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We discussed some basics of the Office Support Policy in a prior post, explaining how Office versions have a 5 year window of Mainstream Support, and an additional 5 years of Extended Support. One of our releases is now at the end of its life cycle; this post is a reminder to those still using Office XP that the end of support for this version is near.
On July 11, 2011, Office XP will exit the Extended Support period.
Mainstream Support End
Extended Support End
Office XP Developer Edition
Office XP Professional Edition
Office XP Professional Special Edition
Office XP Standard Edition
The chart above reflects the end of support for the main Office XP Release versions. The full detail is spelled out under the link.
What does “end of support” mean? The end of support means that we will no longer provide public fixes for the Office XP release. Automatic Updates that ship on “Patch Tuesday” will be discontinued. There will be no effect on installed software; products will still continue to function.
What options do Office XP users have?
Microsoft recommends that customers keep their systems secure by upgrading to the latest, supported product and/or service pack, such as Microsoft Office 2010. Office 2007 Service Pack 2 and Office 2003 Service Pack 3 are also supported for the duration outlined in the Support Lifecycle Product Database.
For our Premier Support customers, a Custom Support program is available. The support team has posted a useful web page about available options for retired product support. They have also published a good FAQ page to explain some of the background on the support policy.
For more information, consult these resources:
· Retired Product Support Options · Microsoft Services Premier Support · Microsoft Services Premier Support – Custom Support · Support Lifecycle Information for all Office Products · Office XP Support Lifecycle · Microsoft Support Lifecycle
Today the Windows team released an update which adds support for the new rupee currency symbol for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2. You can find more information about the update at KB2496898.
This update will allow users to input, view, print, and use the new symbol as the default symbol for data formatted as Indian currency, such as in Access fields, Excel cells, or the currency column in SharePoint lists.
The Windows update touches three main areas that will help Office users.
1. Updates the following font families: Microsoft Sans Serif, Times New Roman, Arial, Segoe, and Tahoma.
2. Updates the 13 Indic local keyboards to input the rupee using the Ctrl+Shift+4. On the new English (India) keyboard, the AltGr+4 key combination will input the new symbol. More on adding or changing your input language.
3. Updates the locale information so that the new symbol is automatically used for items formatted as currency, such as in Access fields, Excel cells, or the currency column in SharePoint lists. More on changing the country or region settings.
If you don’t have a keyboard that supports the rupee symbol, you can insert the rupee currency symbol by using one of the following methods.
Type 20B9, and then hold down the ALT key and press X. (Supported by OneNote, and Outlook WordMail, and Word.)
Important: Some of the Microsoft Office programs, such as PowerPoint and InfoPath, cannot convert Unicode codes to characters. If you need a Unicode character and are using one of the programs that doesn't support Unicode characters, use the Character Map to enter the character(s) that you need.
Supported by Excel, InfoPath, OneNote, Outlook WordMail, PowerPoint, Publisher, SharePoint Designer, and Word
Insert a symbol
1. Click where you want to insert the symbol.
2. On the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, click Symbol.
3. Do one of the following:
· Click the symbol that you want in the drop-down list.
· If the symbol that you want to insert is not in the list, click More Symbols. In the Font box, click the font that you want, click the symbol that you want to insert, and then click Insert.
· Note If you are using an expanded font, such as Arial or Times New Roman, the Subset list appears. Use this list to choose from an extended list of language characters, including Greek and Russian (Cyrillic), if available.
4. Click Close.
Character Map is a program built into Microsoft Windows that enables you to view the characters that are available in a selected font. Using Character Map, you can copy individual characters or a group of characters to the Clipboard and paste them into any program that can display them.
For more information about the Character Map, see Using special characters (Character Map): frequently asked questions.
Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Character Map.
To select a character in the Character Map, click the character, click Select, click the right mouse button in your document where you want the character, and then click Paste.
