back to article Microsoft kills Windows Vista SP1 support

Microsoft is once again trying to bump the 10 per cent market share of people and businesses still lumbered with the company's unloved Windows Vista over to its latest operating system. The software vendor's Brandon LeBlanc reminded customers in a terse blog post that support for Vista Service Pack 1 ended yesterday. Cue the …


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  1. Michael 47
    Thumb Down

    Not really fair on businesses

    To say 'just upgrade to SP2 or windows 7' is fairly simple for a home user, but for large companies, rolling out major OS upgrades can be a months long project. Hopefully businesses can still get teh support they needs for a while since vista isn't even that old yet

    1. Michael Vasey


      It's not like MS just discontinue OS support on a whim. It happens according to a published schedule. Presumably any business using Vista would have been aware of the SP1 version going out of support and had plans in place for the upgrade in advance of that point. If they weren't keeping track, that's their own fault and entirely their problem.

      1. Lance 3


        "It's not like MS just discontinue OS support on a whim."

        But they are still supporting XP but yet killing Vista off far sooner. You would expect the last XP SP to be killed off right around when Vista SP-1 is killed of.

        1. Vigilante

          That would happen normally

          Due to XPs prevalence in the workplace, and Vistas not particularly successful launch, Microsoft was forced to support XP for a lot longer than they wanted.

          Businesses demanded that XP be supported until well into the life cycle of the OS past Vista, for those companies that had to maintain XP-era systems that couldn't handle Vista. Microsoft obliged.

          As such, we have the current state of affairs. Vista SP2 will be supported until April 10th 2012 for Ultimate and Home Basic. Home Premium, Business and Enterprise will be in extended support at that time (like xp now) until April 11 2017.

    2. Marco van de Voort

      Not really fair to consumers

      On the other hand, larger businesses have licenses to run any version of Windows. Consumers actually have up to cough up extra cash.

  2. John70

    Licenses Sold

    "We recommend folks look at upgrading to Windows 7, which is the fastest selling operating system in history, selling over 400 million licences to date," wrote LeBlanc.

    There is a difference between licenses sold and licenses in use.

    Does this figure include OEMs who's computers are still in the showroom waiting to be sold?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Also includes...

      HUGE estates that are still running XP Pro (becuase it works and does blow goats like Vista). I am talking about estates of 100k employees all on XP with 10k's of PCs with "Windows 7" stickers that are running XP (and very well too thank you).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Also includes...

      HUGE estates that are still running XP Pro (becuase it works and doesn't blow goats like Vista). I am talking about estates of 100k employees all on XP with 10k's of PCs with "Windows 7" stickers that are running XP (and very well too thank you).

    3. Anonymous Coward


      Stop carping. Even if there were 50 million computers in showrooms, 350 million licences sold would still be a huge amount. Whichever way you cut it the figures are impressive!!

  3. Danny 5
    Thumb Up


    Vista support will be gone before XP support, now isn't THAT a laugh! (And false, but that doesn't matter).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Read it again... Vista SP1 support will end before XP support ends. This does not mean that they're stopping supporting Vista SP2 onwards. The same happened with NT4, W2K and XP.

      1. Crofty616


        The article states that Vista SP1 support ended yesterday, so that would be a given. It then concludes with "we think its a fair bet that Vista support for all versions will end before XP finally expires in 2014" I'm pretty sure he isn't the one who's needs to read it again ;).

  4. Refugee from Windows

    Free upgrade

    The best way would have been to offer a free upgrade to W7 after the fiasco that is Vista. This is the one that had it dragged on could have killed them. We hope they learnt from their mistake this time. They possibly haven't and are saving up a fresh version of misery as they seem to do in alternating releases?

    Penguin- as Vista drove many over to the other side!

    1. Roger Greenwood
      Thumb Up

      "the other side"

      That would be 1% each for linux & android then, and 6% mac/ipad etc. Not that many (and certainly not enough to dent MS figures too badly). Free upgrade? Dream on - this is M$.

      (Currently counting down the 1000 days to oblivion when all our machines stop working. Or maybe not.)

      1. Vic


        > That would be 1% each for linux & android then

        Your figures are very different from the declaration Ballmer gave to the SEC (a lie in which could lead to jail time for him).

