Office 2003 support declining


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Office 2003 users have a hard choice now main support for their software is ending.

Office 2003 users have a hard choice now main support for their software is ending.

Microsoft has quietly announced that the main lines of support and updates for Office 2003 will stop in less than two weeks – on 14 April 2009.

From 14 April 2009 there will be no more updates for Office 2003 except for security patches and anti-spam definitions.

Office 2003 users now have a hard choice. Stick with Service Pack 2 but no access to future security updates. Or ‘upgrade’ to Service Pack 3 (SP3) and deal with the consequences of some arbitrary and Microsoft money saving ‘features’ imposed in that service pack see Traps in Office 2003 SP3.

Our recommendation is to apply Service Pack 3 if you haven’t done so already – but be aware of the pitfalls. Not a week goes by at Office Watch without a pleading message from an Office 2003 user who can’t open an old document – Service Pack 3 is to blame.

Access users should ensure they have applied the patch that reverses the ‘improvements’ in SP3.

Our popular article Traps in Office 2003 SP3 has details and links to fixes and workarounds.

Support for Microsoft products is in two stages:

Mainstream support – where there are bug fixes, security patches and service packs for all comers. Phone and other on-to-one support are available at no charge in some circumstances.
It is this stage that’s ending for Office 2003 users on 14 April 2009.

Extended support – only security patches and, in this case it is reported that there is a continuation of junk email definitions. Bug fixes may be released for corporate clients with special ‘Extended Hotfix’ contracts and prepared to pay for the fixes. All phone / one-to-one support has to be paid for.
Only the specified service pack update will get security updates (in this case you must have Office 2003 Service Pack 3 in order to be able to apply future patches).

Extended Support for Office 2003 will end after five years – on 14 April 2014.

Windows XP, rightly very popular and still being sold by Microsoft (especially for netbook computers), is also moving to ‘extended’ support on 14 April 2009.

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