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Microsoft’s support for Windows Vista ends today. This is by design: Microsoft provides at least 10 years of support for its operating systems, split into two distinct types. Mainstream Support ended on April 10, 2012, and now Extended Support is ending on April 11, 2017.

Windows Vista, the successor to Windows XP, hit RTM status on November 8, 2006 and it hit general availability on January 30, 2007. Microsoft thus supported arguably its most hated product for just over its minimum 10 years. That includes two service packs (in March 2005 and March 2007), plus an R2 release in December 2005.

Mainstream Support includes free incident support, warranty claims, fixes for non-security as well as security bugs, plus design changes and feature requests. Extended Support consists solely of security updates. In other words, Windows Vista is dead in Microsoft’s eyes.

If you continue to use Vista, your computer will still work but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and malware. Software and hardware manufacturers will be even less likely to make products that work with the operating system, opting to focus on more recent versions of Windows.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows Vista. If you already have it installed, you’ll continue to receive antimalware signature updates for “a limited time” but again, your computer is already compromised regardless of what security suite you use since the operating system is no longer being updated.

For an overview of other important upcoming dates for Microsoft’s desktop operating systems, check the Windows Lifecycle page, which currently lists the following days:

In short, you better not be using Windows Vista anymore. You have multiple successors to choose from, including Windows 7 and Windows 8, but Microsoft naturally recommends moving to Windows 10. If you’re still using Windows Vista — and thankfully less than 1 percent of the world is — it’s really time to move on.


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