Wagoneer89, You've got two issues.
Here's the first. Can you get your system "authenticated" so it continues to work? At one point -- up to last April -- you could fiddle around in the Control Panel and click on something that connected you with an actual live human being (okay, maybe somebody in India but close enough for our purposes) or maybe some software that produced sounds almost like humans, and would be guided through entering that 25-character code. I dunno if that's still around -- I think the real live human beings got disconnected back about last May, 30 days after Microsoft officially pulled the plug on Vista, but the software might still be there, and maybe you can find the magic place in the Control Panel that gets you there. (I'm in Win 7 on an authenticated system at the moment, and I can't find that spot here -- I think it drops off the menu when Microsoft decides you're a Good Person.)
Anyhow, there are people hereabouts who install Vista maybe once a month on virtual machines and maybe even on real machines and they can probably guide you through process if you ask them nicely. If worst comes to worst, there are procedures you can use, a couple of instructions in the Command Line, that will extend your authorization period and keep your Vista alive for another month, and then another month, and another month .... I can't recite them off my head this very moment, but Google will probably get you to them.
The second issue is, How do you get updates, so your Vista operating system is a little bit more current than 2006? And this has two answers. The first is, Go to the MICROSOFT UPDATE CATALOG -- type that into Google and you'll go there -- and if your installation of Vista hasn't been upgraded to Service Pack 2, update your system. After that, go back into the MUC, tell it you want updates for "Vista x64 SP2" or something like that and spend the next few hours downloading and installing stuff. Okay, it might be a day or so.
This (sort of ) happily comes to an end at last, because Microsoft hasn't been creating a bunch of Windows Vista updates since last April. But Microsoft has been producing updates for something called Windows Server 2008, which is very much like Vista with some different bells and whistles, and which Microsoft promises to support until 2020, which is three years longer than Vista got. And it turns out that many of the software upgrades that go into Server 2008 will also go quite nicely into Vista. There's a message thread here, with about a hundred comments in it, from people who have been doing just that. Look for it. Read. Smile happily. Spread the word,
Edited by mike_shupp, 19 January 2018 - 12:00 AM.