Microsoft has announced a revision to the Support Lifecycle Service Pack Support Policy, to provide customers with additional support options while they migrate to a supported Service Pack.
Under the former policy, when a Service Pack reached the end of support, customers were unable to receive troubleshooting help from Microsoft Customer Service and Support. That meant that customers could no longer receive assisted telephone support or support via web or email. Customers needing assistance were asked to upgrade to a supported service pack before being eligible to receive any assistance.
Effective April 13, 2010, the Service Pack Support Policy provides Microsoft customers with more options and flexibility by offering limited troubleshooting on unsupported service pack versions. The updated Service Pack Support policy enables customers to obtain support as follows:
· Limited troubleshooting during break/fix support incidents will be provided through Microsoft Customer Service and Support; and through Microsoft’s managed support offerings (such as Premier Support).
· There will be no option to engage Microsoft’s product development resources, and technical workarounds may be limited or not possible
· If the support incident requires escalation to development for further guidance, requires a hotfix, or requires a security update, customers will still be asked to upgrade to a supported Service Pack.
There are also a number of key aspects that have not changed in this policy revision:
· Microsoft will publish specific support timelines for a previous Service Pack when the new Service Pack is released.
· When a new Service Pack is released, Microsoft will provide either 12 or 24 months of support for the previous Service Pack, varying according to the product family but remaining consistent within that family.
· When support for a Service Pack ends, Microsoft will no longer provide new security updates, hotfixes or other updates for that Service Pack.
· When support for a product ends, support of the Service Packs for that product will also end. The product’s support lifecycle supersedes the Service Pack support policy.
This policy revision is designed to offer customers limited diagnostic troubleshooting on break/fix issues while upgrading to a supported service pack – whereas previously this was not possible. Customers are still highly encouraged to complete deployment of a supported Service Pack prior to the expiration of support for the previous Service Pack, to ensure they are on the latest and most secure version of their product. Staying on a supported Service Pack enables customers to have continued access to security updates and the ability to escalate support issues within Microsoft.
For customers who require additional support options when operating with an unsupported Service Pack, we recommend taking out a Custom Support Agreement until the upgrade to a supported Service Pack is complete. Custom Support offers much more than limited troubleshooting – it offers continued access to product development and security hotfixes for an unsupported Service Pack.
For more information on the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, visit http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle.
You can directly access a list of all Microsoft Support Lifecycle announcements at http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/default.aspx?cid=C_28645.
The April 2010 Service Pack Support Policy revision announcement is available at http://support.microsoft.com/gp/newsplifecycle.
The MSL team maintain a blog at http://blogs.technet.com/lifecycle/ and this announcement was discussed at http://blogs.technet.com/lifecycle/archive/2010/04/13/end-of-support-for-windows-vista-rtm-and-recent-service-pack-support-policy-updates.aspx.