        Perhaps you'd like to cite the source of your numbers.

        Of course, Ballmer might just be lying...


        1. Roger Greenwood

          Vic:- Reference as per Kelly's article


          Feel free to disagree with the numbers, these things will depend how you measure them of course, and who is paying for the "research".

          1. Vic

            netmarketshare's numbers...

            > Feel free to disagree with the numbers

            Oh, I will.

            "We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers".

            So they're just parsing the UAs from the web logs of their own site.

            This does not constitute a robust methodology; if I were to do that on my sites, for example, I would get >98% Linux share. But I wouldn't dream of claiming that to be representative.


    2. kevin biswas

      What, just like they gave everyone who bought Win98 free u/g to win98SE ??

      Oh yeah, they didn't do that either.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Some groups still need Vista

    Yes, that's right. Some people still need Vista! These are people who need IE7 and Java 6r18, but also need Office 2010 and Bitlocker. Yes, it's a Government run operation.

  6. Chris 244

    Sorry in advance for the shouty bits

    Bought a laptop with Vista installed. After getting stuck with a POS MS OS, do you think I would actually consider PAYING THE BASTARDS MORE MONEY TO GET WHAT I SHOULD ALREADY HAVE?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      All you need to do is update to SP2, no cost involved.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Simple ..



      Sent my Windows 7 Phone

      1. Ilgaz


        Apple just shipped a security+java update to OS X Leopard (10.5) while 10.7 is up soon.

        Of course, these updates will end at some point soon but no idiots work at Apple who logs on their corporate blog at morning and posts a such misundertandable post. Entire industry and general userbase knows "7" is really a paid service pack to Vista.

        There is a reason people don't upgrade to 7, it is because their Vista works fine with quality hardware, software and drivers. That is why people and IT media is touchy about the subject and MS doesn't miss a chance to troll.

        They will pay for these little looking mistakes. I bet some may move to Apple instead of Win 7 if they misunderstand or a last drop situation happens.

        1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

          Vista upgrade

          I am lumbered with a Vista laptop. I say lumbered, because I refuse to pay the £200 to upgrade it to 7 (although I can get a £20 discount to upgrade from my OEM Vista!). I also have a Win 7 laptop. Neither of them can connect propely to the SOHO NAS because they can't join domains. Neither support briefcase. For that reason I still prefer the XP Pro on the oldest laptop.

          The newest laptop runs Mac OS. I didn't swallow the pill hook line and sinker. It doesn't "just work", but bloody hell it works better. It connected to the NAS, without even thinking about it and can see all the other laptops (that aren't on a domain) even without a WINS server; it does windows networking better than windows. What's more, there is only ONE version; you select what your language is in the settings (no more buying 5 different versions of windows to support 5 different nationalities of users). The ONE version has everything. You want to play media, it plays media (Bluray excepted). Want to connect to a network? a domain? fine.

          1. JC_


            It's been in Windows for over a decade. Just get the Ultimate or Enterprise edition.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Thumb Down

              @ JC_

              Just get the ultimate edition??? Amazing how easy that rolls off the tongue.

              Alternative I could "just get OS/Linux", which has these things already.

            2. Ocular Sinister

              Over a decade?

              I have the Enterprise version of XP at work and there is no sign of multi-language. Perhaps you mean Vista/7 - I don't know, I only used it for 10 minutes. But Vista was released at the end of 2006 - hardly a decade.

              I'm interested though - does this allow my French Girlfriend and Austrian mother to log in to my PC (usually English) and get a fully localized desktop and all applications in their native languages? Or do I need to do a new install as I recall doing repeatedly in my dark distant past as a localization engineer :-|

              1. JC_

                Mea Culpa

                If you installed English first, you can add other languages. Here's more info about multi-language support - apparently it started in Windows 2000 (though not very well, then) and has gotten better in subsequent releases:


                Those who came down like a ton of bricks on me for the "just get Ultimate", fair enough, I forgot what it costs without a site or MSDN license! Multi-language should be in all versions.

                1. nyelvmark

                  Multi-language should be in all versions.

                  Too right it should - ideally, it should have been in Windows from version 1 onwards, but when Windows was written I don't suppose anyone thought about it.

