After Windows Vista

As Windows Vista passes the end of its support lifetime, it's time to look at what's next

Windows Vista was first made available to PC manufacturers in November 2006 and Microsoft fixed the date for the end of support at 11th April, 2017. There will no longer be any security updates, even where known problems exist. It makes sense to change to a supported operating system to keep your computer operating as safely as possible.

Replace your computer

If your computer is very old, you may already be thinking of replacing it. A new computer will come with a new version of Windows, so your problem will be solved.

(If you do replace your computer, you may still want to consider one of the other options below for the old one – handy as a spare, or for visitors, children or grandchildren to use, so your main computer remains in good shape for your essential use.)

Upgrade to a newer version of Windows

As a general rule, it is unlikely that a computer originally intended to run with Windows Vista will produce good results with either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 installed. Both of these newer versions were designed with more modern hardware in mind and older computers have been rather left behind. It isn't possible to try a newer version of Windows on your old computer without buying a licence first, so there is some cost even if it doesn't work out well.

Upgrade to Linux Mint

Linux Mint is a free operating system – free of cost and free of restrictions – that runs very well on even quite modest computers and should have no problem on a PC designed for Windows Vista. It offers a huge range of equally free progams, many of which are included from the start. Some programs that you may already know will be waiting for you – Mozilla Firefox (web browser) and Thunderbird (email), Google Chrome (web browser) and VLC (multimedia player), for example. Additionally, LibreOffice (a full, professional-quality office suite) is able to read and write Microsoft Office files for Word and Excel and there are programs to organise and listen to your music, organise and edit pictures and for most other every-day tasks. These are automatically included in the installation.

You can choose to keep Windows available (select which operating system to run when the computer is started) or change completely to Linux Mint. In either case, all your old documents, music files and photos will be accessible from within Linux Mint.

Limitations

There are some things that won't work with Linux Mint and for which there is no alternative program, notably most GPS (sat. nav.) devices and some mobile phones, that connect through a computer to get updates. Almost all modern printers and scanners are fully supported. If you think you have something that may not work, please ask us to research its compatibility for you.

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