Microsoft on April 10, 2012 ends Mainstream support for Windows Vista as well as Office 2007. Extended support for both Windows XP and Office 2003 ends in two years on April 8, 2014.
According to Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy, Microsoft will offer a minimum of 10 year support for Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System products. The Redmond software giant further divides this 10 years of support in two stages: “Mainstream Support” and “Extended Support.”
When a product is in its Mainstream support phase, the software receives incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims), security update support, the ability to ask for non-security hotfixes.
When a product enters the Extended support phase, the software only receives free security updates, though companies with paid support contracts can receive non-security related hotfix support. Companies can also opt for paid support from Microsoft.
Both Windows XP and Office 2003 are in the Extended support phase. Once the “Extended” period ends in April 8, 2014, users or companies who are still using them will not receive any security updates. This will make them vulnerable to any new malware that affects both the entities without an official patch.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit
Users should visit the special End of support website for help and further information. The website links to the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit to help users easily migrate to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) supports deployment of Windows 7, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008 R2. MDT is the recommended process and toolset for automating desktop and server deployments. MDT provides you with the following benefits:
- Unified tools and processes required for desktop and server deployment in a common deployment console and collection of guidance.
- Reduced deployment time and standardized desktop and server images, along with improved security and ongoing configuration management.
- Fully automated zero touch installation deployments by utilizing System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2 and Windows deployment tools. For those without a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 infrastructure, MDT uses Windows deployment tools for Lite Touch Installation deployments.
Since, both Windows Vista and Office 2007 have also entered in Extended support phase, Microsoft will only offer free security updates until April 2017.
Image Credit: Microsoft Support Lifecycle