Users Urged to Upgrade for Continued Security and Support
In a significant development, Microsoft has officially terminated support for Windows Server 2012 and various editions of Windows 11, version 21H2, effective this month’s Patch Tuesday. This decision means that Microsoft will no longer offer technical assistance, bug fixes, or support for these operating systems, leaving users to face potential security vulnerabilities.
Microsoft’s announcement comes after several reminders throughout the year, informing customers that support for these versions would cease on October 10, 2023. Despite mainstream support for Windows Server 2012 ending more than four years ago in October 2018, Microsoft extended the end date for extended support to allow users additional time to transition to newer, supported versions of Windows Server.
For administrators who wish to continue receiving essential bug fixes and security updates for their on-premises Windows Server 2012 servers, Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows Server 2022 or acquiring Extended Security Updates (ESUs). These ESUs provide an extension of up to three years for security updates, renewable annually until October 13, 2026.
In a related development, Microsoft has initiated automated updates for Windows 11 21H2 systems. These systems will be automatically upgraded to Windows 11 22H2 to ensure they remain secure and productive as they approach the end of their service life.
While these automated updates will not automatically restart users’ devices, Microsoft has provided the flexibility for users to select a suitable time for their device to complete the Windows 11 2022 update installation process.
Microsoft began the automated upgrade process for Windows 11 21H2 in January, following a phased rollout approach. The rollout initiated with systems operating Windows 11 21H2, including Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations editions, released in October 2021.
However, it’s important to note that the Enterprise, Education, IoT Enterprise, and Enterprise multi-session editions of Windows 11 21H2 will continue to receive security updates until October 8, 2024. These editions are not affected by the recent end of support for the standard versions of Windows 11, version 21H2.
Furthermore, Microsoft is gearing up for the next major release, Windows 11 23H2, also known as the Windows 11 2023 Update. This update is currently rolling out to Insiders in the Release Preview Channel for enterprise testing ahead of a general release later this year.
In addition to these updates, Microsoft has unveiled the Windows 11 22H2 ‘Moment 4’ update, which introduces over 150 new features, including innovative tools like Microsoft Copilot and AI-powered versions of Paint, Snipping tool, and ClipChamp. These enhancements aim to improve user experiences and productivity.
As Microsoft discontinues support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 11, version 21H2, users are strongly encouraged to take action to ensure the security and functionality of their systems. Whether it’s upgrading to the latest operating systems or obtaining Extended Security Updates, staying up-to-date is essential in the ever-evolving landscape of technology and cybersecurity.