If your printer does not have the rupee currency symbol in any of its resident fonts, a box will be printed instead of the rupee currency symbol. Contact your printer vendor to find out how to get updated printer fonts that include the rupee currency symbol. You can also adjust your printer setup not to use resident fonts. Look for an option called Print fonts as graphics in printer setup properties.
If you are using a font that doesn’t contain the new symbol, then your application may not be able to render the character. The work around is to change the font for that one character. We are aware of the issue and are working on a fix.
The Windows update does not fix .NET 3.5 in some scenarios and therefore SharePoint 2007 currency fields will not default to the new symbol. We are working to address this issue.
Due to a known browser limitation, users will not be able to type the new rupee symbol in Internet Explorer when font is not specified (for example, in the address bar or Web App Find text box).
A while back, we provided some information about the upcoming release of Office 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1.) This release is important because it is our first update to the 2010 product family that changes the support baseline. In this post we'll describe some Service Pack and Support Policy basics, and provide some background to better understand how Service Packs are managed. This will help you think through some of the implications for deploying Office & Windows together, especially if you are considering Windows 7 SP1.
Decoding the Service Pack Release Schedule for Office and SharePoint
This page has a complete description of our support policy, and that’s a great place for us to start the discussion. Our releases have two phases of support: a 5 year Mainstream Support lifecycle, and an additional 5-year period of Extended Support. The difference between the two is in the types of changes we offer.
During the Mainstream Support phase we address many things, including critical and security issues, feedback on design issues, and escalations related to specific functionality. In the Extended Support phase we update products to address security issues and other problems of a critical nature. For Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 products, Mainstream Support ends in 2015, and Extended Support concludes in 2020. This page includes a list of prior versions of our products.
We offer updates through as few primary channels. Public Updates, offered on Microsoft Update, are published once per month, on the second Tuesday (also known as "Patch Tuesday.) Every 8th week, we also roll up our quick fixes and customer escalations into a release we term "Cumulative Update." On periodic intervals during the Mainstream Support phase, we roll these releases and a set of additional fixes into a single delivery referred to as a Service Pack.
Service Packs are a convenience to customers; they include all fixes-to-date for a given set of products in a single installation. We typically (not always) ship 3 Service Packs for a major version of Office and SharePoint. For example, during its 5-year mainstream support window, we offered SP1, SP2 and SP3 for Office 2003.
You can do some basic math to get a sense for the window in which a Service Pack will be timed. In a 60-month Mainstream support window, we typically like to have 3 service packs. By simple math, you'd figure on one SP release per major version every 20 months. This isn't precise, in truth we don't have a pre-determined SP schedule, and we also must time those releases around other activities that are happening in our division. It is never likely to be a 20-month interval (in fact, it probably has never been a perfect 20 months.) But it is usually not far from that.
We are often asked for early disclosure on our Service Pack plans. The request is reasonable, customers carefully plan deployment cycles. In turn, we are careful about disclosing dates prematurely because of the number of variables that may alter the schedule or contents late in the cycle. Early disclosure of the schedule presents a risk to our customers when we commit to schedules long in advance. Admittedly there is a tension that must be managed here. We do our best to optimize for predictability and accuracy in our disclosure. Our goal is to allow customers to have a high degree of confidence in release dates.
Understanding the Service Pack Lifecycle and Support Policy
A key factor in planning for the deployment planning is our Service Pack Support Policy. Nested within the 5/5 support lifecycle for a major version is the policy for supporting updates.
12 months after we ship a service pack, we discontinue support for the old one. In other words, 12 months after the release of Service Pack 1, we will no longer produce fixes that target the original release of Office or SharePoint. 12 months after Office or SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 2 is available, we no longer produce fixes that target Service Pack 1. (Note that Windows is different, they operate the same policy, but with a 24-month window). The 12-month window gives our customers a full year to test and deploy a Service Pack before the prior baseline exits support.
Consolidating code bases to a new, required baseline ensures that when our customers are ready, they will get the latest updates to Office, and we will be able to maintain a high level of quality by making changes to a more current code base. This is an exercise that benefits our customers as well as ourselves, and it helps ensure the quality of our products improve over time.
