lifecycle site is shown as the end of January 2007. Add two years to that (the end of January 2009) and round up to the next "quarterly" Patch Tuesday and you get mid-April 2009 (which was the end of Mainstream Support date for XP). Add another five years and you get April 2014.

      You can say a lot of things about Microsoft, but one thing you can't say is that it's support policies are inconsistent (they are a bit complicated, but they are consitent).
  • i suspect

    i suspect microsoft changed those dates to align the support dates for server 2008 and server 2008 r2 (to avoid confusion). they extended server 2008 and server 2008 r2 to align them both with windows 7 support dates. before the change, server 2008 r2 had server 2008's original support policy, which was aligned to windows vista's support lifecycle. microsoft considers server 2008 r2 a "minor upgrade" from server 2008, making it an "optional" upgrade.
    • R2 releases get their lifecycle as if they were not R2

      If you have BlahBlahBlah Server 2008 and BlahBlahBlah Server 2008 R2, then they will both have the same lifecycle.

      It's interesting in this case because Windows Server 2008 was "Vista-aligned" while Server 2008 R2 is "Windows 7-aligned". But, because the R2 lifecycle follows the straight-up 2008 lifecycle, they both get extended, and the result that they are aligned with neither Vista nor Win7.
      • R2

        Microsoft considers a "r2" a big [paid] service pack. So R2 has the same support as a RTM. Similarly the rare R3 has the same support as R2.
  • Two years?

    Let's be a little more precise: From July 9, 2013 to January 15, 2015, it's 1 year, 6 months, and 6 days - it's not gettings an additional two years, only one and a half.