Microsoft Consumer Hardware Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ

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NOTE: This FAQ was updated on November 10, 2014 for simplification, clarification, and formatting.

Effective October 26th, 2012 Microsoft established a comprehensive Consumer Hardware Support Lifecycle Policy. In addition to previously supported hardware such as mice and keyboards, the new policy has been expanded to include Surface Devices, Xbox and Kinect. Under this policy, Microsoft offers support for its consumer hardware product for a minimum of 4 years from the first date of general availability. This period may vary by local jurisdiction and laws. All consumer hardware products released prior to October 26th, 2012 will remain supported under the terms of the original Support Lifecycle policy.

1. What’s the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for the Microsoft software of hardware devices? Why do Microsoft hardware devices have a different lifecycle policy from the software lifecycle support policy?

The lifecycle policy for the software that is built into (“embedded”) or is necessary for the use of the device, such as firmware and drivers, follows the Microsoft Hardware Support Lifecycle policy. This policy is different than the software lifecycle support policy because:

  • The hardware and embedded software are functionally dependent and can’t work separately from one another;
  • Issues with embedded software are invisible to customers and are not supported separately; and
  • If the product is returned, it typically will go through a hardware repair / exchange process.

Software that is installable onto a hardware device, such as the Windows Operating System running on a Surface device, follows the software lifecycle support policy.

2. What is the support lifecycle policy for subscription services that are part of the device ecosystem, such as Xbox LIVE and Xbox Music?

Customers receive support, updates, and new versions of subscription services for as long as they pay for the service. If a customer’s subscription ends, that customer is not entitled to further use of or product support for that service.

3. What is the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for software applications that run on a hardware device, such as downloadable apps?

Downloadable applications should be supported by the publisher. Redistributed applications, such as the Netflix application in Xbox, are also supported by the publisher.

4. What is the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy for other Microsoft software products or applications that are offered as part of the hardware ecosystem? Are they covered by the Support Lifecycle policy?

Any Microsoft software installed or downloaded on the device (not embedded) is governed by the Support Lifecycle policy for that software product.

5. How does the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy affect the product warranty?

Microsoft product warranties and extended service plans (if available) are independent from the Support Lifecycle policy for hardware. Microsoft will honor its warranties and service plans, regardless of the support lifecycle end date (for example, if a product is sold at the end of the support lifecycle period and the term of the warranty or extended service plan extends beyond that period, then Microsoft will honor that warranty or extended service plan).

6. How will the Support Lifecycle policy affect out of warranty coverage for Surface devices?

The Support Lifecycle policy for hardware applies only to the Surface hardware (and as stated above not the Surface software). For Surface devices, that policy affects only the tablet device and hardware based accessories. This policy does not apply to soft-good accessories, such as cases.

7. Is the Support Lifecycle policy period of 4 years from commercial launch applicable for every country?

No. There is a continuum of legal requirements for end of life support. Some countries require no designated end of life support period, and others require end of life support for more than 4 years. The policy takes this into account and specifies that coverage can vary under local law. Microsoft is building flexibility into our sales and support systems to reflect this variance between countries.

8. How does this policy apply to hardware products made by other companies but sold by Microsoft?

Third party consumer hardware products sold and/or distributed by Microsoft and/or used with Microsoft products are not included in this Support Lifecycle Policy for Consumer Hardware.

9. What Phases of support apply to Microsoft Hardware?

Microsoft offers Mainstream Support and Self-Help Online Support under the Consumer Hardware policy. Microsoft does not offer Extended Support for its consumer hardware products. See the table below for additional details.

Phases of the Support Lifecycle for Consumer Hardware

Type of supportMainstream support phaseSelf-help online support
Hardware RepairHardware repairs or replacements and parts are available throughout the support lifecycle. Services are free for products under warranty and available for a fee for products out of warrantyAccess to freely available online content, such as Knowledge Base articles, online product information, and online support
Paid and Online SupportAvailable, fees may apply, see phone support and online support for options
Software and Security UpdatesUpdates are available for the software that is built into (“embedded”) or is necessary for the use of the device, such as firmware and drivers.

Software that is installable onto a hardware device, such as the Windows Operating System running on a Surface device, follows the software lifecycle support policy.
Last Review : January 23, 2015