Microsoft Mainstream vs Extended Support.


Compare Microsoft mainstream and extended support. Microsoft mainstream support starts at product release. MS extended support adds 5 years and includes security fixes but not new features.
Microsoft Mainstream vs Extended Support

What does Microsoft mainstream support mean?

Mainstream Support is the first phase of the Microsoft software product lifecycle and lasts 5 years. At the supported service pack level, Mainstream Support for products and services includes:
  • Incident support (no-charge incident support, paid incident support, support charged on an hourly basis, support for warranty claims)
  • Security update support
  • The ability to request non-security updates

Incident support benefits included with license, licensing programs (such as Software Assurance or Visual Studio subscriptions) or other no-charge support programs are only available during the Mainstream Support phase.

Enrollment in a maintenance program may be required to receive these benefits for certain products.

Mainstream Support is typically in effect for the first 5 years of a product’s life. During Mainstream Support, Microsoft provides new releases, updates, services packs, builds, fixes, and patches in order to enhance a product’s security and reliability, close vulnerabilities, and fix problems.

Microsoft also provides non-security updates that enhance a product’s design or functionality, accepts requests for feature or design change, and honors warranty claims.

Support channels and lengths vary, but most of the gratis technical support is self-service via Microsoft’s online resources. Diagnostic tools may be available for some MS software products, and paid support providing more extensive help is also available.

Microsoft mainstream support meaning

Microsoft extended support meaning

What does Microsoft extended support mean?

The Extended Support phase follows Mainstream Support in the Microsoft software product lifecycle. At the supported service pack level, Extended Support includes:
  • No new features are added
  • Complimentary support is not available
  • Non-security fixes are available only if Extended Hotfix Support is purchased
  • Security fixes are available just like Mainstream Support

After the 5-year mainstream support, a new period calledExtended Support starts. During the extended support, Microsoft still provides all security updates. However, unlike mainstream support, product design change or new feature addition requests are not accepted and complimentary support is not provided.

Extended Support typically lasts 5 years after the end of Mainstream Support. During Extended Support, Microsoft continues to provide security and reliability software updates, and bug fixes, but non-security updates are not provided without a paid support agreement.

During Extended Support, Microsoft will not accept requests for new software features, product design changes, or honor warranty claims.

Online self-service technical support is available via Microsoft’s gated resources for at least 12 months after Extended Support has ended for a product. Paid Microsoft support is also available.

Microsoft mainstream vs extended differences

Here are the differences between mainstream and extended support in the Microsoft software lifecycle.
Microsoft Support
Beyond End
of Support
Design or feature change request Yes No No
Security updates Yes Yes Yes – Extended Security Updates (ESU)
Self-help support Yes Yes Yes
Paid support Yes Yes Yes
Third-party support Yes Yes Yes

Microsoft mainstream vs extended support differences

Cost of Microsoft mainstream vs extended support

What’s the cost of mainstream vs extended support?

Mainstream support’s cost is built into the Microsoft software for the first 5 years so it is free. Extended support is also included in the Microsoft software for an additional 5 years (no new features) and includes security updates.

You may extend support of your enterprise Microsoft software 3 years beyond the 10 years of Mainstream/Extended with Extended Security Updates (ESU) from Microsoft and third-party Microsoft enterprise support services.

Third-party Microsoft support allows you  extend the life of Microsoft assets by avoiding Microsoft-dictated upgrades and migrations just to stay fully support.  Enterprises typically save 30-50% compared to Microsoft Unified Support.

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