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Windows Life-Cycle Policy

Published: October 15, 2002 | Updated: December 22, 2005
Windows life-cycle policy

On October 15, 2002 Microsoft announced a new support life-cycle policy. This consistent and predictable policy is designed to standardize support guidelines across product lines and will cover most products currently available via retail purchase or volume licensing and future release products.

Product life-cycle policies provide advanced notification of planned changes in product availability and support. This information helps customers and partners with product planning and information technology decisions.

The links on this page provide access to specific information about Windows products.

Product Life-Cycle Information for:

Windows 2000 Server

Internet Explorer

Windows Media Player 9 Series

Windows Embedded

Windows Lifecycle FAQ

Windows Desktop License Availability

Under the Support Lifecycle policy Windows desktop licenses are available for four years after general availability in all standard product distribution channels (e.g. direct OEM, System Builders, retail, and Volume Licensing programs via licenses or via downgrade rights). Licenses will continue to be available through downgrade rights available in Volume Licensing programs after end of general availability.

License Availability Roadmap

Desktop Operating SystemsDate of General AvailabilityDirect OEM and Retail License Availability (end date)System Builder License Availability (end date)

MS DOS 6.xx

June 1, 1994

November 30, 2001

November 30, 2001

Windows 95

August 15, 1995

December 31, 2000

December 31, 2001

Windows NT Workstation 4.xx

July 29, 1996

June 30, 2002

June 30, 2003

Windows 98

June 30, 1998

June 30, 2002

November 30, 20031

Windows 98 SE

June 30, 1999

June 30, 2002

March 31, 20041

Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me)

December 31, 2000

December 31, 2003

June 30, 2004

Windows 2000 Professional

March 31, 2000

March 31, 2004

March 31, 2005

Windows XP Professional

December 31, 2001

Through the launch of Windows Vista2

Through the launch of Windows Vista2

Windows XP Home Edition

December 31, 2001

Through the launch of Windows Vista2

Through the launch of Windows Vista2

1In the US and Canada only System Builder License Availability end dates are June 30th 2003 for Windows 98 and September 30th 2003 for Windows 98 SE.
2Dates are currently under review. Microsoft will publish new end dates for Windows XP availability in early 2006.

Windows Service Pack Roadmap

Microsoft continually works to improve its software. As part of this effort, we develop updates and fixes to recognized issues and release them for customers. On a regular basis, we combine many of these fixes into a single package and make the package available for installation. These packages are called Service Packs. Based on feedback from customers and partners Microsoft is committed to providing a 12 month roadmap of upcoming service packs and security rollup packages on the Windows Service Pack Roadmap Web page. Visit the Supported Service Pack list to find the support timelines for a particular product’s service pack.

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