While Microsoft Corp.s Windows team is laser-focused on Longhorn, many Windows users are more concerned with older versions of Windows, for which the support-clock is ticking away.
Extended support from Microsoft for Windows NT 4.0 ended on December 30, 2004, and the Redmond, Wash., software maker is set to phase out mainstream support for its Windows 2000 client and server releases on June 30.
Microsoft divides its support lifecycle into two phases: Mainstream and extended. Once a product enters the extended support period, Microsoft charges for support. Microsoft continues to provide security-specific hot fixes for products during extended support, but nonsecurity hot fixes may be obtained for extended-support products only by purchasing an “extended hot-fix agreement.”
Windows 2000 is still the operating system of choice for a number of businesses, especially those in the small and midsize business space, according to industry watchers.
Late last year, Microsoft said it planned to provide a primarily security-focused “update rollup” for Windows 2000 in lieu of issuing a Service Pack 5 for the product. Microsoft officials said the rollup is on track for delivery in mid-2005, but declined to provide further information on the beta stage that the rollup is in. The rollup will require Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 as a prerequisite.
A Microsoft spokesperson would not comment on whether the rollup will be available before June 30 or not.
“The Update Rollup will contain all security-related updates produced for Windows 2000 between SP4 and the time when Microsoft finalizes the contents of the Rollup, and a small number of important non-security updates. Its designed to make it easy to keep Windows 2000 systems up to date with security updates and other important updates,” the spokesperson said.