Lifecycle FAQ - General

Originally published: July 18, 2016

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What are the Microsoft Lifecycle policies?

Microsoft provides industry-leading lifecycle policies - in length and provision - giving customers consistent, transparent, and predictable guidelines for software support and servicing. Select from the following links to view policy details.

Fixed Lifecycle Policy - products with defined end-of-support dates at the time of release.

Modern Lifecycle Policy - products with continuous support and servicing.

To view a comprehensive list of Microsoft product lifecycles, including migration options, please visit the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search page.

For information about service packs, see the Fixed Lifecycle Policy. To see a list of commonly asked questions and answers on our policies and the Extended Security Update (ESU) program, please visit the following resources:

Are these policies applicable globally?

Microsoft lifecycle policies are worldwide policies. However, Microsoft understands that local laws, market conditions, and support requirements differ around the world and by industry sector.

Why were the Lifecycle policies defined?

Customers have asked Microsoft to be consistent and predictable. The lifecycle policies establish clear and predictable guidelines for product support and servicing timelines. The policies help customers and partners manage their support requirements. The policies also allow both product planning and information technology planning in organizations based on knowledge of the support timelines for Microsoft products.

How were the Lifecycle policies developed?

Microsoft works closely with Microsoft product teams, customers, partners, leading analysts, and research firms to determine clear and consistent policies.

If I have multiple Microsoft products do they all share the same lifecycle timelines?

Each product has its lifecycle timeline defined by its respective Lifecycle Policy and is consistent by product family for new and future versions. However, older versions of Microsoft products may have different lifecycle timelines. Therefore, it is important to verify the exact product support dates for your product. To find the support timelines for your product, please visit the Microsoft Product Lifecycle Search. Products governed by the Modern Policy will not have a published retirement date until announced.

What products are covered by the Lifecycle policies and when did they go into effect?

The Microsoft Lifecycle policies apply to commercial and some consumer products and services, excluding Xbox games.

On October 15, 2002, the Business, Developer, and Desktop Operating System Software Policy went into effect.

In January 2011, Microsoft established the Online Services Lifecycle Policy.

In August of 2016, Microsoft established the Modern Lifecycle Policy, which subsumed the Online Services Policy.

In March of 2017, Microsoft categorized the lifecycle policies for its products and services as either Fixed or Modern. The Fixed Policy subsumed the Business, Developer and Desktop Operating System Policy.

What is the Lifecycle Policy for program add-ons?

Add-ons are supported along with the product they work with. However, support may be terminated by providing a minimum of 12 months' notice.

What is the Lifecycle Policy for tools?

Tools are supported along with the product they work with. However, support may be terminated by providing a minimum of 12 months' notice.

What is the Lifecycle Policy for products or companies that Microsoft acquires?

Support and servicing timelines will vary based on the terms of the acquisition and can be found in the published servicing guidelines. For these listings, the Lifecycle Start Date is the acquisition start date. Products released before the acquisition date may not be covered under a Lifecycle policy and may not be supported. In these cases, support will be subject to the terms of the acquisition. Generally, Microsoft Lifecycle policies applies to new software releases that are released under a Microsoft brand, following the acquisition.