Feeds

Microsoft extends legacy products support

Forward looking statement

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft is breathing more life into older versions of its products by offering businesses extended coverage for fixing security problems and bugs.

Large companies running old favorites Windows NT 4.0, Exchange Server 5.5 and Windows XP Service Pack 1 can expect at least three more years of support from Microsoft after it decided to update the Custom Support Agreement (CSA) program. There is even the suggestion support will go beyond three years.

Microsoft said it is updating CSA to help as customers migrate to newer versions of its products. This is the latest wrinkle to the Microsoft product lifecycle program introduced in 2002 and revised in 2004 to extend product support from seven to 10 years. Microsoft has also made more minor tweaks along the way such as January 2006 when it pledged to wait until regularly scheduled monthly security updates have been released to end support cycles rather than ending support at the close of a month or quarter.

CSA itself was introduced two years ago to extend Microsoft's existing product support lifecycle. Under this lifecycle, customers get free security updates and non-security hot fixes for five years after their product shipped and for a further two years after its successor has shipped under "mainstream support."

After that, customers only get security updates and pay for other updates for a further five years after the original product shipped under "extended support." After 10 years, you're on your own, as Microsoft provides internet-only support.

Windows NT 4.0 and Exchange 5.5, launched in 1996 and 1997, have already left mainstream support. Windows XP SP 1, which appeared in September 2002, is due to expire next month - thanks to the licensing intricacies associated with SPs.

Updates to Microsoft's support terms should come as little surprise, as big customers have proved notoriously slow to move to new versions of Microsoft's software. Gartner found in early 2005 that 61 per cent of US and 36 per cent of European companies had migrated to Windows XP SP 2, which shipped in September 2004. Microsoft has also had a hard time convincing users to adopt newer versions of Exchange Server.

The latest updates will see Microsoft proactively provide security hotfixes for "critical and important" vulnerabilities and let customers request non-security hotfixes for new bugs for an additional fee. CSA will be charged per device rather than use a flat fee.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.