Windows Vista is officially dead, here's why you need to stop using it

Key Points
  • Windows Vista will no longer be supported by Microsoft
  • Windows Vista no longer receiving security patches

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Getty Images

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it's ending all support for Windows Vista, effective immediately.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pictured above has famously called Windows Vista his biggest regret. It was eventually replaced two years later by Windows 7. Your copy of Windows Vista isn't just going to stop working, but there are many reasons why you should upgrade to something newer. (I recommend Windows 10.)

First, Microsoft will stop issuing all security updates, hotfixes and support options for Windows Vista. That means your system could potentially be more vulnerable to hacks, malware and other attacks, since Microsoft won't be working to make sure it's secure.

"If you continue to use Windows Vista after support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses," Microsoft said in its support forums. "Internet Explorer 9 is no longer supported, so if your Windows Vista PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 9 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter more apps and devices that do not work with Windows Vista. "

You can find out if you're running Windows Vista by opening the start menu and typing "winver" in the search box. Open "Winver" and then open "About Windows." If you see "Windows Vista," well, it's time to move on.

Correction: This story was revised to correct the product for which Microsoft announced it is ending support. It is Windows Vista. Steve Ballmer is former CEO of Microsoft. An earlier version misstated his status.