Microsoft end support for Vista: What are your options?

Here's how to find out if your machine is running Vista...

Microsoft's Windows Vista arrived onto devices a decade ago. With it came a new look for the operating system and the arrival of 'Windows Search', which presented search results as you typed. After ten years of support, Vista is no more. 

Vista's cleaner interface was broadly welcomed by users. The graphical design was known as Windows Aero and featured transparent windows and live thumbnails.

Some users reported, however, that the features of Aero impacted the battery life of their laptops. 

The instant search feature, known as Windows Search, helped users find files much quicker than any previous version of the operating system. The results could be organised by file type and size. 

 

As of Tuesday April 11th, support for Windows Vista has ended. In a blog post, the company explained that Vista customers will no longer receive "new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft."

The reasoning for this is so that the company can "invest our resources towards more recent technologies". 

Options

If you are running Windows Vista, you have some options available to you. If you're unsure of what version of Windows you're running, click on the Start button in the left corner and type winver into the search box. Double-click on winver within the results to open About Windows. If it says Vista, then these options are for you. 

Leave it

It's worth noting that your computer will continue to work, even if you don't upgrade from Windows Vista. It will be more vulnerable to security risks and viruses, however. Software and hardware manufacturers will no longer optimise their products and services for Vista. This means certain items will no longer be compatible with the software. 

There are certain steps anyone determined to hold onto their Vista devices should follow in an attempt to boost their security somewhat. These are by no means airtight ways of protecting your device but should help.

  • Ensure a firewall is in place
  • Move away from Internet Explorer and use Google Chrome as the primary browser
  • Download an antivirus programme
  • Run the antivirus regularly and opt against the browser storing personal information

Upgrade to Windows 10

Windows 10 is the most recent version of Microsoft's operating system. Support for this software will continue until 2025.

Microsoft recommend this as the best way to stay protected. You need to check if you're computer can host Windows 10, however. Find out here

Users familiar with Vista should take to Win10 without too many issues. While tile display is different, it is very user-friendly. 

Regardless of which option you decide to go with, it's worth taking some time to backup all of the important information stored on your device.

You can either save your files to something like Dropbox or save to an external hard-drive.