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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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