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Microsoft bids farewell to Windows Vista with end of support

The time has come: Microsoft has put the final nail in the coffin for Windows Vista. As detailed on its support site (opens in new tab), Microsoft will no longer ship new security updates, non-security hotfixes, or even free or paid assisted support options as of today, April 11.

From Microsoft:

Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

Vista originally launched in January 2007, coming five years after the launch of Windows XP. While Vista introduced the new Aero UI elements that would later be refined in Windows 7, Vista became one of Microsoft's more maligned Windows releases due to high system requirements, a lack of compatible drivers at launch, and a number of other issues.

The end of life date for Vista has been known for a while (opens in new tab), and Microsoft actually ended what it calls "mainstream support" all the way back in 2012. Today's move marks the end of extended support for the OS.

Even though support has ended, you'll still be able to keep using Windows Vista. However, in the absence of security updates, you're much more open to viruses and malware attacks. Compounding the problem is that Microsoft also says it has stopped offering Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows Vista.

If you happen to still be hanging onto Vista as your OS of choice, Microsoft recommends an upgrade to a PC with Windows 10, which just so happens to be receiving a pretty big upgrade with the Creators Update today.

How to upgrade Windows Vista to Window 10

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

63 Comments
  • I have to admit Windows Vista was not the best OS from Microsoft but I couldn't understand that so much hate.... I loved them so much :) Maybe because I am a fanboy :)
  • In my case a lot of games or specialized software have serious problems during install, performance prod during run or not launched at all.
    Moreover it was first drastic change in UI especially for different settings (most prominent network setting).
  • the control panel kill for me
  • It really depended on the computer you got it with. Most computers coming out at the time were still standard with 256-512MB of RAM and Vista essentially choked on anything less than 2GB. Another big issue was that it was the first real 64bit release and it took 2-3 years before manufacturers got 64bit drivers running smoothly. Lastly, all of the visuals were rendered on the CPU and at the time most PCs were single-core with dual core just starting to gain some traction. This meant a huge performance hit vs XP and it's cartoon play-thing graphics. But ya; if you built your own machine with 2-4 cores and 2GB of RAM with compatible drivers then Vista ran like a champ! Problem is that most people bought Dell and HP boxes with single core and 256MB of RAM which could barely crawl under the weight of the OS itself. The only real change between Vista and 7 was that the hardware caught up so pretty much everyone was buying duel-core CPUs and 2-4GB of RAM, manufacturers got over the growing pains of 64bit drivers, and win7 was able to pass off Aero to the GPU rather than running direct on the CPU. Outside of that they really were very close in features and usefulness. Vista was literally ahead of its time, and 7 was mostly just better in publicity.
  • No it was not the first 64bit
    Windows XP x64 Professional was.
    Was a great OS that ran architecture programs fantastically
  • Windows XP x64 edition was never commercially available to the general public.
  • Still have the student version of it.
  • XP64 was essentially Server 2003, reskinned to look and feel like XP32. 
  • No it wasn't. If you are intending to debate this...
    Windows Server is Windows.
    Windows is Server Windows.
    Windows XP Home edition is Windows.
    Windows is Windows XP Home edition.
  • Yes it was. "The x64-based versions are based on the Windows Server 2003 code tree. Service and support activities for these versions use the Windows Server 2003 tree and do not use the Windows XP client tree" taken from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/888733/a-description-of-the-x64... Yeah its technically all Windows but the other poster wasn't wrong.
  • No it wasn't.
    And Windows XP was based on Windows NT/2000 and not Windows 9x/ME.
    NT was server based... So we going in circles.
  • Locutus6 is correct.  Windows 2000 was essentially NT 5.0
    Windows XP 32-bit was NT 5.1. 
    Windows XP 64-bit was NT 5.2.
    Windows Server 2003 32-bit AND 64-bit were both NT 5.2.  This explains why Windows XP 32-bit got up to Service Pack 3, but XP 64-bit did not.  Click on Start -> Run -> and type in winver and press Enter.  You'll see the above kernel numbers if you do that for each of the respective operating systems above.  Also, FYI: Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 (R1) = NT 6.0
    Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 = NT 6.1
    Windows 8 (NOT 8.1) and Windows Server 2012 (R1) = NT 6.2
    Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 = NT 6.3
    Windows 10 was going to have "6.4" in the kernel version, but Microsoft decided to change it to 10.0 before it RTM'd.  With Build 1511 (maybe a few Insider builds earlier than that), they abandoned the "NT" based numbers altogether and replaced them with the four digit numbers that we see today (Anniversary = 1607, Creators = 1703).  Server 2016 RTM started at the "Anniversary" level (1607). 
     
