Act now to keep these Microsoft lifecycle milestones and enforcement dates from catching your organization by surprise.

Despite advance notice, businesses are regularly unprepared when production operating systems (OSes), applications and services experience trouble due to Microsoft suspending updates and support or enforcing patching and updating deadlines. Unplanned outages, surprise incompatibilities and new security vulnerabilities—some documented others not—frequently arise as a result of technologies approaching or entering retirement.

Don’t let your business or non-profit become a victim of aging or sunset software, the term for software and services being discontinued due to age and obsolescence. Stay current with Microsoft’s continual product lifecycles and enforcement changes to ensure your firm is not caught by surprise.

Microsoft Product Lifecycle

Microsoft maintains an extensive list of OSes, apps and services slated for retirement, including by year. The company’s online resources enable tracking Extended Security Updates and Fixed and Modern lifecycle policies, including product End of Servicing, End of Support and Retirement dates.

By Modern Policy, Microsoft means products and services supported continuously, assuming customers remain current with Microsoft’s requirements for that service or system, customers maintain the corresponding licensing and Microsoft continues offering support for that product or service. Fixed Policy, on the other hand, refers to commercial and select consumer-grade products available through retail distribution or volume licensing programs. Fixed Policy products include support and service periods defined at the product’s launch, a minimum of five years of Mainstream Support and, sometimes, Extended Support.

Note, Microsoft means very different things by End of Servicing, End of Support and Retirement. End of Servicing refers to the date when Microsoft no longer prepares quality or security updates for a product, feature or service channel. End of Support refers to the date when service and support end for a product. Retirement, meanwhile, refers to the end of availability and support for the product.

Microsoft products regularly proceed through multiple life phases, including Mainstream Support and Extended Support. Mainstream Support usually occurs the first five years of a product’s existence and includes product and feature adjustments, security updates, non-security (performance and compatibility) patches and self-help and paid support. Extended Support follows the Mainstream Support stage, when appropriate, and includes security updates, paid service programs and the ability for qualified Unified Support customers to request non-security fixes, but not for all products. Windows XP is an example of a Microsoft product that received Extended Support for a considerable period (from 2014 to 2019).

Announced Suspensions And Retirements

Chances are your organization is already impacted by Microsoft products for which support is ending in 2023 or for which support and service ended in 2022 or even 2021.

Microsoft products retired in 2022 include:

Microsoft products that reached End of Servicing in 2022 include:

Microsoft products that reached End of Support in 2022 include:

Products moved to Extended Support in 2022 include:

Microsoft product Retirements scheduled for 2023 include:

Microsoft products set to reach End of Servicing in 2023 include:

Numerous Microsoft products, some with considerable installation bases, are set to reach End of Support in 2023, including:

Several Microsoft products move to Extended Support in 2023, including:

Scheduled Enforcement Changes

In addition to these Microsoft lifecycle milestones, other enforced changes are scheduled for 2023, too. These enforcement deadlines impact organizations, too, often in surprise ways.

For example, Microsoft will begin requiring number matching for second factor Microsoft Authenticator notifications at the end of February. The retiring of Azure Active Directory Connect Sync 2.x beginning in mid-March 2023 means organizations must update to newer versions before then, while previously announced Active Directory privilege and permission security requirements take effect April 11th, as well.

Remain Current To Avoid Trouble

Staying current with the breadth and variety of Microsoft’s enforcement deadlines and lifecycle dates requires attention and organization. Without concerted effort, an organization can easily fall behind, opening opportunities for new vulnerabilities that enable systems and data corruption and even outages.

Despite advance notice and time to plan for updates and retirements, information technology professionals continue to routinely encounter outdated, sunset products in the field. Just as a mechanic who discovers a car’s engine oil is overdue for changing understandably becomes wary of other potentially neglected maintenance, so too do obsolete Microsoft products surface concerns. Often these legacy issues must be addressed—a process that can consume extended periods of time and resources until new hardware, software and licensing can be obtained and the network can be properly prepped for upgrades—before issues can be properly resolved, new apps can be installed and other improvements can be addressed.

Need Help?

If your organization needs assistance, contact Louisville Geek’s IT professionals. We specialize in assisting clients in taking inventory, performing technology assessments, making appropriate recommendations and addressing potential problems using a measured, systematic approach. Put us to work. Contact Louisville Geek here or call 502-897-7577.