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Upcoming Windows end-of-life deadlines we should be talking about

Windows XP got all of the attention, but a few others are coming up on their deadlines, and you might want to know about them.

The demise of Windows XP has gotten a huge amount of press, which would have been better if this kind of volume happened three or six months ago so people knew to move, but that point is moot now. What matters is Microsoft has some more deadlines coming, and you really want to know about these.

Windows Server 2003 R2 end of life: 7/14/2015

Microsoft will fully pull the plug on Server 2003 R2 come July 14, 2015, 15 months from now. While that may seem like a long time, server migrations are always trickier than desktop migrations. The change from 2003 to 2012 is night and day and you have no promises of compatibility.

This is the end of Extended Support, like XP just went through, which means no more patches or fixes, period. Microsoft is officially abandoning the OS. Server 2003 still accounted for about 20% of total Windows Server installations and will be down to 10% by the end of 2014, according to IDC.

There is a temporary solution if you can't migrate your apps to Server 2012 - run Server 2003 in a virtual container on a physical Server 2012 box. In fact, IDC estimates that's where many Windows 2003 deployments are running now.

Migration will be made easier thanks to an alliance between Microsoft and AppZero, which makes application migration software. AppZero will recommend which Microsoft server offering to choose: Server 2012, Server 2008 with Hyper-V, and Windows Azure. It then migrates the applications, extensions, libraries and all to the new OS.

Windows 7 SP1, End of mainstream support, January 13, 2015

Microsoft has reversed a lot of foolish policies with Terry Myerson running the Windows group and Satya Nadella now running the company. One thing it hasn't done is reverse the policy of neglecting Windows 7 to push people to Windows 8. That may sound accusatory, but Windows 7 is the only OS I've ever seen get just one service pack.

Considering its wide deployment and continued deployment in many areas, Microsoft really should support Windows 7 with at least a second service pack. But that's not happening and mainstream support ends in eight months. To be fair to Microsoft, that would be six years after the product's introduction. Time sure does fly…

What that means is no more free incident support or warranty claims, and it will no longer consider design changes and feature requests. The most significant change is that non-security hotfixes will require an extended hotfix agreement to be signed within 90 days of the end of the support phase. This will be an issue more for consumers than businesses. Or at the very least, businesses with a service contract.

But the good news is Extended Support, which means Patch Tuesday fixes, will come until January 14, 2020.

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