"Will you answer questions on any Microsoft product? How long do you [I assume she means Microsoft] support the products?"
Sure, I’ll try to provide answers and of resources available for the product line. This is not a replacement for our support system for products that are currently supported (aka in mainstream support) — which I might add is really an incredible machine when you consider the breadth. It’s more of an attempts to cover all of our various products and provide information of where you can get support, such as assisted support, updates, hotfixes and more.
First there’s "mainstream support." What’s that? Glad you asked.
For all products, the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy begins with the Mainstream Support phase. In this phase, we are able to provide all of the standard support services that Microsoft offers. For example, in-the-box support, paid incident support, design change requests, non-security hotfixes, security updates and online self-help support may all be available during the Mainstream Support phase.
Consumer products that are released annually are provided a total of 3 years of Mainstream Support. Some examples of these are Microsoft Money, Encarta, Streets & Trips, etc.
For the rest of Consumer, Hardware and Business & Developer products, the Mainstream Support phase is provided for a minimum of 5 years or 2 years after the successor product is released, whichever is longer.
At the end of the Mainstream Support phase, support for Consumer products comes to an end. Business & Developer products, on the other hand, are provided a minimum of another 5 years of support in the Extended Support phase.
When it comes to direct customer support, your options may vary. For example, support for our Windows is available to users directly )phone, email) from Microsoft for the first 90 days at no charge, but your computer OEM (aka Original Equipment Manufacturer) – the likes of Acer, Asus, Dell HP, Gateway, Panasonic and more – may offer a year of free support (or more!) through their support lines. Users of products like Microsoft Office get the first 90 days of support for free, too. YMMV depending on the product.
There are also our free support forums (like Microsoft Answers, metioned yesterday), a community-based support site where you can ask and answer questions, or just browse other’s answers.
Then there’s Extended Support, as Jared discussed in his post on the end of support for Windows 2000 and Extended Support phase transition for Windows Server 2003. (This support extends primarily to business customers that license our software directly.)
If you missed my last post, we recently discussed the upcoming end of support for Windows Vista with no service packs installed and Windows XP SP2. In a similar vein, in this post I want to discuss support transitions that will primarily impact our enterprise customers.
First, let’s discuss the upcoming changes for Windows 2000. All editions of Windows 2000 will reach the end of the Extended Support phase on July 13, 2010. This will be the end of support for Windows 2000.
As you may recall, at the end of the Extended Support phase, Business & Developer products are no longer publicly supported, although Self-Help Online support (such as Microsoft online Knowledge Base articles, FAQs, troubleshooting tools, and other resources) will be available for a minimum of 12 months after the product reaches the end of its support. This means that there is no more paid support, no support assistance and no further security updates. Due to this, customers are highly encouraged to move to a supported product as soon as possible.
After Extended support, Microsoft offers custom support that "may include assisted support and hotfix support, and may extend beyond 10 years from the date a product becomes generally available. Strategic Microsoft partners may also offer support beyond the Extended Support phase. Customers and partners can contact their account team or their local Microsoft representative for more information."
For more on this and the support options, visit the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ page.
Also available at http://bit.ly/9Ed8Lb (030210: corrected link)