Microsoft has two levels of support for its Windows products, Mainstream Support and Extended Support. The first is free and the second costs money. The free level of support just ended April 10, 2012, meaning that only critical security fixes will be released by Windows through April 2017. And if you’ve got an issue with Vista, it’ll cost you money to get support for it. And don’t expect to be able redeem your Vista warranty free of charge, either.

This all-too-frequent Vista blue screen of death was a familiar sight.

Looking back at Windows Vista

Released in late 2006, Windows Vista was almost immediately criticized for its crash bugs, lack of compatibility with Windows XP drivers and devices, and certification on PCs that obviously couldn’t run it well. Many users (such as myself) performed a downgrade back to Windows XP after only using Vista for a short time. It wasn’t until the release of Windows 7 three years later that Microsoft was able to redeem itself with a stable, fast OS that many saw as the true successor to XP.

So should I still use Windows Vista on my PC?

Instead of paying for support for Vista after this week, it’s now going to be much more cost effective for you to just go ahead and pick up a copy of Windows 7 to install. If your machine can run Vista, odds are it can run 7 better. And your free support for Windows 7 won’t run out for a long, long time — Windows 8 isn’t even out yet.

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