End of Life for Microsoft XP, Office 2003 & SBS 2003

Why is Microsoft ending support for Windows XP & Office 2003?

Windows XP, Office 2003, small business server 2003 end of life


In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level.

Thus, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.

What does end of support mean to customers?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.

How do I begin my migration?

Enterprise Customers: Microsoft offers large organizations in-depth technical resources, tools, and expert guidance to ease the deployment and management of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer products and technologies. To learn more about migration and deployment programs, please contact Sentinel who are a Certified Microsoft Partner. Learn how to pilot and deploy a modern desktop yourself, download the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and begin your deployment today.

Small to Medium Business: There are many options for small and medium businesses considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. Small to mid-size organizations should contact Sentinel who are a  local Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet their business needs. If your current PC meets the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can buy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro Sentinel who are a Microsoft Certified Partner. If your PC does not meet system requirements, consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 8 Pro.

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If you’re a company still using Small Business Server 2003 then it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to discuss your options since Microsoft will actually be stopping the support and updates for SBS 2003 by the end of 2013.

So what does this mean for your SBS Server? Well other than SBS 2003, the other SBS versions will still work, be supported and updated by Microsoft for some years. However, SBS 2003 will certainly need to be upgraded to a newer version on newer hardware to prevent your data becoming at risk from hackers and the many other threats that could seriously disrupt if not bring down your business. This is unfortunately a must.

If you do not know which version you are running, give us a call on 01772 673087 or fill in our call back request form and we can help identify which one you are currently running on your network.

A good rule of thumb is if your server is more than 5-6 years old, chances are it’s running SBS 2003.

It is important that companies running Small Business Server 2003 consider their options for upgrading before Microsoft axe sales of SBS 2011 in December 2013.

In some cases it is more beneficial and cost effective for companies to continue with the SBS rage than upgrading to Server 2012 and a hosted Office 365 solution.

Cloud & Office 365

Sentinel IT Services has been accepted in Microsoft’s partner program as a Cloud Essential partner. This means that we will be able to offer our customers an even better service related to Microsoft’s cloud based products such as Office 365 and provide a range of hosted solutions to help your business benefit from all the cloud has to offer, for a small monthly cost.

Office Web Apps

  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
  • Windows Server Active Directory
  • SQL Azure
  • Windows Azure Platform Appliance
  • Windows Azure
  • SharePoint Online
  • Office Live Meeting
  • Windows Intune
  • Skydrive


What is Office 365 & cloud computing?

There are many different forms and definitions of cloud computing. In simple terms it is a model of computing which means all of your software and resources – so email, Microsoft Office, access to your business files – are web based. You can then access everything you need wherever and whenever you want.

Office 365 – learn more

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

Our cloud customers choose the service for the cost savings it provides them and the flexibility it offers. As you are effectively renting these services it can be much more cost-effective, particularly for smaller businesses. And you also have the flexibility to add and remove software and the number of users whenever you like. You can work as if you are in the office from anywhere you have a system and access to the internet.

In summary, cloud computing offers:

  • All the benefits of traditional IT systems, but at a fraction of the cost
  • Flexible working with access to all your systems and data from anywhere you have an internet connection
  • Quickly scalable to meet your business’ needs


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