Supported Operating Systems

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An operating system is the primary component in the use of a computer. Staying up to date with an operating system has advantages such as:

  • The latest security updates and patches
  • New hardware and technology support through drivers
  • Better program and application support
  • A more reliable work environment
  • Greater connectivity with other systems

As technology evolves, its supporting software does also.

The University of Rhode Island has developed an Operating System support Lifecycle to provide consistency and offer predictability with regard to the universities obligated support responsibilities. A clear time-line for Operating System support provides the universities computing community the opportunity to plan for product and technology scheduling in conjunction with URI’s managing support resources.


Clarify support provided by the University regarding operating systems.

Currently the diversity and quantity of individual versions of operating system, as well as the advances in technical computing functions are so extensive, that the URI’s computing support staff has determined that a reasonable expectation of technology support should be limited to only those technologies that are still supported by the manufacture or vender. This limitation will allow the technical support staff access to reliable managed support resources and assist in technology planning. gec072607]


Operating System - A computer program that controls the components of a computer system and facilitates the operation of applications.

Patch - An update meant to fix technical glitches like bugs, or to improve the usability, or the performance of the previous version of an application.

Driver - A program designed to interface a particular piece of hardware to an operating system or other software.

The Operating Systems Support Policy defines a set of standards that balances software and hardware choices with the costs involved in the administration of those choices, and with the security requirements of the division and organization.

As technology and business needs evolve, there will be cases where older products and technologies no longer meet market requirements. At this time, such products will become obsolete. When obsolete products and services reach the End-of-Life stage, newer products and technologies may replace them. In order to help our customers manage any End-of-Life transitions, including any implications for support and service of these products, we developed the following standard guidelines for products reaching the End-of-Life phase of the life cycle.

The "End-of-Life" (EOL) process is a series of technical and business milestones and activities that, once completed, make a product or service obsolete. Once obsolete, the product or service is no longer sold, manufactured, improved, repaired, maintained, or supported. EOL includes both the end-of-sale date and end-of-support date.


This policy applies to all computers accessing the University's infrastructure.

General Provisions

The university does not offer support for operating systems and associated hardware that are no longer supported by their developer(s).

  1. URI will only provide support for software on versions of Web browsers or desktop operating systems that are supported by the vendor of the software.
  2. URI will purchase software, when possible, that conforms to industry standards for Web software.
  3. URI will not prevent people from using non-supported browser and desktop operating system combinations, although support for these combinations will not be available. The recommended configurations are only identified as a convenience for the users. Users are not required to use these recommended combination.
  4. URI will review this policy on a regular basis. Any significant changes to this policy will be discussed in advance with the appropriate campus constituencies. Updates to these guidelines will be coordinated with changes in vendor support polices, software upgrades, and/or releases of new products.

Specific Provisions

The following is a list of supported and unsupported major operating systems:


  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista
  • Mac OS X 10.6 and above


  • Windows 3.1
  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT 3
  • Windows NT 4
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Mac OS 9 or lower
  • Mac OS X 10.5 and lower

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (version 5): Including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced Platform, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop

General Availability: Mar 14, 2007 Full Support (including hardware updates): Mar 14, 2007 -- Sep 30, 2009 Deployment Support: Oct 1, 2009 -- Mar 31, 2010 Maintenance Support: Apr 1, 2010 -- Mar 31, 2014 Red Hat Enterprise Linux (version 4): Including Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES, Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS, and Red Hat Desktop

General Availability: Feb 15, 2005 Full Support (including hardware updates): Feb 15, 2005 -- Aug 31, 2007 Deployment Support: Sep 1, 2007 -- Feb 29, 2008 Maintenance Support: Mar 1, 2008 -- Feb 29, 2012 Red Hat Enterprise Linux (version 3): Including Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES, Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS, and Red Hat Desktop

General Availability: Oct 23, 2003 Full Support (including hardware updates): Oct 23, 2003 -- April 30, 2006 Deployment Support: May 1, 2006 -- Jun 30, 2007 Maintenance Support: Jul 1, 2007 -- Oct 31, 2010 Red Hat Enterprise Linux (version 2.1): Including Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS

General Availability: May 17, 2002 Full Support (including hardware updates): May 17, 2002 -- Nov 30, 2004 Deployment Support: Dec 1, 2004 -- May 31, 2005 Maintenance Support: June 1, 2005 -- May 31, 2009 gec072607]

Policy Violations

There will be no action taken against users who violate URI's OS support policy. The specific provisions are provided as a guideline. While users may continue to use their unsupported Operating System, URI computing support community may not have the ability to assist with any complications. gec072607]

Impact on Other Policies

Negligible impact on other policies.

Effective Date: Interim or Permanent

Upon publication. TBA.



Next Review Date

As needed.

Policy Contact

Helpdesk 401-874-HELP


Vice Provost of Information Technology Services


Microsoft end of support webpage
Microsoft life-cycle policy
Apple Operating System Support Website