Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April 10 is the day Vista dies

When you log on to a Windows PC, odds are good that there will be updates of some sort waiting for you. The bubble pops up, and you grudgingly apply the updates, restart if necessary, then go on with your day. This is an experience users of Windows Vista will be having a lot less often going forward. No, Microsoft isn’t streamlining the updates — April 10, 2012 is the end of full support for the black sheep of the Redmond family, Windows Vista.
Windows Vista launched back in 2007 to a nearly unanimous chorus of jeers from reviewers and users alike. The OS was plagued with odd bugs and random slowdowns. Hardware compatibility was also atrocious. Patches and Service Packs eventually fixed most of the problems, but Vista’s name was too sullied to succeed.
Perhaps this disastrous launch is the reason for Windows XP’s continued use. A huge number of PCs still run Microsoft’s 11 year-old software, and support for XP is continuing for two more years. Not bad considering it came out 6 years before Vista.
This doesn’t mean that users of Vista are being left totally out in the cold. While full support is ending, the operating system will be entering what is generously known as “extended support.” Microsoft will continue to offer important security patches, but that’s just about it. All other updates and support for the software will be provided on a paid-only basis. For regular people, though, this is the end of Vista updates.
The bubble of extended support will continue until 2017, when the handful of remaining Vista users will finally have to update to some other flavor of Windows. In addition to Vista, Office 2007 is exiting full support. Whether or not you personally used Vista, it’s been fascinating to watch the world’s biggest software company take a mulligan on an entire operating system.


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