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Microsoft Ends Windows Vista Support

Microsoft is officially ending all support for Windows Vista, the famously unpopular operating system that debuted 10 years ago. After April 11, Microsoft will no longer provide free or paid support, automatic fixes, updates, online technical assistance or security updates.

For Managed Service Providers (MSPs), it's a timely opportunity to migrate Vista customers to Windows 10. It also means the time is now to make sure Vista users have the latest available update or service pack installed.

Computers that continue to use Vista may be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses, according to Microsoft. Those that use Internet Explorer 9 may be exposed to additional threats, as that version of the browser is also no longer supported.

Microsoft has also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for download on Vista. Those who already have MSE installed will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates for a limited time, but MSE – or any other antivirus software, for that matter – will have limited effectiveness on PCs that do not have the latest security updates.

In addition to security threats, Vista users can increasingly expect to encounter apps and devices that are not compatible with the operating system, as software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows.

The end of Vista support will not create a huge disruption among businesses or consumers. As of March 2017, Vista’s market share was only 0.72 percent, according to Net Market Share. Windows 7 holds the bulk of market share at 49.42 percent, followed by Windows 10 with 25.36 percent. Windows XP, which debuted before Vista, still holds 7.44 percent of market share.

Vista was unpopular, in part, because of its disruptive and intrusive alerts when users tried to make changes. It also put a greater strain on computing resources like RAM and CPU. In light of those problems, many Microsoft users opted to stick with XP after the launch.

Businesses and consumers using more recent Microsoft operating systems have several years before they have to worry about the end of support. Windows 7 support ends on Jan. 14, 2020, while Windows 8 support ends on Jan. 10, 2023.