  • Essentially you came late to this discussion.
  • Other signs of Windows XP x64 = Windows Server 2003 x64 - the server related features of Windows Server + the client-related features of Windows XP 32-bit: - Windows XP 32-bit does not support GPT disks in any way, shape, or form.  Windows XP x64 does, as does both Windows Server 2003 x86 AND x64 (of course BOOTING to a GPT drive was not added until Vista/Server 2008). 
    - Windows XP 32-bit also has an RDP update (that's Remote Desktop Protocol, formerly known as Terminal Services) that goes up to 7.0.  Windows XP x64, Server 2003 x86, and Server 2003 x64 do NOT have this update (although XP 32-bit's RDP update can be "tricked" into being installed on Server 2003 32-bit, but there is no NT 5.2 x64 version of the RDP update).  Although Windows XP x64 was the first x86-64 client-based Windows Operating System, drivers for consumer-based products were few and far between (until Vista came out, in which some Vista x64 drivers do work wtih XP x64), and you pretty much had to know to look for Server 2003 x64 drivers if all else failed.  I had XP x64 installed on a few boxes as well, but let's face it: it was one of three redheaded stepchildren of that era (the other two being Windows XP Media Center Edition and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition*).  *: At least with the other two redheaded stepchildren, they were based on 32-bit Windows XP Professional (with the ability to join domains disabled on the Media Center Edition), which allowed them to be on (mostly) the same support path as its more popular parent.  Since Windows XP x64 Edition didn't have that luxury (requiring completely new drivers, and had to be treated like a crippled Server 2003 x64 because that's exactly what it was), and it wasn't marketed like 32-bit XP was, there wasn't a whole lot of incentive to make 64-bit drivers and support problems with software installs running on XP x64 (the few that there were, since WOW64 did and still does a great job with 32-bit applications). 
     
