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Mainstream Support for Windows Vista Ends

April 10 marked the ending date for mainstream support of Windows Vista, according to Microsoft's Vista lifecycle chart. Microsoft's product lifecycle for its enterprise software typically consists of two five-year support periods, including "mainstream support" and "extended support."

Mainstream support includes options to get paid support, non-security hotfix support and security updates from Microsoft, among other matters. Some of those options will disappear for Vista users on April 10, 2012, although the crucial security updates will continue to flow for another five years. Notably, Vista users will lose "no-charge incident support," warranty claims will expire and organizations won't be able to get design and feature change requests completed through Microsoft. See Microsoft's product lifecycle FAQ for all of the details.

Essentially, Vista will be entering Microsoft's extended support phase for another five years, starting on April 10. However, many organizations likely still use the decade-old Windows XP, having skipped Vista. Current data from Net Applications show Windows XP use leading at 47 percent, followed by Windows 7 use at 38 percent, while Vista use trails far behind at eight percent.

Also, mainstream support ended a few years ago for Windows XP -- April 14, 2009 -- with the OS ending extended support April 8, 2014, according to Microsoft's Windows XP lifecycle chart. A Microsoft blog notes that Office 2003 also will lose extended support at the same time as Windows XP.

Once Microsoft products exit extended support, they are called "unsupported products" by Microsoft. Fixes are available on a static basis through existing Microsoft online support resources. Alternatively, organizations can contact a Microsoft partner to get assistance. Microsoft lists its "retired product support options" here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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