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When releases of Windows Server reach the end of their support lifecycle, Microsoft no longer programmatically provide regular security updates. Instead, customers who need to continue running these older versions of Windows Server must acquire rights to Extended Security Updates (ESUs) which are typically available for three years after the end of support.

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 came to the end of support on October 10, 2023, and Extended Security Updates will be offered until October 13, 2026. There isn’t a regular cadence for the security updates; they are made available as and when a vulnerability is discovered which is rated as Critical or Important by the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC).

If customers decide to run their out-of-support Windows Servers in Azure, then Extended Security Updates are free, and you can find out more in the Azure section. Otherwise, customers need to pay for Extended Security Updates, and they can choose to pay upfront for a 1-year license or commit on a pay-as-you-go basis through Azure Arc Extended Security Updates.