  •    .
  • I never got the Vista hate either. Never had any issues with multiple computers running it from release day. Much like Windows 8, people quickly turn against some new and better because of a few changes they don't like
  • I did see an issue with external monitor support from a new laptop running Vista out of the box, connecting to a third-party display from Philips. Some update along the way broke the display connection with some driver. It was later fixed, but really was annoying. The laptop was not mine, I was just acting IT support.
  • It was very slow even on high end Hardware. It was the worst system i ever repaird. It was slow when it's integrity was healthy, when it had one two viruses, hell brocke loose. I actually prefered to install another system then to disinfect Vista. Probably that is why people hate it but loved the 7. 7 had xp's speed and vista's UI… polished here and there.
  • 7 as fast as Xp? Nope. Most probably you had gotten a faster PC when 7 was released.
  • I upgraded a 2004 HP laptop designed for & shipped with XP to Windows 7. It actually runs faster & better on Windows 7.
  • Well, when you put on the same pc two different systems and one is faster, it is called the system is faster. Actually, i said polished here and there because 7 it is faster then xp on the same hardware. Of course. Not on pentium 2. Just cause, that does not support 2 gb ram at least, i never seen a main board being able to support so much ram in those times. Anyway, another key for faster is because 7 uses gpu UI rendering, xp not. So is faster in any way. Of course, if the hardware is made to run as it should
  • Vista's performance with that time's hardware was abysmal. The UI wasn't such a drastic change compared to XP (same XP elements were present on the desktop and start menu, and elsewhere things were similar too) but it just got glossier. Everyone loved Windows 7 because it performed well and was rationally designed, even though the task bar saw a dramatic change compared to both Vista and XP so " people quickly turn against some new and better..." is an excuse. By no measure was 8 better than 7. Just imagine introducing two different environments on the same OS but not being able to drag an item from one application to the other (Modern app to desktop). That's just bad design.
  • Launch Vista was kind of like ME, you either had a computer that worked or a computer that didn't... Service Packs fixed this, but by then the OS was already damaged.
  • Still the most beautiful (And visually-consistent) version of Windows to date, don't care what "flat" fanboys say.
  • Visually consistent = 7. Vista's black task bar had nothing to do with aero on the windows (as seen above).
  • Lol, you look at a screenshot with 2 UNFOCUSED high-transaprency windows and say Taskbr's not linked? I can recreate the same in 7. Taskbar's colour was a dark version of your theme colour, though of course black was the default. Black and Green was the visual Style of Vista. Everythig followed the same visual style. Heck even user folders were green glass. It was beautiful 7 was the start of visual decline. Everything became very light blue and stated losing visual details... And in 10 to it's literally just a plain white background everywhere with completely mis-matched icon styles... Some are still Vista-Style, some are new 10 Desktop Style, some are "Store Style", some are "Wireframe Style"... WTF is going on?
  • Got Vista when Sp1 was released. Worked fine but slow due to high hardware requirements.
  • This is what i am telling to people, and they all seem to downgrade me. I think this ms kids, are becoming apple trends.
  • Never had any issues with Vista, I think on good hardware it was OK, but on bad hardware it was awful
  • Agreed. For the Vista upgrade people needed to do their homework and be prepared for extra expenditure.
  • I do not. Their were Laptops coming out with vista. Actually vista got bad reputation cause of this desktops and laptops that came out and were slow as a snail. Now, i am pretty sure 90% of the population did not upgrade the system, but actually the entire rig. Vista was bot free, so no man in right mind pais 100€ to buy a OS to install it on old hardware. On the new hardware was slow and their was nothing could be done about it.
  • Sad but unexpected news. First tasted Vista goodness with a laptop that would turn have turned 10 this October (lasted all of 20 months before psu failure, followed by bankrupcy of the manufacturer 24 hours after calling their tech support to get it repaired). Had better luck with my first gaming desktop in 08, built with Vista and the installation still works nicely - however started out with 2GB RAM so the slowness issues never affected me.
  • Wow what are the odds haha what manufacturer was it?
  • Very sad indeed.
  • I loved Vista. Such a dramatic improvement over XP.
  • XP was like a cartoon.
  • God I feel old
    I loved Vista
  • I don't care what anyone says but Vista had the best wallpapers 😜
  • It was Vista that caused me to go past my comfort zone and get a minimum 4GB ram at the time. Thanks for the...ahem!... memories. Hasta la vista, Vista!
  • About time! I felt there was no need to support anything older than Windows 7 since Windows 10 came out.
  • Still more users than Windows 10 mobile?
  • Funny
  • Yes
  • Aww did love vista! Miss the widgets
  • +1
  • Yes, widgets were good/useful.
  • Finally, this was long overdue!  Glad there is one less supported version of Windows now, and one less step to the gradual utter domination of Windows 10 as the one to rule all versions. ;-)   Wonder if this will do anything to get that ~1% of Vista usage share to drop to 0??  Now the countdown to Windows 7 EOL can begin!  
