Microsoft warns of pending support deadlines for Windows 7, Office 2010 SP1, Windows Server 2003, and more

Microsoft warns of pending support deadlines for Windows 7, Office 2010 SP1, Windows Server 2003, and more

Summary: Microsoft officials are beginning to sound the support warning bell for customers running a number of its popular products, including Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, and more.


As the second half 2014 rolls in, Microsoft is stepping up its warnings for approaching support deadlines for some of its key products, including Windows 7.


A few definitions worth knowing: Mainstream support is the typically five-year period when Microsoft provides free patches and fixes, including but not limited to security updates, for its products. When a product exits the mainstream support phase, Microsoft continues to provide a period (also often five years) of extended support, which means users get free security fixes but other types of updates are paid and require specific licensing deals.

"End of support" means there will be no more fixes or patches -- paid or free, security or non-security -- coming for specific products. (There are some temporary workarounds, as Windows XP users have discovered, but as a general rule, end of support means, for most intents and purposes, the end.)

Mainstream, free support is ending on January 13, 2015 for a number of major Microsoft products, including all versions of Windows 7 (Enterprise, Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Starter). Extended support for Windows 7 lasts until January 14, 2020, so users can expect to continue to receive free security updates, but not feature updates, for Windows 7 until that point. For those running Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 applied, the end of mainstream and extended support dates are the same -- January 13, 2015 and January 14, 2020, respectively -- given there is no Windows 7 SP2.

Some industry watchers have speculated that Microsoft will end up pushing out Windows 7's support dates the way the company did for XP, given Windows 7's popularity and pervasiveness, but so far, there's been no word from Microsoft officials that this is the plan.

Mainstream support also ends on January 13, 2015 for all versions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and all editions of Windows Storage Server 2008. Mainstream support for Dynamics C5 2010, NAV 2009 and NAV 2009 R2 ends on January 13, 2015, as well.

Complete end of support for Windows Server 2003 is approaching next year, as well. On July 14, 2015, Microsoft's extended support period for that product cuts off, which means the company won't be issuing patches, updates or fixes of any kind for that operating system (unless users have pricey Custom Support Agreements in place). A number of small businesses are still running Windows Server 2003. Microsoft officials are hoping to convince them to move to Windows Server 2012 R2 and/or Azure.

"With the average Windows Server taking over 200 days to migrate, now it is the time to act and start planning for your migration," Microsoft officials warned Windows Server 2003 holdouts recently. "With the Architectural changes in 32 bit to 64 bit technology – everything changes in Windows Server 2012."

On the more immediate front, there are some other end of support dates worth noting. 

Support for Office 2010 with Service Pack 1 ends on October 14, 2014, as does support for SharePoint 2010 with SP1. Support also is ending for Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 with SP3 and Visual Studio 2012 Remote Tools, Test Professional, and Express for Web, Windows 8 and Windows Desktop.

"Customers should migrate to the next available Service Pack to continue to receive security updates and be eligible for other support options" for these service pack releases, Microsoft officials said.

Windows Phone 7.8 mainstream support also is ending soon -- on September 14, 2014.

Topics: Windows, IT Priorities, Microsoft, IT Policies


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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  • This would be a grave mistake (for Windows 7)

    if they decide they'll stop shipping IE updates for Windows 7, that's a free gift to Google to own the Windows 7 browser marketplace. This would be highly inadvisable for a company that wants to retain its influence in the HTML standardization process at the W3C, as well as mindshare with developers.

    They do this at their own peril.
    • Mainstream Support

      The key word here is mainstream support, meaning no feature updates. Security patches and fixes will continue through 2020. This includes OS and IE updates.
      • He's referring to standards, not security.

        Thus the 2020 extended support is irrelevant.
        • Its very relevant

          It means you will continue to get security patches and updates until 2020 which is critical. The end of Extended support is also the "real" end of support date for corporate users.
          • +1

            It isn't really sensible to expect MS to add features now anyway, but the support to 2020 for security patches is one of the longest support periods in OS software.

            Eventually we'll all be pushed off of windows 7 .... Hopefully they're be a sensible alternative when that time comes
          • Re: +1

            "Hopefully they're be a sensible alternative when that time comes" but that alternatives time will come also,,, and then that alternatives time will come,,, etc. ad infinitum. We will never be able to be content. It's like living in the African jungle where you always have to be on watch. This constant end-of-support which Microsoft does yearly I think, wasn't it just last year that they ended XP support and now is six months they are going to end Windows 7 support? This is madness. It's hard to believe that they keep forcing their happy customers to continually switch. It's an OS not a sandwich. Shouldn't an OS last at least as long as a washing machine?
            Tim Jordan
          • Completely irrelevant

            Mac_PC_FenceSitter was referring to web standards, which are introduced in new versions of IE, not in security patches. A security patch does not improve IE's support for new web standards, and are therefore completely irrelevant to the issue that Mac_PC_FenceSitter is raising. Newer versions of IE, released after an operating system's mainstream support ends, are not supported on it, which was why there was no IE9 for XP, nor IE10 for Vista. However, newer versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are supported on such OSs for much longer, so Microsoft is indirectly handing over its influence on those users to other browser vendors.
            Joshua Issac
          • Well, since IE 11 is available on Windows 7 SP1 ...

