Microsoft highlights mainstream support end-dates for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008

Windows Server 2008 mainstream support ending

With the repercussions over the end of all support for Windows XP still continuing, Microsoft has now warned customers about the looming end of mainstream support for other widely used products, including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft detailed the products that will reach the end of the mainstream support phase of their lifecycle within the next six months in a notice posted on its support site. The deadlines had already been disclosed, but Microsoft issued the notice as a reminder to customers.

The list of products includes Windows 7, all the versions of Windows Server 2008 (including R2 releases) and Exchange Server 2010, for which mainstream support will end on January 13, 2015.

However, the end of mainstream support is not as catastrophic as the final cut-off for all support that hit Windows XP this April. Instead, it means that these products are transitioning to the extended support phase, during which Microsoft will continue to provide security updates for the next five years, but will no longer add new features.

Support for the original release version of Windows 7 actually ended last year, in line with Microsoft’s support lifecycle policy of offering support for 24 months after the release of a successor service pack, with the new dates applying to the Service Pack 1 releases.

Meanwhile, Office 2010 Service Pack 1 and SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 1 are being retired on October 14 this year, but these have already been superseded by newer service packs that are still supported by Microsoft. The software giant advises customers still on the older release to migrate to the next available Service Pack to continue to receive security updates and be eligible for other support options.

Of more concern to Microsoft customers will be Windows Server 2003, which will reach its own final cut-off date on July 14, 2015. This platform is based on the same codebase as Windows XP, but was launched later.

Like XP, it is still being used by many companies, according to IT consulting firm Avanade, which warned that this is likely to raise the same kind of security and support issues once the July 2015 deadline has passed.

For Windows users, the situation could prove exasperating, as many business users are still in the throes of a complex migration away from the now defunct Windows XP, and will find themselves adopting a platform that is itself heading out of mainstream support.

Meanwhile, the most current version of Microsoft’s platform, Windows 8.1, is under mainstream support until January 9, 2018. However, customers still running the earlier Windows 8 have until January 12, 2016 to update to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported, Microsoft said.

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