We all remember the warnings and confusion around the end-of-support for Windows XP in April. But support is ending or changing for other Microsoft products, too.

By the end of the year, you will have to pay for support for a whole list of products — and  support for other products will end completely.

What it Means

The end of support does not mean the end of life. It just means that as of a given date, Microsoft will no longer provide patches or security updates. Basically, you and your systems will be on your own.

If that sounds scary in the current environment… well it is, if you don’t prepare for it. However, in this case what is being terminated is mainstream support for a long list of products and services packs.

Some products will be moving to Extended Support in the next six months. Extended Support lasts for five years and includes security updates at no cost, as well as paid hotfix support. Additionally, Microsoft will not accept requests for design changes or new features during the Extended Support phase.

The bottom line here is that users get free security fixes, but other types of updates will have a charge and require specific licensing deals.

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And There is More

On top of this, there will be a substantial list of products that will be moving from extended support to end of support: no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. Noteworthy here is Windows Server 2003, which will no long be supported as of next year.

Whether or not Microsoft decides to prolong the support date for the most popular products remains to be seen, but support issues around Windows 7 is going to impact on a lot of enterprises that are still using it.

It should also be pointed out that it takes 200 days to migrate from one server to another, according to Microsoft, which is approximately six months, or just about the time that support programs change or run out for many users. It’s time to start planning.