                  The concept is called 'localisation' today and is (or should be) considered at the earliest stage of design of a software product if the product is needed to be multilingual. In fact, it must be considered at this stage, because building it in as an afterthought is going to involve - effectively - starting again from scratch.

                  Don't think that it's a simple thing to do. Of course, you can go through the source code and replace every string literal with an index into a Text_Strings array, then initialise the indexed array element with the original text, to produce an en-us version (assuming that was the original language). To produce a German version of the program, you just need a German version of the Text_Strings array.

                  Unfortunately, German is a somewhat more verbose language than English, and many of the resulting text strings will be longer than the originals. The screen space needed to display them will therefore also need to be larger. The designers therefore need to revisit every message box, dialog etc. to make sure that the message is viewable in every supported language, including those that are written vertically.

                  And that's just the beginning. Consider this line of C:

                  displaystring = sprintf("Agent number "%n" has "%n" clients, and generated "%n" percent of our business", agnum, GetNumClients(agnum), .... );

                  In English, this will produce a string that makes sense, but other languages have different syntax and different grammar, and it isn't possible to produce meaningful output from this code in Hungarian, for example, just by replacing the string literals. This line of code, and probably many others, needs to be rewritten to construct meaningful sentences depending on the target language.

                  So in conclusion, Microsoft could have produced a language-neutral version of their OS long ago, but it might have cost them more than producing multiple versions.

                  The odd thing is that it's only available in (I think) Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, although, as I explain above, it requires a complete redesign of of the OS. I suggest that it's also in other other versions of Windows 7, but the installation of other language packs is disabled.

                2. Lance 3

                  Bad for licensing

                  If they put it in all versions, then how Microsoft operates would seriously have to change. People would be buying cheap licenses in foreign countries. Not that I care, but Microsoft does as it would hurt their profits.

      2. Lance 3

        Not Steve

        We know that isn't you "Steve" as if you were posting from a Windows 7 phone, it would nerver have gotten past Yes.

    3. unitron

      Of course we think that.

      After all, that's pretty much been their business model for years.

      Where's the evil Bill icon when you need it?

      Sherlock, because there's another way of saying "of course".

  7. David Hicks

    And where does this money come from?

    There's a free upgrade to Win 7 from Vista is there?

    Personally I took advantage of the manufacturer's downgrade media offer. Then switched entirely to linux.

  8. Nya

    Poor Bugger

    Well, that lone Vista SP1 user will have to upgrade soon than :P

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Went to the Vista user group meeting last week

    ... ticket said "Olympia London". Got worried I was at the wrong place. Then I realised it was in the phone box across the road from there.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Where's my XP discount?

    I'd upgrade if I could get a W7 discount as an XP user.

    I bought Office 2010 Pro for my home PC.

    The licence cost just $10 via my employers bulk software licence with MS.

    How about W7 for $10 as well?

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. JC_
      Thumb Down


      So, so wrong it's not even funny. You might like XP more than 7 - fair enough, it's your choice - but both under the hood and on the surface, 7 has massive improvements over XP. Just look at the GDI changes, for a start.

    2. ZweiBlumen

      It wasn't when it was first release

      XP only became good after SP2. What you are really saying is: " I like the way my XP works and don't want to change that so I won't upgrade". This is fine, but you can't say that W7 should function the same as XP. It's 10 years younger, things move on. I've upgraded all my systems to W7 and it rocks. It is also fast and lean as you put it. It runs just fine on my 5 year old cheapo Dell laptop which still has the sticker "designed for XP, Vista capable" on it.

  12. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Best upgrade

    The best upgrade you can do right now is to Linux.. My favorite is Fedora. Install it and feel the intelligence.. Automatically recognises hardware, software runs faster, machine does not heat up, etc.

    1. Crofty616

      For who?

      Maybe for you, but I'd like to see the look on that average worker in my office when they are faced with Linux. I've got nothing against it, but I don't think you can say its the "best upgrade" ...

      1. Anonymous Coward


        ....even I have temporarily decided to stick with Fedora 14 until I can decide if GNOME 3 is mature enough to move to. I'm well aware that GNOME 2 is now effectively no longer maintained, but until a little more flesh is put on the GNOME 3 bones I can't quite make myself commit to it without a simple path backwards.

