In our last article, we spoke about the ransomware which crippled, amongst other large organisations, the NHS, mainly because their computer systems were still running the hugely outdated Windows XP operating system. In fact, any computer user who is still using Windows XP is at risk of being struck by any type of malware or ransomware, by which we mean that all their data, including photos, coursework etc, could be lost forever.
Well this also applies to anyone still running Windows Vista on their PC. And there are many people out there. Mainstream support for Windows Vista actually ended on April 10, 2012, but Microsoft continued to offer support options and updates as part of its extended support phase. However, that came to an end on 11th April of this year.
Microsoft has confirmed that "After April 11, 2017, Windows Vista customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates. Microsoft has provided support for Windows Vista for the past 10 years, but the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences."
Windows Vista will continue to work after 11th April, but if new security vulnerabilities or bugs are found - and believe me, that will happen - Microsoft will not issue updates to fix them. Some programs will continue to work and you can still run security software to keep your device as safe as you can, but fact of the matter is you are basically putting yourself at risk.
The longer you stay with Windows Vista or XP, the higher the chance of you becoming a victim of cyber-crime. Cyber-criminals target out of date operating systems due to their vulnerability, therefore updating your operating system will safeguard you from these external threats and help keep your system more secure with continued Microsoft mainstream support and patches.
Another thing to consider is what will happen to Windows Vista support when it comes to popular programs. Google, for instance, stopped supporting Windows Vista in the Chrome browser nearly a year ago, and Mozilla is now doing the same thing with Firefox.
For those of you who do wish to upgrade to Windows 10, our next article will cover buying new or refurbished PC’s and laptops, on which this latest Microsoft operating system is installed.