Microsoft ceases support for Windows Vista, its much-maligned operating system from 2007
A view of Microsoft’s headquarters in Mountain View. Image by Asif Islam (via Shutterstock).
If we decided to use motor car allegories for operating systems, Windows Vista wouldn’t be a Porsche 911 or a Ford Escort. It could be a Jensen Interceptor – stylish, though thirsty on the fuel and a fast mover. It could be an Austin Allegro: all the speed of a mobility scooter and the butt of jokes. Windows Vista falls somewhere between the two: all the speed of an Allegro and the fuel consumption of a Jensen Interceptor.
On Tuesday, Microsoft gave Windows Vista its death sentence. In computer terms, this means the 2007 operating system would no longer be supported. On its launch in January that year, the operating system made an immediate impact: all for the wrong reasons. Firstly, it took up a lot of hard drive space – several times more than its popular predecessor, XP. Secondly, network access was finicky: getting Vista to play ball with your WiFi was a chore.
The one thing which ired users the most was the User Account Control system. The UAC, in theory, was a well meaning system in terms of protecting your PC. In practice, User Account Control was like a nagging parent. Every time you wanted to download a file, install a new program, the screen would dim to show the User Account Control box. Trying to switch off User Account Control was a nightmare too.
Short of asking you to clean your teeth before you switch off your PC, speed was another major issue. The Aero based window system made Windows Vista a slower operating system than Windows XP. Read and write speeds on hard drives were dramatically slower than their predecessor. As a consequence, many Windows users stuck with XP.
Still, without Windows Vista, all the mistakes from that operating system were learned in 2009. That year’s release of Windows 7 saw a welcome return to form. In early 2010, Windows 7 leapfrogged over Vista. It remains the most popular version of Windows though slowly but surely, Windows 10 is nudging closer.
Was Windows Vista meant to be a beta version of Win 7 that shouldn’t have seen the light of day in public eyes? Even the then-CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer said it was “a work in progress”. Perhaps it should have been recalled as quickly as the first Austin Metros which had steering faults.