Windows Server 2012/R2 gets Extended Security Updates (ESU) until October 2026

Windows[German]With the October 2023 updates, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 have reached their end of support; there will be no more security updates in the future. Unless you book an Extended Security Update Extension (ESU license). Recently, there was still confusion because this ESU license was not to be provided for on-premises systems. Microsoft has now published or updated some details about the ESU program for Windows Server 2012/R2.


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I reported on the confusing information from a provider of ESU licenses in the blog post Windows Server 2012 R2 is EOL; ESU license not for on-premises systems? Microsoft has indeed set up a program for an Extended Security Update extension for the above-mentioned server operating systems and customers can purchase an ESU license for three years. According to this website, ESU licenses will allow security updates until October 13, 2026.

Windows Server 2012 R2 EOL

However, one blog reader was told by his contact that there are no plans to extend the update extension via ESU for on-premises systems and that he could apply to Microsoft to obtain an ESU license for certain scenarios.

New blog post on ESU licenses

In this German comment, a blog reader then referred to a new post by Microsoft (thanks for that). In the Techcommunity post Windows Server 2012/R2: Extended Security Updates from November 9, 2023, Microsoft has once again publicly presented some (actually known) facts.

  • Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Embedded Server 2012 R2 have reached the end of support on October 10, 2023, according to the 10-year lifecycle policy. After this date, security patches will no longer be released for these versions of Windows Server. For simplicity, we will sometimes refer to these versions as the Windows Server 2012/R2 family of versions.
  • Customers can now get three additional years of Extended Security Updates (ESUs) if you need more time to upgrade and modernize your Windows Server 2012, Windows Server R2 or Windows Embedded Server 2012 R2 on Azure. This also applies to Azure Stack HCI, Azure Stack Hub and other Azure products.
  • Customers who have already migrated to Azure to protect their Windows Server 2012 and R2 workloads may be eligible for free extended security updates. If an organization cannot migrate, they can purchase Windows Server 2012 Extended Security Updates enabled by Azure Arc directly through the Azure portal and seamlessly deploy to hosted environments without a key.

As an alternative to Azure Arc, Microsoft offers the purchase and deployment of ESU licenses for on-premises and hosted environments – using multiple activation keys (MAK). Four simple steps are required, which are described in the Techcommunity article Windows Server 2012/R2: Extended Security Updates.


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Extended Security Updates (ESUs) are available through certain Microsoft volume licensing programs. As of October 10, 2023, you can purchase ESUs for up to three consecutive 12-month increments. This means that systems can be covered with security updates from November 14, 2023 and until October 13, 2026. Nothing really new, just a note that the purchase should be possible from October 10, 2023. Further details can be found in the linked article, where the ESU purchase is described. Let's hope that the purchase goes smoothly.

Alternatively, it is possible to secure Windows Server 2012/R2 installations using 0patch micropatches. With these micropatches, ACROS Security provides solutions for closing vulnerabilities that have been patched by Microsoft. I discussed the details in the blog post Windows Server 2012 R2 is EOL; ESU license not for on-premises systems?


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