Windows Server 2012 Support Extended by Microsoft

Microsoft announced it's extending supported use of Windows Server 2012 by about nine months, publishing new end-of-support dates.

Modified end dates were announced for "mainstream support" and "extended support" cycles for Windows Server 2012 (Microsoft's lifecycle support policy has two five-year phases for Windows products). The extended support date is a key one to note in Microsoft's policy because Microsoft will stop delivering security patches after that date, deeming the product to be "unsupported." A server then becomes a potential security risk for organizations if not upgraded or replaced.

The new end-of-extended support date for Windows Server 2012 is Oct. 10, 2023, according to Microsoft's newly updated product lifecycle page. The original date had been Jan. 10, 2023.

In essence, Microsoft just extended the life of Windows Server 2012 by about nine months.

The policy change was announced at the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy portal in this article, which bears a date of March 14, 2017. The announcement suggested that the release date of Windows Server 2016 had required that the support lifecycle of Windows Server 2012 be extended.

It might not seem to make sense that a subsequently released product would affect the product lifecycle support of an earlier product, but it does, per Microsoft's support policy. This concept is summed up in the announcement's second paragraph:

The Lifecycle Policy for Windows Server 2012 states that Mainstream Support will be provided for five years, or for two years after the successor product (N+1, where N=product version) is released, whichever is longer. Microsoft will also provide Extended Support for the five years following Mainstream Support or for two years after the second successor product (N+2) is released, whichever is longer.

Microsoft's first successor product to Windows Server 2012 was Windows Server 2012 R2, which was released on Oct. 18, 2013. The second successor product was Windows Server 2016, released on Oct. 12, 2016.

Two years after the release of Windows Server 2016 would be Oct. 12, 2018, so it seems that Microsoft went by the "longer" date. The original longer date was Jan. 10, 2023 for extended support, but Microsoft now tells us it's Oct. 10, 2023 instead, per its calculations.

Possibly, Microsoft waited to disclose these details so long after the release of Windows Server 2016 because it is now signaling that Windows Server 2012 won't be getting future service packs. The announcement doesn't state that, though.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.