Microsoft has terminated mainstream support for Windows Vista operating systems today. Vista was announced in July 2005 and released worldwide on January 30, 2007

Mainstream support is offered for a minimum of five years from the date of the product’s general availability or for two years after the next operating system has been released, whichever is longer. In this instance, the five year time span applied to mainstream support since Windows 7 was released more than two years ago.

Mainstream support applies to all customers but there are special circumstances for businesses. Extended support is available for commercial customers only and extends the support time to two years after the second successor OS (two versions later) has been released. Extended support for Vista is set to expire on April 11, 2017, although Microsoft outlines that in certain cases, support can be extended for up to 10 years after a product launch.

In terms of general reception, Vista seemingly ranks pretty low overall. PC World felt that it was the biggest tech disappointment of 2007 while InfoWorld ranked it as the second worst tech flop of all-time. Complaints were well-documented: the OS was a resource hog which ultimately made it slower than XP, some key features were missing and it was three years late to its own release.

Windows 7 came to the rescue in late 2009 but its claim as the latest Microsoft operating system is set to expire later this year with the launch of Windows 8. Will Microsoft get it right with 8 or are we headed towards another failed OS?