On Tuesday, Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Vista, leaving a host of Windows shops without security updates, technical content, and more. The 10-year support cycle for Vista is up, so Microsoft is moving to invest "resources towards more recent technologies" so it can "continue to deliver great new experiences."
Although Microsoft has been planning the move for a while, it officially announced the end of Vista support in a blog post on the company's website. According to the post, Windows Vista users "will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft."
The news means that organizations will have a more difficult time maintaining a strong security posture and could lose access to some apps, as updates could render them incompatible with Vista. Here are four options for Vista users looking to make an upgrade.
1. Windows 10
At the time of this writing, Windows 10 is the most current version of Microsoft's operating system. Microsoft will continue the 10-year support cycle, meaning that upgrading to Windows 10 will likely guarantee support until October 14, 2025.
Moving to Windows 10 will guarantee you access to the latest applications and integrations, but it will also move your deployment from a CAPEX model to OPEX, as it is delivered as a service. Windows 10, while robust in personalization, has raised concerns among privacy advocates for its reliance on user data. Check out this article on ZDNet to see if your machines will run Windows 10.
2. Windows 8
Windows 8, known for its Live Tiles design, was Microsoft's first major attempt to bridge the gap between mobile and desktop. Support for Windows 8 will extend until January 10, 2023. Some of the features are a definite improvement over Windows Vista, but the design makes it a difficult sell for anyone who isn't also using an older Windows smartphone as well.
3. Windows 7
When it comes to the overall share of businesses running Windows, Windows 7 is the largest—hands down. According to a recent Spiceworks study, some 69% of businesses are primarily using Windows 7, with a penetration rate of 87%.
In addition to Windows 7 simply being popular, there are a host of tips and tricks to make it perform better and customize it to work in your organization. However, keep in mind that the extended support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020.
4. Open source
In 2014, Munich made headlines when it ditched Microsoft for Linux. The city has since decided to move back to Windows by 2021, but the saga highlights the growing success of massive open source deployments, even in regulated industries like government. Options like Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, ReactOS, and more give you plenty of options.
- Windows 10: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10: Will your PC run it? (ZDNet)
- 'Critical' Microsoft Office hack uses fake Word documents to install malware (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft commits to 10-year support lifecycle for Windows 10 (ZDNet)
- Windows 10 Creators Update: Here's what to look out for (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.