Mainstream Support of Windows Vista has ended
As expected, Microsoft ended the first support phase, also known as "Mainstream Support" phase, of Windows Vista yesterday (10 April 2012), five years after Vista was first released. This marks the beginning of the second phase, called "Extended Support".
In the "Extended Support" phase, Microsoft will not be releasing free-of-charge enhancements to Vista; from now on, the company will only be releasing security-related patches free of charge to close holes. Future patches will require Vista Service Pack 2; installations that are based on an previous service packs will no longer be supported.
Contrary to the original schedule, the Extended Support period will not only cover Vista Business and Enterprise, but also all other versions from Starter to Ultimate, and it will end on 11 April 2017. All versions of XP and Windows 7 are also have five-year "Extended Support" periods. For XP, this period is due to end on 8 April 2014 while Windows 7's period, which has yet to enter the second phase, will end on 14 January 2020.