Microsoft Ending Windows Vista Mainstream Support on Tuesday

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If you need to make a warranty claim or get incident support on a Windows Vista PC, now's the time.

On Tuesday, Microsoft will end "Mainstream Support" for Windows Vista, moving into an "Extended Support" phase that lasts through April 11, 2017. Microsoft will no longer offer of no-charge incident support, warranty claims and design fixes for the 5-year-old operating system.

For IT pros or users who need to make specific fixes to the commercial Windows code, Microsoft will require an extended hotfix agreement, which must be purchased within 90 days from Tuesday.

As part of the Extended Support phase, Vista users will still be able to get security updates, and can still pay for support per-incident, per-hour or in other ways. Of course, Microsoft will still make Windows Vista product information available through its online Knowledge Base.

Microsoft stopped selling Windows Vista at retail in October 2010, and PC makers stopped selling Vista-based computers in October 2011, according to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle fact sheet. The company has not yet given a timeline for when it will stop selling Windows 7, as the company works on the launch of Windows 8 this year.

Vista is widely regarded as one of Microsoft's biggest failures, and one of the worst operating systems of all time, due to bloat, sluggishness and hardware incompatibilities. Although the end of Mainstream Support for Vista is part of Microsoft's standard product lifecycle, the company is no doubt eager to put the days of Vista behind it.

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