We're almost two weeks away from Windows Vista's official End of Life (EoL) date, April 11, 2017, more than ten years after Microsoft officially launched Windows, back in January 2007.
Microsoft already stopped mainstream support for Vista on April 10, 2012, but continued to provide extended support for paying customers.
Microsoft has also issued a few security updates for Vista, but this will stop altogether after April 11, which is only 16 days away.
Users can still install and use Vista, but an anti-malware or zero-day prevention software is recommended, just like in XP's case.
"If you continue to use Windows Vista after support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses," Microsoft said in a statement. "Internet Explorer 9 is no longer supported, so if your Windows Vista PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 9 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats."
"Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows Vista," the company added.
For its part, Microsoft is urging users to update to newer OS versions, pushing customers to Windows 10, an OS the company many times lauded as its most secure to date.
Windows 10 is not being offered as a free Windows 10 upgrade anymore, so users will most likely have to pay for a newer version of Windows. They can also go the route of a Mac, or a Linux distros (which are open source and free).
Vista was never a fan favorite. The press and IT experts didn't like it either, many considering a quick cash cow on Redmond's part before releasing Windows 7, which looked like the polished Vista version users wanted from the get-go.
Currently, the OS has a 1.12% market share among all Windows installations, according to StatCounter. Windows XP, the OS it was supposed to replace, has a huge fanbase, even today, totaling 5.53% of the entire Windows install base.
Since most of Vista's market share today comes from businesses, if you're company is still on the OS, you need to tap your IT guy on the shoulder and remind him to plan an upgrade ASAP.
The security threat of running abandonware far outweighs the work needed to move users to a new OS, even if that OS is Linux, something that most Windows users have a hard time adjusting to.