Lifecycle and Licensing FAQ

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1. Does the Windows Desktop Product Lifecycle Policy affect how long I can legally use a Microsoft operating system after I've licensed it?

No, this policy only affects the ability to obtain new licenses through certain channels, the time period and the way that Microsoft will provide product support for each operating system. The ability to use a Windows desktop operating system after it has been legally licensed is unaffected. However, the longer an operating system is used, the more likely it is that you may not be able to take advantage of software and hardware advances that become available in personal computers, devices, and software applications.

2. If I have a significant business requirement to continue deploying a Windows desktop operating system after the end of broad scale availability (removal from direct OEM, authorized OEM distributor, and retail channels), what should I do?

Microsoft Volume Licensing allows downgrade rights to operating system products under Volume Licensing 6.0. Volume Licensing customers who license Windows XP Professional have full downgrade rights to Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 98, and Windows 95. Media will continue to be available through Worldwide Volume Licensing Fulfillment just as it was before the lifecycle announcements. Media preloaded onto computers will also continue to be available from certain authorized OEM distributors. Premier Support customers will also continue to be offered professional services and technical expertise to help maximize business value and minimize total cost of ownership of the affected Microsoft products. This commitment to continue to support the affected products continues through the end of the extended phase of the Lifecycle Policy.

3. How does Microsoft reconcile the fact that Windows 2000 Professional has extended availability until at least December 31, 2003, and yet Volume Licensing 6.0 states that customers can only license Windows XP Professional beginning November 1, 2001?

Microsoft has worked diligently to make sure that its Volume Licensing program and the Product Lifecycle Policy work together effectively from a customer standpoint. Toward that end, Microsoft's Volume Licensing program publishes only the most current desktop operating system upgrades on its price lists. For example, as of November 1, 2001, only Windows XP Professional upgrade was listed. However, earlier versions of Windows remain available to Volume Licensing program participants because Volume Licensing allows for downgrading to Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0, Windows 95, or Windows 98 from a Windows XP Professional upgrade license. Additionally, customers can continue to purchase other products through non-volume licensing channels.

4. As a Volume Licensing customer, how do I obtain Windows operating system media when the product is no longer available from authorized OEM or retail channels?

Microsoft will continue to provide media through the Worldwide Fulfillment program during the extended phase of the Lifecycle Policy. To request a product, visit the Contact Microsoft Web site.

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Last Review : January 15, 2015