Windows Server Lifecycle: End Of Life And Support Status
Last updated on November 17, 2023
Once an operating system has reached End of Life, it no longer receives features or security updates and is usually forced to upgrade to the latest available version. Windows Server has the regular and the Long term Servicing Channel (LTSC) versions. The regular versions normally have 5-year active support and no security support. However, the LTSC versions have a 5-year active support and an additional 5-year security support.
Support status guide
End of life (EOL) is the end of a product’s useful life. When a product reaches the end of its life cycle, the manufacturer no longer supports it. The following table explains the different phases of a product’s lifecycle. Testing status is when the product is initially released and EOL is when product support is no longer offered. The time between these two points is the support timeframe.
The software is not yet publicly available. It is in testing phase i.e., alpha, beta, release preview etc.
The software is actively supported by the vendor.
The software will soon reach its end of life. You need to look for upgrade or migration options. The software will automatically go into phasing out status 2 months before end of life.
End Of Life
The software is no longer supported by the vendor. You need to make sure your system and environment are safe.
(18 August 2021)
(13 October 2026)
(14 October 2031)
(13 November 2018)
(9 January 2024)
(9 January 2029)
(16 October 2016)
(11 January 2022)
(12 January 2027)
(13 November 2013)
(9 October 2018)
(13 October 2026)
(6 May 2008)
(13 January 2015)
(14 January 2020)
(28 May 2003)
(13 July 2010)
(14 July 2015)
(17 February 2000)
(30 June 2005)
(13 July 2010)
Every 2 to 3 years, Microsoft releases a major update of the Windows Server operating system. It is named “Windows Server” followed by the year it was released. At the moment, the latest Windows Server version is 2022.
Windows Server had two servicing channels: LTSC and Semi-Annual Channel (SAC). The latter was discontinued when Windows 10 and Windows 11 also shifted to the one-major-update-per-annum approach. Now, it is only the regular servicing channel and the LTSC.
Additionally, some releases also had the Extended Security Updates (ESU) package. This is more of a feature than a channel, which the customer could purchase. All Windows Server operating systems purchased with an ESU received an additional 3 years of security updates after the security support ends.
While the Extended Security Updates package for Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 was supposed to expire on 10th October 2023, Microsoft has given the option to the consumers to extend it by another 3 years, which means that it can be extended until 13th October 2026. This has been done so that the Azure users who have still not migrated to Server 2022 have ample time to upgrade their environments. Note that this 3-year extension is annually renewable 3 times. Microsoft announced this extended support for Server 2012 and 2012 R2, where you can find out more about it.
Understanding the concept of end of life for Microsoft Windows Server
While Microsoft follows modern lifecycle policy, there are three main types of end of support/life dates:
End of active support
This means Microsoft will not provide incident support, warranty claims, feature requests, or non-security related requests after the end of mainstream support.
- No more free incident support.
- No more warranty claims.
- No more design changes and feature requests.
- No more non-security hotfixes.
Usually, Microsoft provides 5 years of mainstream support after the product is released.
End of security support
The end of extended support means the following:
- No more security updates
- No more paid support
- No more updated content (Knowledgebase etc.)
End of extended security support
The extended security support program is a paid add-on that can be bought while purchasing the Windows Server license, or even afterward. However, the last version available with Extended Security Updates was Windows Server 2012 R2, and the ESU could be bought only before October 2022. Even so, the Windows Server 2012 R2 ESU will also reach End of Life on 13th October 2026, as per Microsoft reports.
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