Microsoft has announced that it will stop supporting Windows Vista on April 11, 2017, five years after they announced the end of “mainstream support” for Windows Vista.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, thousands of people still use Windows Vista. What do you need to know about the end of Windows Vista? How can you prepare? We’re here to help.
Microsoft is Ending All Support for Windows Vista
Microsoft ended most of its support for Windows Vista 5 years ago, when it ended mainstream support for the OS. That means it no longer provided free incident support to Vista users. However, support was still available through Microsoft’s “extended support” subscription.
On April 11, 2017, Microsoft is completely ending all support for the OS. That means Microsoft will stop supporting Vista in any way – just like Microsoft did with XP a couple years ago.
What Happens on April 11?
On April 11, your Windows Vista computer will not suddenly explode. Instead, your Vista machine will start the day looking like it always does. It won’t look any different.
The real damage occurs after April 11, when security problems will inevitably be discovered with Vista. Microsoft will no longer issue patches for those security problems. If a security problem is found in Vista after April 11, Microsoft is probably not going to fix it.
Right now, security problems appear in Vista on a regular basis, and Microsoft patches each security flaw. After April 11, they will no longer issue any security updates to Vista users.
What does that mean for you? It means that every day you continue using Vista after April 11, you’re increasing your exposure to dangerous attacks.
Will Vista Keep Working?
Scare tactics aside, your Vista machine will keep working smoothly – assuming you don’t contract a virus or malware from the internet. Your computer will still keep running, and you can use all of the ordinary Vista features you’ve always been able to use.
What Should I Do?
Upgrade to Windows 10
In Microsoft’s ideal world, every Vista user would upgrade to Windows 10. Sure, you could upgrade to Windows 7, but Microsoft’s support for 7 is ending in 2020 – so you’re just buying yourself another few years. Windows 10 is Microsoft’s OS of the near future: it’s expected to last until October 2025.
Unfortunately for you, you’ll need to buy a new copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft or from a trusted reseller (like Best Buy or your local electronics store).
Buy a New Computer
If you’re still using Vista, your computer could be more than a decade old. It might be time for an upgrade. New versions of Windows 10 cost anywhere between $130 and $220, so you might not spend that much more money buying a brand new Windows 10 PC.
Change Operating Systems
Don’t want to pay for Windows? Don’t want to continue using a dangerously unsecure operating system? Consider changing to a new operating system. Linux gets more accessible every year. In fact, some Linux distros don’t look much different from Windows itself.
Will Antivirus Software Protect You?
Antivirus software companies have already ignored Vista for years. After the April 11, 2017 deadline has passed, most remaining antivirus software still serving Vista users will stop updating – which means you’re still susceptible to new security problems.
The whole issue boils down to this: if you’re concerned about computer security, then you can no longer use Vista after April 11, 2017.