      2. Crofty616


        2 thumbs down for that comment? I didn't realise I'd mentioned something about Apple....

        1. JC_

          Only 2 Thumbs Down?

          ...I got 3 for pointing out that Win7 (also 2k3 & 2k8) have big improvements over XP. If I took the comments more seriously I'd despair; fanboys will be fanboys, but still...

          Anyone that doubts there's been progress since XP should take a look at Mark Russinovich's videos and blog and maybe think again.

          1. Vic

            Thumbs down...

            > I got 3 for pointing out that Win7 (also 2k3 & 2k8) have big improvements over XP

            I've got 16 (so far) for saying that I'd yet to see a Win7 installation running faster than an XP one on the same hardware.

            Some people just don't like to see anything but high praise for their product of choice - even if the comment is both neutral and demonstrably true :-(

            I really wish some people would put more effort into debate, rather than just using the voting system as a very lazy type of weapon.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Best upgrade?

      Well, I've just taken the plunge and put fedora 14 onto my laptop. I really don't want to be one of those IT guys who carps on about change and how it's all bad, but have you seen Gnome 3? It is a definite step back in terms of productivity, I'm going to give it another month then probably go to xfce.

      I couldn't advise any business to use Linux until Gnome 3 and/or Unity are up to scratch. I wouldn't suggest anyone who isn't on the geeky end of the spectrum use xfce. That leaves Windows and Mac OS. It's Windows, let's face it, Macs just can't do enterprise.

      1. Vic

        *sniff sniff*

        > put fedora 14 onto my laptop

        Good so far.

        > have you seen Gnome 3?

        Have you?

        The standard dsektop in F14 is Gnome2.

        > It is a definite step back in terms of productivity

        I'm sure you're right. But then I wouldn't suggest anyone install it on F14 - and you have to take positive steps to get it there.


  13. mechBgon

    Vista support ends 4/11/2017

    Based on the author's inane speculation that Vista support will end before WinXP support does, I suggest a different line of work. Namely, one where it's safe to make wild speculations in place of two minutes of research.

    To wit:

  14. Greg J Preece

    Double dipping

    I know people were very reluctant to upgrade to Vista on the whole, but I'd be interested to see whether MS has made that deficit up by double-dipping its Vista customers for copies of the working version, Win7.

    And if it turns out they actually made more money that way, who's betting 8 will be crap, and 9 will fix all its flaws?

  15. Michael Jennings

    We all have contracts with Microsoft.

    Microsoft's present policy is that mainstream support goes until the second Tuesday two years after the end of the quarter following the quarter in which the replacement product is released, and extended support (the one that matters) ends on the second Tuesday of the month five years after that. This means that support for Vista ends on April 11, 2017.

    That Microsoft will support its products for at least that long is clearly part of their contract when you buy a copy, and to end support before that would get them a pile of lawsuits that they would lose.

    Microsoft could extend support longer than this, but I doubt they will. Not many people are using Vista, and I have personally been encouraging anyone who is to upgrade to Windows 7 because Vista is so crap. If Vista was less crap, I would not be encouraging an upgrade. (I never did for XP). Microsoft is clearly getting money for upgrades to 7 that it would not be getting if Vista had been better, which has probably marginally improved its short term financial results. Oh boy, has it pissed customers off, however.

    Microsoft did extend support for XP several times, though. Under the policy they had in place when XP was released, support for XP Home would have ended in December 2006. (For XP Pro it was originally supposed to be December 2011). As they did not ultimately stop selling it until late 2010 - it was available for netbooks until a year after the release of Windows 7 - they clearly had to. This is not the first time something like this had happened, as Windows 98 support was extended once or twice too.

    There are still going to be a fair few Windows XP machines around when XP support ends in April 2014. It wouldn't even surprise me that much if Microsoft finds it has to add another six months or a year so on in the end there.

    I can't imagine much of a problem with Vista in 2017 though.

