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Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!

The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users

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With the not-quite-panic over the end of support for Windows XP behind us, you'd think it's a time to chill out for a bit.

Not quite, and especially not if you're still using Windows Server 2003 R2: Microsoft's product lifecycle advisories suggest support for that operating system expires on July 14th, 2015. Which is 450 days from today, Sunday the 20th of April 2014.

Standard, Enterprise and Datacentre editions of the operating system, in 32-and-64-bit versions, will receive only Redmond's cold shoulder from that not-so-far-off date.

The obsolescence of Windows Server 2003 won't be as big a deal as the death of XP, for two reasons.

The first is that servers tend to be be upgraded more often than PCs, because the former are cared for by knowledgeable and skilful Reg-reading types who understand the need to migrate from decade-old operating systems and have therefore probably already made the move. Most PCs, by contrast, are in the hands of amateurs.

The second is that there are many fewer servers than PCs. Gartner estimates that 2,581,723 servers shipped in 2013's 4th quarter. Let's be kind and assume that 70 per cent of the servers sold in Windows Server 2003's fat years – 2003 to 2007 – are still running. Let's also assume that the 2.5m servers per quarter sales rate holds, to give us a possible 35 million Windows Server 2003R2 boxen out there.

That's still a lot, but also a lot fewer potentially-troubled servers to deal with than PCs were impacted by Windows XP's demise.

Sorry if this story ruins your Easter, by the way. In our defence we have given you lots of warning. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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