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NOTE: This FAQ was updated on September 3, 2015, adding additional Windows versions that include the VB6 runtime (Question 7).
1. What is the Support Lifecycle policy for the Microsoft Silverlight product?
Due to the way Microsoft Silverlight is released it does not take a Support Lifecycle typical of many Microsoft products and, for clarification purposes, is defined as a tool.
A tool is defined as a utility or feature that aids in accomplishing a discrete task or a limited set of tasks. Major tool versions receive a minimum of 12 months notification prior to the end of support. Otherwise, support ends at the same time as the product versions for which they are intended (for example, Microsoft Windows).
Note: Some tools may receive security updates or feature enhancements. Customers may be required to install the latest update of the supported tool’s major version to receive support.
Microsoft will continue to support Silverlight by shipping updates to the latest version of both Silverlight runtime and Silverlight SDK. Updates and new versions of the Silverlight runtime are backward compatible with web applications built in previous versions of Silverlight and will include the latest security enhancements, performance improvements, and product fixes.
2. What version of Silverlight is currently supported?
Microsoft will provide technical assistance, paid and unpaid, for customers using versions of Silverlight 5. Paid technical assistance is available to customers requiring support with issues beyond install and upgrade issues. Microsoft will continue to ship updates to the Silverlight 5 runtime or Silverlight 5 SDK for existing and newer browser versions given that their extensibility model supports plug-ins, including updates for security vulnerabilities as determined by the MSRC. Developers using the Silverlight 5 development tools and developing applications for Silverlight 5 can use paid technical assistance options to receive development support.
Silverlight 5 will support the browser versions listed on this page through October 12, 2021, or though the support lifecycle of the underlying browsers, whichever is shorter. As browsers evolve, the support page will be updated to reflect levels of compatibility with newer browser versions.
3. What is the lifecycle policy for Visual Studio?
Visual Studio follows the established Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy of a minimum of 5 years Mainstream Support and a minimum of 5 years Extended Support. Details are described here. Online services that are offered as part of the Visual Studio suite of products will follow the established Online Services policy found here.
Servicing for the Visual Studio family of products and tools, starting with Visual Studio 2012, is primarily performed via a cumulative update mechanism called "VS Update." More details can be found on the Visual Studio Servicing website.
4. What lifecycle policy do external components follow that are offered within the Visual Studio suite?
For Visual Studio 2013 or for later versions, the external components are governed by a different lifecycle policy. Visual Studio includes a collection of compilers, languages, runtimes, environments, and other resources that enable development for many Microsoft platforms. As a convenience to our Visual Studio customers, Visual Studio may install certain Microsoft SDKs and other Microsoft components that target and support those Microsoft platforms. These components may be licensed and supported under their own terms and policies. The Microsoft platform components in the list posted on the Visual Studio website that may be included with Visual Studio 2013, depending on the specific edition of the Visual Studio 2013 software, are subject to their own support policies and timeframes.
5. What is the support lifecycle policy for Visual Studio 2012 Update 4:
VS 2012 Update 4 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Visual Studio 2012 with support ending January 10, 2023. Visual Studio 2012 customers will have 12 months to move to Update 4 from VS 2012 RTM and previous VS 2012 updates after the General Availability of the Update 4 in order to remain supported. See the lifecycle website for the support dates for VS 2012 RTM and for VS 2012 Update 4.
6. Why are you requiring Visual Studio 2012 customers move to Visual Studio 2012 Update 4 one year after the General Availability?
With the establishment of Visual Studio quarterly releases, which deliver ongoing updates and enhancements, there will not be future Visual Studio Service Pack releases. Instead we are applying our Service Pack policy to Visual Studio 2012 Update 4 to ensure customers are kept up to date on current fixes and take advantage of the latest features. Historically, we have a similar support approach related to Visual Studio service packs; when a Visual Studio service pack was released, Microsoft provided customers 12 months of support for the prior service pack or original RTM version.
7. What lifecycle support policy does Visual Basic 6.0 follow?
Microsoft is committed to support existing Visual Basic 6.0 applications running on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 including R2, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.x, and Windows 10. As detailed here, the core Visual Basic 6.0 runtime will be supported for the full lifetime of Windows operating system with which it shipped for serious regressions and critical security issues.
Visual Basic 6.0 is made up of these key deliverables:
- Visual Basic 6.0 IDE [Integrated Development Environment] is no longer supported as of April 8, 2008.
- Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime -- the base libraries and execution engine used to run VB6 applications.
- Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files – select ActiveX control OCX files, libraries, and tools shipping with the IDE media and as an online release.