  • Windows 10 is...meh. It's definitely much better than 8, but doesn't follow the consistency of 7 and its built in apps are barely useful.
    I honestly wish Microsoft kept the desktop and mobile versions of OSs separate, only sharing the underneath code between them. The whole mess began when Microsoft panicked and combined the two. Imagine if we had a true successor to Windows Phone 8.1 and the desktop was free from the clutter of "mobile apps" that have no business running, limited and weak, on the desktop. Ahhh...what a lovely vision that would have been!
  • Vista got a bad rap. I thought it was great.
  • Hasta la Vista, baby.
  • Vista wasn't ready for prime-time when it was released. But, by the time Windows 7 came out, with all the updates/fixes it received, it was every bit as good as Windows 7 ever was, at least for me.
  • To me, windows 7 is simply another version of Windows Vista, with a different skin.
  • vista was geat for me. first os to have an eror while in game gfx driver crash and recovered and the game didn't lock up could continue to play and the os ran. before that it was blue screen of death restart computer :D
  • Sometimes, perhaps for most of the time, common opinions may not as accurate as they appear, for most of the time most people just fire toward the same direction other people is firing at, without ever need to think or experience the real thing. I've been using Windows Vista on my PC for nearly 10 years, I can tell that most of the criticisms towards Vista are virtual not true, simply because most peole are so afraid of changes.
  • You never upgraded to Windows 7? That OS was phenominal. I really liked Vista, but W7 was much better. Windows 8 was awful until after 8.1 but still Windows 10 is better in almost every aspect. If I had to choose between W10 and W7 I'd have to side with W10.
  • Windows 7 long fixed everything that was wrong with Vista, will easily run on the same hardware as Vista, and is better in everyway. So much so, it has become the new XP and I think it'll remain that way until Red Stone 5 of windows 10, 'cause frankly, windows 10 is still half-assed to be a worthwhile replacement...
  • I held off getting Vista for such a long time due to the public outcry over it. I ended up getting a new PC and reluctantly put Vista on it (SP1 I believe) and I was blown away by how good it was - they'd fixed so many annoyances from Windows XP. I didn't have any issues with it, so my only regret was that I didn't upgrade sooner.
  • Good riddance.
  • I only had 1 GB of RAM so I ran into a lot of issues.  But I tried Linux, only to realize that it needed 2 GB of RAM to work effectively as well.  This is Ubuntu with Unity.  So I don't blame Vista, I blame lousy hardware.  
  • I went from Vista on a desktop with 1 GB RAM to 10 on a laptop with 4 GB RAM.  And the laptop is slow.  Some things change, some remain the same.  
  • You know, this is a little bit sad to me, as I always did have a bit of a soft spot towards Vista. Outside of Windows 10, it is the only version of Windows I ever had -ON- launch day! The Mrs. and I bought new laptops at that time. She bought an acer 15.6" with Windows XP the day before, and I was detained so I couldn't go with her, or else I likely would've done the same. The unintended delay was for the better though, as it put me in the store facing the choice between a much more responsible laptop with XP, or a nicer HP laptop with launch-day Vista. Screw responsibility! :-) Anyway, Aero simply blew me away with it. I welcomed the new aesthetic in Windows 10, because by then, I was bored with Aero, and never took too strongly to Metro in Windows 8. But for the time, Aero was just incredible! Hell, it's STILL good looking to this day, just dated. I also liked the new, "watery" soundscape of the OS sounds, and all the stuff it offered. Don't get me wrong, I think we've gained WAAAAAAAAYYYY more than we've lost in the time between Creator's Update and Vista, and would never think of going back even if I could....but it was the backdrop to an important era of my life, and thus, will always be filled with warm, happy memories for me! Bon Voyage, Windows Vista! Thanks for a few years of computing enjoyment! :-)
  • Vista was OK for me (I had up to date hardware). I thought it was also a bit fragile and took good maintenance practices to keep responsive. I invested a lot in Vista, both as a beta tester and a user and tried to enjoy it. But I always seemed to be having to solve some issue with the OS. I got tired of that. The XP Forever and anti-Microsoft crowds managed to ruin Vista's reputation before it even released, as anybody who took part in the TechBeta program and frequented the newsgroups can attest. I don't think Vista had a fair chance to attract users, especially when it clearly had performance issues. Windows 7 was well done , further overshadowing Vista. I think that also colors my memory of Vista today. I didn't want my desktop or laptop to look like a phone so I bypassed 8, even though I ran the previews for a year. Windows 10, however, is a powerful and intriguing platform for me. I just don't see opting for the older versions now that 10 the other choice. I just don't. I thought I would keep 7 around awhile because of legacy software needs but that never happened. Everything I have been running for the past decade runs fine on 10. I never considered even for a moment keeping Vista around for any reason once a suitable replacement appeared. So, Goodbye, Vista. RIP.
  • Oddly enough, Microsoft still supports Windows Server 2008 (R1), which is on the exact same kernel as Vista!  Its End of Support date is the same as Windows Server 2008 R2 (Windows 7 kernel)! I'm wondering if someone will end up dissecting Server 2008 R1 updates to make them work with Vista?