What Happened with Windows Vista?

What Happened with Windows Vista

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Windows 10 has been consistent with their updates and is now a lot better than when Microsoft was originally getting dunked on for forcing people to upgrade. In fact, the recent May 2019 update added support for a light theme, offers an improved UI, and more. But way before Windows 10, there was Windows Vista.

Now that Windows 10 is in its prime, what happened with Windows Vista? Read more to find out!

The Vista History: How It All Began

Despite Windows Vista being in development for 5 years– and looking promising when it was initially launched in 2006– it was… serviceable for the next 6 years, to put it nicely.

In fact, just 18 months after its release, Forrester Research reported that only 8.8% of enterprise PCs worldwide were running Vista. Compared to over 80% of the 600 million computer users worldwide that used Windows OS (Win 95/98 and Windows NT/2000) in 2001. It was pretty clear that something was off with this newly-dressed OS.

Aside from the odd security issues it encountered shortly after it was released, it also ate up way more resources than what most computers could handle at that time. To give you a reference, Windows XP only had 35 million lines of code when it was released while Vista had 50 million… and Windows 7 only had 40 million lines.

There’s no denying that software bloat definitely played a huge role in slowing down Windows Vista machines, especially when it was running on anything but the latest and fastest hardware.

Another factor that contributed to Vista’s end was Apple’s I’m a Mac ad campaign that deemed Windows Vista made for a boring, buggy, and complicated-to-use computer. While I hate to agree with ads, Apple wasn’t completely wrong at the time. Even though Windows Vista responded to Apple’s ad with their I’m a PC campaign, 2 years is kind of too late to patch up the damage, even with the updates and fixes made over the years.

But at this point, Microsoft was already working hard on Windows 7 which was scheduled to be released in 2010. Ultimately, the accelerated, soul-crushing schedule Microsoft enforced on its programmers pushed Windows 7 resulted to an earlier release. And finally, in October 2009, Windows 7 was released.

The End Of Life (EOL) of Windows Vista

The release of the Windows 7 OS on July 22, 2009 paved a clear way for Window’s Vista to eventually hit its End Of Life (EOL) on April 2012. As a reference, End Of Life (EOL) is, according to Wikipedia:

a term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is at the end of its useful life (from the vendor’s point of view), and a vendor stops marketing, selling, or rework sustaining it.

Thanks to widespread dissatisfaction with Windows Vista, Windows 7 performed well.

At a glance, Windows 7 is just a fine-tuned version of Windows Vista but with a significantly faster speed, fewer bloatware, less cluttered UI, new features such as the Device and Printers section, and more stable performance, thanks to the re-engineering between Windows XP and Windows Vista.

With everything going smoothly with the Windows 7 OS, Microsoft finally decided to end the mainstream support for Windows Vista on April 10, 2012. After the mainstream support period is over, the extended support phase starts.

Like mainstream support, this also lasts a minimum of 5 years. During this phase, there will be no redesigns or feature updates anymore. The only thing that Microsoft does in this phase is update and patch potential security issues and bugs.

This means Windows Vista support ended on April 11, 2017. After that, any machine running Vista was at risk of cyber attacks.

What Happens Then?

So why are Vista PCs at risk of cyber attacks? Well, it’s pretty simple. Without new security patches to address newly found security flaws, anyone with a little technical know-how could instantly exploit your device once a hack had been found, even if that hack was originally found by someone else halfway around the world.

If you’re using Vista, online attackers can easily intercept your data via malicious software or programs and take full control of your device remotely without you even knowing it.

Windows Vista OS users were left with no choice but to move on and upgrade to the more modern Windows OS. But doing so isn’t going to be easy, especially for users who have important files stored in the Windows Vista machine.

In-Place Update

Fortunately, Microsoft had provided users with in-place update. This basically lets you keep all your important files after you upgrade to a completely new OS.

If for whatever reason, you’re still using a Windows Vista OS in 2019, and you intend to upgrade to a Windows 8 or 10 OS, I’m afraid you’ll have to refer to the below workaround as the in-place update only works for Windows 7 OS.

Cloud Backup Solutions

If you want to upgrade from Windows Vista to a Windows 8 or Windows 10 OS, you can still use your flash drive as your physical backup device. If you don’t have a lot of data to move over, then you could use free cloud storage services, such as:

You can always store more for a price so make sure you do a comparison ahead to choose according to your file storage size needs.

It’s also likely that some of the programs or games you want to play are only compatible with Windows Vista. However, it’s still recommended for old Vista users to upgrade to the Windows 10 OS. Luckily, there are a couple of workarounds– although your mileage may vary– to make them work on these newer machines:

  1. A Virtual Machine
  2. Run compatibility mode

A virtual machine is a software that emulates another device or operating system within a running operating system. This allows you to run a Windows Vista OS or basically any OS on your Windows 10 machine. It’s like an OS-ception (I’m kidding, but you get the point! *wink*)

Switching over from a Windows Vista OS to a newer OS is a little complicated if you are a business as it’s going to take a lot of work to do so. Users had 2 options back then:

  1. Follow the above-mentioned options
  2. Use image cloning software

Other businesses, specifically, in Europe, are subject to regulations that require them to have their software updated constantly. It’s all the more important for businesses that handle private data and sensitive files to upgrade in a timely manner because using an outdated OS isn’t just a threat to cyber attacks, it’s also a legal problem in specific countries.


With Windows 10 at its prime, should you still worry about having to upgrade to a new OS in the next 5 years? The answer is: Yes, definitely. Technology– and capitalism– continue to churn forward, so there will be a demand for new and improved OS updates into the foreseeable future.

However, it’s worth noting that you should have at least 3 copies of your important files in different storage devices so you can easily do an upgrade when that time comes. At the moment, just enjoy what Windows 10 OS is offering as it’s getting better and better with every update.

Andrew is one of three co-founders of BGFG, the parent company of PC Guide. A keen gamer and PC enthusiast, Andrew dabbles in a bit of writing sometimes - when he gets the chance to!