Courtesy: The H
As previously announced, support for a number of Microsoft products expires on the 13th of July, 2010. Affected products include all versions of Windows 2000 – meaning server versions as well as Windows 2000 Professional. After this date, Microsoft will no longer fix even critical security vulnerabilities, but will merely maintain its knowledge base as an online help resource.
Support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (32-bit) will also expire on the 13th of July. Microsoft usually supports Service Packs for up to 12 months after the release of their respective successors, however, due to customer demand Microsoft extended this to 24 months for Windows XP SP2. This does not, however, relate to support for the operating system itself, which will run until 2014 (longer than for some versions of Vista). However, after the 13th of July Microsoft will only support XP users who have installed Service Pack 3.
The initial support phase for all versions of Windows Server 2003 also comes to an end on the 13th of July, and it will then enter the second support phase, in which Microsoft will only release free patches for security vulnerabilities which the company classifies as critical. This second phase expires on the 14th of July, 2015.
Microsoft has been guaranteeing defined support periods for its operating systems for several years. The company offers ‘mainstream support’ for five years, or for up to two years after the appearance of a successor product. During this initial support period, it offers free security updates and accepts technical enquiries (in some cases on a paid-for basis) as well as requests for non-security related hotfixes.
In the subsequent ‘extended support’ phase, which has the same duration as the mainstream support phase, only patches which fix security vulnerabilities classified by Microsoft as critical are made available free-of-charge, with other updates being provided on a paid-for basis. However, this second support phase only applies to business and developer products. Extended support is also currently being provided for Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Media Center Edition, despite their being aimed at home users.