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Windows Desktop Product Lifecycle Guidelines
Support and Availability Guidelines for Businesses

Helpful Links:

Microsoft Support Knowledge Base
Windows Home Page

Product Lifecycle Guidelines:

Microsoft® Windows® Desktop Product Lifecycle Guidelines provide advanced notification of planned changes in Windows desktop operating system availability and support. This information will assist customers and partners with product planning and information technology decisions. Under the Product Lifecycle Guidelines, Microsoft plans to make Windows desktop operating system licenses available for purchase for a minimum of five years and assisted support offerings available for four years. However, during these periods, Windows desktop product availability and assisted support will move through the Product Lifecycle Phases identified below.


Product Lifecycle Phases:

Mainstream Phase: Three years after general availability.

Licenses available in all standard product distribution channels (e.g. direct OEM, authorized OEM distributors, retail, and Volume Licensing programs via licenses or via downgrade rights*).
Standard support offerings available (e.g. Premier Support, incident support (per warranty), hotfix support**, online support information, etc.).
Extended Phase: Between three and four years after general availability.

Licenses only available in the authorized OEM distribution channel and through downgrade rights available in Volume Licensing programs*.
In addition to Premier Support, paid incident support, paid hotfix support**, and online support information will be available.
Non-Supported Phase: After four years of general availability.

Licenses will continue to be available in the authorized OEM distribution channel and through downgrade rights available in Volume Licensing programs*.
Online support information will continue to be available.
Microsoft may terminate this phase after providing 12 months advanced notice.


Product Lifecycle Roadmap:

Applying the Product Lifecycle Guidelines to our current Windows desktop operating systems, the following products are scheduled to transition between December 31, 2000 and December 31, 2002.

Desktop operating systems entering Extended phase (effective date):

Windows 95 (December 31, 2000)*
Windows 98 / 98 SE (June 30, 2002)*
Windows NT 4.xx (June 30, 2002)
Windows 2000 (March 31, 2003)
Desktop operating systems entering Non-Supported phase (effective date):

MS DOS x.xx (December 31, 2001)
Windows 3.xx (December 31, 2001)
Windows 95 (November 30, 2001) ***
Windows NT 3.5x (December 31, 2001)
Windows 98/98 SE (June 30, 2003)*
Windows NT 4.xx (June 30, 2003)
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2001-12-8 -04:00
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