            ... now. There is no reason to assume that the next version of IE will not be ported to Windows 7 SP1 after January 13, 2015. Think of IE as any other application and not an integral component of Windows 7 SP1.
            M Wagner
          • Well since IE 11 ......

            The only thing I think of IE whatever version is it is a useful as a sieve which is why anyone with any sense will dump IE and find far better more robust alternatives.
      • IE

        is NOT Windows 7. It has its own life cycle. IE8 came with Windows 7 but its support totally ends in 2017.
    • I'm pretty sure you'll still get updates for IE11...

      ...but I have a feeling that that'll be the version that Windows 7 users are stuck with, similar to XP users getting IE8 but no further. I could be wrong, though, and we might end up with a situation where IE12 and beyond run on Windows 7 but have more security features on Window 8/9. Time will tell.
      Alan Ralph
      • consider this

        consumers don't really hold on to PCs that much, this will be businesses. and these guys use IE for apps usually written not in standards but in browser support modes.

        this is a non issue for most people.
        • Don't think so

          I beg to differ. PC sales are in the tank, not just because of the mobile craze, but because any PC built within the past 5 years or so is powerful enough to do what most home users need a PC to do (gamers excepted) and will likely remain so for some time to come.
          • Very true

            I build my own systems, but I'm pretty sure my newest CPU is about 5 years old, and it's plenty powerful enough to run development tools and VMs and test under. The biggest reason to upgrade an old motherboard these days is you can't get memory for the old one at a reasonable price and you want faster USB ports.
            Buster Friendly
          • Bingo

            On my 6th or 7th homebuilt machine. The PSU went last weekend, I replaced it. I really dont need to spend money to make another one, the need isnt there. I might in the end, but I really dont need to.
          • Need vs Want

            I think that for those of us that build our own computers, a new system is often as much of a "Want" rather than a "Need". Normally if the system still does what you want it to do, we can simply replace parts that eventually fail or update parts such as graphics cards for better performance. For me, my Intel Core Two Duo E8400 runs great, no problems (knock on wood) and has been running 24/7 for most of the last 3-4 years (the system was built in about 2009). However, to take advantage of newer technologies, I'm actually breaking down and building a new system with an Intel i5 quad core which in addition takes advantage of newer technologies such as DDR3, PCIe16 3.0, solid state drives, etc. I'll then either keep the old system as a backup or else sell/donate it (thinking of finding some lower income kid that might be able to benefit from a functional computer for their home). But between now and the 2020s, unless there is a major technology shift, I won't be doing anything else to the system than replace bad parts or occasionally upgrade parts.
          • Agreed

            Other than parts failure, my home built machine from 5 years ago does all I need. Including video and audio work.
          • Will they still

            have those PC's in 2020? Support just ended for XP in 2014. That was extended support as in only security updates. The same for Windows 7 is Jan of 2020.
          • Depends

            My enterprises PC refresh cycle is typically 3 years although we try to stretch that out to 4. Some production PCs will sometime go 5 to 6 mostly because they are desktops (75% of our PCs are now laptops).

            We do not typically buy Windows licenses, normally we just get an OEM one with the device. Also cost of support begin to increase the older the PC gets and hard drive failures alone force our refreshes.
            Rann Xeroxx
          • Re: Depends

            Whenever I encounter a Windows error that is explicitly related to hardware such as "device not found" or "no media", you may benefit from trying a Linux Live-CD boot. This will allow you to see if the problem is restricted to your application, your OS or if there is an actual physical problem with the device. In most cases, the Live-CD will boot without issue and you can quickly isolate the problem to Windows. In fact, Windows has a tendency to throw "hardware" related errors, when in actuality the flaw is in the device driver setting or with the underlying OS configuration. A DVD drive that is not recognized is often corrected by reinstallation of the device driver. Windows throws a major device error, but often the error is then corrected when the same exact driver is reinstalled. This again points to the possibility that the problem is related to a systemic OS weakness rather than a device driver bug. To understand the scope of the hardware related false positives triggered under Windows, you have only to look on Google for the number of people trying to replace what they assume are failed devices. In my quest to help colleagues deal with Windows hardware issues, my tool of choice for verifying the underlying culprit is Linux.
            Tim Jordan