Microsoft is ending mainstream support for Windows Vista today, and I’m getting a little choked up just thinking about it.

OK, not quite, but in contrast with the PC users and Microsoft executives who would rather forget about the ill-fated operating system, I actually have lots of fond memories of Windows Vista.

As a reporter on the Microsoft beat, it provided me with endless material, from the Longhorn delays to the buggy rollout — culminating with one of my all-time favorite headlines: Man gets Windows Vista to work with printer.

Microsoft has long since moved on, and recovered with a successful Windows 7. Fewer than 10 percent of us are still using Windows Vista. Now all eyes are on Windows 8, slated for release later this year, with a new tile-based interface designed in part to boost the usage of Windows on tablets.

As explained by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, the end of mainstream support for Windows Vista means that Microsoft will no longer provide free updates, except for security-related patches. The operating system will continue to work if it’s on your PC. Extended support, providing updates on a paid basis, lasts another five years.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott notes that the bigger date to watch is April 8, 2014, when Microsoft ends all support for Windows Vista’s predecessor, Windows XP — which is still running on some 47 percent of PCs.

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  • Guest

    I used Microsoft Vista for years without incident. Yet another incidence of a Microsoft product receiving bad reviews from people who didn’t understand it.

    Thank you, Microsoft, for having repackaged Vista as Windows 7 and having been so successful with the latter.

    • Guest

      The fact that it took the entire Windows team almost two years to basically right the wrongs of Vista and create W7, should be your first clue about how unfinished and poorly conceived it was. Even MS now acknowledges the product’s many shortcomings. It marked the beginning of the rapid increase in defections to OS X, which has gained share in every quarter since Vista’s release (something that even W7’s subsequent and rather impressive success has been unable to reverse). Most important, MS lost a lot of credibility and years of time when they should have been focusing on what was next (e.g. mobile, tablets) instead of fixing past mistakes.

      • Guest

        Vista worked great for me. How about you?

        • ‘Red’ Russak

          Was a huge fan of the “transparency” and considering all I needed was to run Firefox, Vista made it look it good ;-) (PS: Dear Guest, the $$ is in the box. Reveal yourself!)

        • Guest

          Can’t address the points above, huh?

          • Guest

            What points? You’re a great storyteller, Hank, but your tales are fiction.

          • Guest

            Then you should have no problem refuting each of them. Please proceed…

    • JR

      “bad reviews from people who didn’t understand it” … not EVERYONE in the universe is a tech geek.  Most of us just want stuff to work well.  Vista definitely did not.

  • Jimft

    Tried Windows 8 and it sucked. Might be good for tablets but on PCs it is terrible. I would rather use Windows Vista, or even Windows ME.

    • Mark

      Awesome contentless rant. You lost all crediblity when you said you’d prefer Vista or ME to W8. I can see someone not liking Metro, but you can live in the desktop view and run various hacks to get back the start menu. In which case you have everything of Windows 7 with several nice additions and even better performance. Vista or ME don’t even come close.

  • John W Baxter

    Vista did fine for me on two Win 7 logo machines (one early, one later). Both installations succumbed to Win 7 betas. These were not mission-critical machines.

  • Dan

    I think the real story is your part about how many PCs currently use Windows XP. The OS is eleven years old, but remains in use at many Fortune 500 companies. You’d think that hardware attrition rates would have cut down XP’s market share over time.

    • Guest

      “You’d think that hardware attrition rates would have cut down XP’s market share over time.”

      Most of those orgs have approved standards. So it doesn’t matter what OS a new PC comes with. That gets wiped and replaced with the org standard image.

  • JR

    YOU’RE getting choked up?  Vista choked up my laptops so bad they went extinct almost overnight. Microsoft and PC manufacturers were not honest about the CPU power and RAM required to support Vista.  Windows 7 was a huge relief – and just in time.  Totally restored my confidence in Microsoft.  Vista = never again, Microsoft

  • Christopher Budd

    It’s a real shame because in one way at Microsoft, Vista represented a significant victory.

    Coming out of the crucible that was the security issues in 2002 and 2003 (Windows XP Critical Vulnerabilities, Slammer, Blaster) Vista represented a stepping stone where security became a genuine priority in the development process. SDL was in its early stages, developers had been through training to really think about security as part of their jobs, and you saw a lot of real security innovations that we take for granted (and have been influential in the industry as a whole).Vista had a lot of problems, to be fair. But for those of us who were in security at Microsoft, it was a watershed that clearly marks a “before” and an “after”.

  • Cluelessanddellusional

    Vista was the bestest.
    Windows Phone is cleaning up in mobile.
    Windows 8 will turns things around for MS in tablets.
    The stock will reach $100 by June.
    Steve Ballmer is the best CEO of his generation.

  • eknirb

    Used Vista from 07-11; never had a prob with it- not once.  Win7 is great, but Vista got a bad rap, IMO

    • Anthony Stevens

      Me too – October ’07 – February ’12. Vista worked incredibly well for me.

  • Aaron Evans

    But a lot more than 10% of us are still using Windows XP or earlier.

  • Basic George

    I love vista and all its quirks and the fact that it has absolutely everything youd want, perfomed great on any decently powered pc by the time I got it in 08, Ive been trying to find a clean 64nbit,copy, wish I had the techno abilities to continue to play with it, I love you vista good bye!!!!!!!!!

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