Know the risks of using old software like Vista

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Pavel Ignatov via 123RF) (Source: Pavel Ignatov via 123RF)

Q: Is it safe to continue using Windows Vista?

A: Operating systems aren’t something that most users think about, but the reality is you engage with your operating system every time you use your computer.

This essential interface becomes very familiar and changing to a new one often evokes a visceral response, which is why we see so many people clutching to their old familiar versions of Windows.

Microsoft realized how much of a deterrent this was for millions of its users each time it released a new version of Windows, so the company made a change.

The last version of Windows
With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft proclaimed that it would be the last version of Windows ever.

It’s not that it's going to abandon the Windows platform; it just plans to deliver Windows “as a service,” much like how we get updates to our browsers.

Windows is no longer the primary "cash cow" for Microsoft, so for now, once you’ve installed Windows 10, the updates will be free for as long as you’re using the same computer.

In this model, changes will occur incrementally so users don’t have to contend with deciding whether to switch to a new unfamiliar interface.

Vista end-of-life
Microsoft actually stopped mainstream support for Windows Vista on April 10, 2012, but continued what it called "extended support" until April 11, 2017.

[MICROSOFT: Windows Vista support has ended | What does it mean if Windows isn't supported?]

When the company ended mainstream support, it was simply saying that it would longer be creating any enhancements or new features.

Extended support continued to provide the all-important security updates, which has now ended.

[MORE: Data Doctors]

Risks of continuing with Vista
If the Internet weren’t such a prominent component in daily computing, continuing to use Vista would be a lot less risky.

In fact, if you have a computer that has no way to connect to the Internet, there’s no reason you can’t continue to use Vista.

Hackers know all the back doors and security holes in every piece of software ever created. From this point on, when a security hole is discovered in Windows Vista (and now there’s more incentive for hackers to find them), Microsoft will not be developing a fix or patch for the hole.

If you’re a small business, not only are there major security concerns, depending upon your line of work, there may be compliance risks as well as major incompatibility issues with newer programs.

Windows Vista was originally released in January of 2007 when the Internet was a very different place.

The safeguards built into Windows 10 are exponentially better at defending your computer against today’s threats, so as painful as it may be, upgrading isn’t a question of if but a question of when.

It’s not just Windows
Security risks exist in virtually every program you use, so using really old versions of any software puts you at a higher risk of being exploited.

Popular program such as Microsoft Office are a constant target of thieves and hackers because they know most people don’t think about updating them nearly as much as they do their operating system, so it’s important to update or remove old programs if you’re no longer using them.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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