The outcry when Microsoft tried to end support for Windows XP was so great the company had to delay the shutdown multiple times. It’s unlikely Windows Vista will get the same treatment. Microsoft is planning to quietly end support for Vista in just one month. After April 11th, 2017, Vista will receive no more updates.
Windows Vista was released in early 2007 after years of development. Despite the five year gulf between XP and Vista, there were numerous bugs and incomplete features. Performance was also sluggish, even on powerful systems. The problems with Vista ended up giving a boost to Windows XP, which was a very reliable OS by that time. Netbooks were all the rage around that time as well, and these low-power miniature laptops lacked the specs to run Vista.
Despite the criticism, Vista made a number of overdue changes to Windows, including a more powerful graphical interface engine (Aero), user account control security measures, and browser tabs in Internet Explorer. Despite that, many users stuck with XP for a few more years until Windows 7 came out. The problems with Vista were covered heavily at release, which kept its market share down. In 2015, Vista was sitting at roughly 2% market share. Windows XP still had 8% even without support, which expired in April 2014.
Microsoft has already started tapering off support for Vista. Computers running Vista stopped getting feature updates way back in 2012. However, the OS still gets critical security patches and other hotfixes via extended support. Businesses with support plans can also still get hotfixes for non-security issues right now. In a month, all of that will go away. Even Vista’s Windows Security Essentials anti-malware app will stop getting updates soon thereafter.
The reliance on XP was so great that Microsoft offers a “custom support” program. Businesses and governments that still need to use XP for some unfathomable reason can pay Microsoft a boatload of money to provide ongoing support. That means there are XP systems running to this day that are reasonably secure. There will not be a similar program for Windows Vista.
Microsoft is currently bombarding Vista PCs with warnings that support is ending. The hope is these people will finally update to Windows 10. However, the update process going from Vista to 10 is not particularly smooth. Microsoft has partnered with software maker LapLink to offer 50% discounts on its data transfer software — that works out to $14.95. It’s probably time to ditch that Vista-era hardware, though.