Is Windows Server 2012 R2 still supported?

Yes, Windows Server 2012 R2 is being supported as part of an extended support program. The mainstream support for Windows Server 2012 R2 has already ended in the year 2018. We look at the key aspects of Windows Server 2012 R2 and how you could decide about the future course of action.

Windows Server 2012 R2 – Lifecycle Dates

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 was released on November 25, 2013. Servers have 10-year lifecycle support.
  • The mainstream support for servers expires 5 years from the date of the original release. So, the mainstream support for Windows Server 2012 R2 expired on the 9th of October, 2018.
  • Extended support for Windows Server 2012 R2 will expire on the 10th of October, 2023.

This clearly implies that the extended support for Windows Server 2012 R2 will expire in October 2023.

Mainstream support vs Extended Support on Windows Server 2012 R2

Mainstream support for Windows Server 2012 R2 covers full-fledged coverage in terms of updates. You are entitled to security updates, feature requests, design change requests, and performance updates.

Once the mainstream support expires on the Windows servers, you are moved to the extended support plan. As part of the extended support plan, the server will continue to get security updates. You will have options to buy the non-security updates or support for the server.

As of now, the Windows Server 2012 R2 is under extended support. So, you will continue to get security updates until October 2023.

How to extend Windows 2012 R2 Server Support beyond 10 years?

There may be reasons for companies to continue with Windows Server 2012 R2 after the extended support ends in October 2023. One of the most common reasons is the server environment running legacy applications. Legacy applications may have compatibility issues with newer server deployments.

Microsoft allows you to purchase ‘Extended Security Updates’. You can extend Windows Server 2012 R2 support for a period of up to 3 years. In other words, if you purchase the ‘Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012 R2, you can extend the support until October 2026.

Extended Security Updates can be bought through the Volume Licensing program of Microsoft. You can buy ESUs in yearly increments. That means you can buy Extended Security Updates (ESU) for a period of 1 year or 2 years or 3 years. You cannot buy ESU for monthly terms.

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Extended Security Update for the first year costs 75% of the full licensing fee for the server. The first-year ESU will end on 8th October 2024.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Extended Security Update for the second year costs 100% of the full licensing fee for the server. The second-year ESU will expire on 25th October 2025.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Extended Security Update for the first year costs 125% of the full licensing fee for the server. The third-year ESU will expire for Windows Server 2012 R2 on 13th October 2026.

It would be a good idea to talk to an MSP or account team at Microsoft to learn more about the license costs of the ‘Extended Security Updates’ for Windows Server 2012 R2. We see ‘Extended Service Updates’ as an extension that could allow you time to port your legacy application to a newer Windows Server operating system. This could be Windows Server 2019 or Windows Server 2022 editions.

You will need to buy the ‘Extended Security Updates’ for Windows Server 2012 R2 from one of the ‘Volume Licensing’ options mentioned below:

  • Enterprise Agreement (EA),
  • Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS),
  • Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES), or Server and
  • Cloud Enrollment (SCE).

Currently, Microsoft supports Extended Security Updates for the following editions of Windows Server 2012 R2:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter Edition.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials Edition.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition

What do Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012 R2 include?

Extended Security Updates are released from time to time by Microsoft. These updates will cover ‘Critical’ or ‘Important’ security updates for Windows Server 2012 R2. Extended Security Updates can be deployed on Windows Server 2012 R2 manually.

To deploy Extended Security Updates (ESU) on Windows Server 2012 R2, you will need to:

  • Request a unique MAK key. Multiple Activation Key is a unique key that can be applied to the Windows Server 2012 R2 server. It sets up the servers to accept the ESU updates
  • MAK keys are provided by Microsoft after your purchase of the Extended Security Updates. It may take a week’s time for your unique MAK keys to be delivered to you after the Extended Security Updates have been bought.
  • MAK keys allow you to fetch ESU updates through the Windows Update Servers.

ESU or Extended Support Updates do not give you privileges to request design changes. You are strictly limited to ‘Critical’ or ‘Important’ security updates for Windows Server 2012 R2.

Summary

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 is under Extended Support coverage until October 2023.
  • You can extend support by enrolling in the ‘Extended Security Updates’ for a period of up to 3 years until October 2026 for Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • A unique MAK key will be needed to deploy Extended Security Updates on Windows Server 2012 R2 servers.

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