Predicting the Contents of a Service Pack Release
This is one of the trickier topics about discussing SP's. Folks want to know well in advance what will be included. Their reasons are legitimate, knowing which of "your" issues are being addressed, or knowing what changes to test can provide insight that reduces a lot of concern. From our perspective, it is often difficult to predict the contents of Service Packs for fear of having to pull a fix out at the last minute. We'd rather sit on the list until we're 100% confident that the change will be included in the SP. Unfortunately there isn't an easy answer to the problem, other than to say that we do our best to balance customer needs for early disclosure vs. not over-promising the release.
Fortunately there is an easy way to compile the vast majority of the SP change list well before its availability, without any help from Microsoft. Service Packs include a roll-up of all fixes released against a baseline to the current state of the code. In other words, all the Cumulative Updates and Public Updates that have already shipped will be included in the release. We publish significant detail about those CU and PU releases when they happen. A portion of the change list for our upcoming SP1 release, then, has already been published (along with the corresponding updates, of course).
Granted, for SP1 we are also addressing a number of other areas that have not yet been released, and we will share additional details about those as the release draws near.
Automatic Updates and Service Packs
Many organizations like to test Service Packs before deploying them to each user. They prefer a window for testing a Service Pack before we push it via Automatic Updates. Consumers or non-IT managed desktops, however, have less of a need to wait for a Service Pack. They can install a service pack earlier and start taking advantages of the fixes in the release.
When we ship a Service Pack, we do not offer it as an Automatic Update right away. We wait a minimum of 90 days before we offer the SP as an Automatic Update. We also provide a 30-day notice before doing so. For SP1, the 30-day notice will take place on this blog.
For all that we do in a Service Pack release, the objective is to provide a current set of updates to our customers to ensure they have the best experience possible with the software. We want to ensure the quality of our products improve over time. We hope this helps clarify some of the details around service packs, and we'll post more on our release types in the future.
In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter @OfficeUpdates
The March Public Update release for Office is now live and available for download. This release contains 1 security update accompanied by 5 non-security updates.
The security update applies to Groove 2007 (KB2494047) described in Microsoft Security Bulletin MS11-116. Additional information about this update can be found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Security Update for Groove 2007 (KB2494047).
Joining the security bulletin is an update for Microsoft Office 2010 (KB2494150) 32-bit/64-bit Editions. This update will decrease installation failures for updates installed on Microsoft Office 2010. Please see Microsoft Knowledge Base article Update for Microsoft Office 2010 (KB2494150) for additional information.
A non-security update for OneNote 2010 32-bit/64-bit Editions was also released. This update provides fixes associated with displaying search results, fixes to optical character recognition (OCR), indexing, and displaying of inserted documents. Additional information can be found in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Update for Microsoft OneNote 2010 (KB2493983).
As with normal cadence, Outlook Junk Email Filters for Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 32-bit/64-bit were also updated.
We were recently made aware of the exploit in the wild for Adobe Flash Player. The exploit itself is in the Flash player, but it was brought to our attention that Excel has been used to help deliver .swf file. Our Security Research & Defense team released a blog on mitigations along with how Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) can be used to help with this issue.
We wanted to provide you with a little bit more information on how one can prevent ActiveX controls from being run within Microsoft Office applications.
In Office 2010 you can use Security Settings for ActiveX controls for Office 2010 to determine which options best fits your scenario. This includes turning off all ActiveX controls from being run in Office to setting specific controls that won’t run in Office only, but allow them to load into Internet Explorer. This is very similar to the Internet Explorer Killbit, but for Office Applications only.
For Office 2007, it is very similar to 2010 Configure Security settings for ActiveX controls points out how you can disable ActiveX controls across all of Office. In MS10-036 we did the work to have the ability to prevent controls from loading within Office only.
MS10-036 also provided us the opportunity to update 2003 as well. After installing MS10-036 you will have the ability to create the Office Killbit list again using the steps listed in KB2252664.