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The Difference Between End of Mainstream Support and End of Extended Support

Knowing the difference can help you in planning upgrades

Is Microsoft trying to scare you?

This week, Microsoft announced the end of mainstream support for Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 2008 R2, effective January 13, 2015. Should you be worried?

Ending mainstream support for a product means Microsoft will no longer be enhancing that product. What it does NOT mean is there will no longer be fixes for security and reliability issues. Microsoft will continue to issue bug fixes and patches for security and reliability issues for Windows 7 and Windows 2008/2008 R2 after January 13, 2015.

When mainstream support ends, this is what occurs:

  • Microsoft no longer supplies non-security hotfixes unless you have an extended support agreement
  • All warranty claims end
  • Microsoft no long accepts requests for new features and design changes

When extended support ends, you can no longer count on any security patches or reliability patches. This is what happened in April of this year for Windows XP, and what will happen on July 15, 2015 for Windows Server 2003.

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