Support for Windows Vista has ended, what can you do?
Among the tech set there has always been an unwritten rule when it comes to iterations of the Windows operating system. They say that you should skip every other release. For example, Windows 7 was a big hit among users, while Windows 8 was not very popular to say the least. Meanwhile the current generation OS, Windows 10, has been begrudgingly popular. (For the record, there was no Windows 9.) Now, one of those installations that should have been skipped, Windows Vista, has come to its end of life cycle, meaning parent company Microsoft will no longer support the operating system with security updates and patches.
That doesn’t mean that there still aren’t machines out there using the now discontinued operating system. If you have one of those machines, you may be wondering what your options are when it comes to securing your computer. Unfortunately, the solutions aren’t that great. If you continue to use a Vista machine that’s connected to the internet you can run into several security issues that could compromise your machine with malware and viruses that could render your machine inoperable in a worst case scenario. Users of Windows 7 and 8 were offered free upgrades of Windows 10, unfortunately that offer was not extended to users of Vista. That means if you wanted to update to Windows 10 you could either shell out $120 for the operating system itself or several hundred dollars to buy a new machine that comes pre-installed with Windows 10.
There is a small light at the end of the tunnel though if you’re willing to take some steps out of your comfort zone. If you’re currently running Vista, that more than likely means you’re running an older machine since Vista was only released on machines from 2007 to 2009. If you’re not afraid to experiment there are a number of free operating systems out there that are specifically designed to work on older machines while keeping them secure. Most of them are free alternatives to Windows known as Linux. While you can’t necessarily run Windows programs on them, there are many free alternatives to the Windows programs that you’re used to using. The most popular versions of Linux currently are Ubuntu and Linux Mint which both have a strong community and detailed instructions to get you started. While installing Linux may seem intimidating at first, it becomes easier as it goes along. Not only will this keep your machine secure for the foreseeable future but it will keep you from having to spend additional funds as well.