  16. Sly

    windows 98 still performs well on our equipment...

    where I work. We still have about a handful of win9x boxes, about the same win2k boxes... and a crap-ton of XP boxes. No Vista at all. No win7 (yet... supposed to be rolling out win7 later this year into early next year... maybe... if IT can get the images working right... somehow... in the nebulous future...). We have quite a few Sun stations running Solaris as well. Needless to say... my workplace gets stuff working and lets it run until it dies a horrible death... whether the supplier will actually support it or not.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    How about

    "We admit that Vista was a mistake, and we are offering a free upgrade to 7".


    I didn't think so.

  18. Kev99 Silver badge

    End of Life for OSes

    I have two comments. First, why is it when a new OS comes out it is often so different in its core services from its predecessor that existing hardware & software virtually cease to function? Other than the obvious answer of the companies need to keep the revenue streams going, no other industry I can think of uses the same business model. Can you imagine having to scrap everything because NBC is now broadcasting in color instead of black & white?

    Second, I personally think XP is going to live longer than many think. The SOHO users just can't afford to dump the billions of dollars worth of software & hardware in place that works perfectly well under XP but is not supported by Win7. If MS were to upgrade the XP kernel to the same security as supposedly in Win7, XP would be just as good if not better. Plus it would still take a much smaller footprint and would work on "lesser" machines. Hmmm...That sounds like Linux, which is based on UNIX which is at the core of MS-DOS which is the core of Win7.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Actually, I can think of one reason

      Outside of the linux world, where everyone rebuilds everything because someone dropped their chapeau, library compatibility is a real issue. This can be particularly true for C++, as C++ lacks a properly defined ABI.

      This is a HUGE issue on solaris, leading to multiple copies of libraries built with different compilers and different libstdc++ versions (libstdC (old crusty incomplete, but default), libstlport (improved Rougewave), libstdc++ (from apache), and the one version built with GCC). (this is mostly because parts of the C++ standard had not been finished in the early days, leading to the release of an incomplete version, but due to stability guarantees it's hard to just remove the old version.)

  19. selsey.steve


    I stuck with WIN98 until XP SP2 had come out, then I changed over. After testing XP Pro I switched the business over to it. I saw no need to change when I retired. My successor is of the same mind.

    As an OS, XP is leaner than all other newcomers and it does what we want it to and that is WORK.

    I mean work every time, all the time, day in, day out. Yes, we had crashes, but they could be sorted. Our databases were unaffected.

    MS can stuff the up-grades until they have been tested in some-one else's environment, not mine (or what used to be mine!).

  20. Julian 3

    Hasta La Vista

    Windows Vista Home - Mainstream Support ends in less than a year on 10th April 2012 and Extended Support is not available. So never mind killing Vista SP1 they are killing of Vista completely.

  21. John F***ing Stepp

    This has always been a bit of a puzzle to me.

    95 and 98, se and ME all looked about the same.

    NT, 2000, XP. . . same.

    So except for DRM issues and sell out* thingees.

    Who in the hell cares?

    Ok, I realize that Vista is the new ME and probably is one more thing that Mickey Soft would love to forget, all companies have these hiccups,;Firefox 4(heh) any damn thing Apple and some unnamed version of Linux.**

    But this is Micro$oft; we expect this.

    *Where they give AOL, et al automatic spamamagic access.

    **Down votable paragraph from hell.

  22. jaduncan


    "That sounds like Linux, which is based on UNIX which is at the core of MS-DOS which is the core of Win7."

    No it isn't. If it had been, DOS wouldn't have sucked. DOS is a quick and dirty knockoff of CP/M after MS stole the source code out of the Digital Research bins(!). DOS certainly wasn't based on UNIX though - maybe you're thinking of MS Xenix?

    1. John F***ing Stepp

      in re:That sounds like Linux, which is based on UNIX

      Good ol' DOS.

      I use it every day; I have batch files (well one universal batch file) that do everything for me.

      Set up my network, compile new stuff; almost a script file.

      Actually, if you look at it, the DOS and UNIX, LINUX command structure have been cohabiting for years. I cannot enter ls-A in DOS and get shit but dir gives me much the same in LINUX.

      Migration of ideas and concepts.

      The small differences between DOS and UNIX script have been eroded to the point where it is pretty easy to write one use both.

      1. Trevor 3


        Powershell goes one step further and has command aliases for most *nix commands it can replicate.

        It's saved me so much frustration its untrue. Best feature by far.

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