Microsoft ended extended support for Windows Vista back in April 2017 which means that the company won't release security updates anymore for the operating system.
While Microsoft itself loosened that up a little bit by releasing security patches on the June 2017 Patch Day for the unsupported operating systems Windows Vista and Windows XP, it was an exemption to the rule.
Generally speaking, support for Vista ended and that means no security update releases anymore to the public.
Günter Born reports that there is still a way for Vista users to keep their operating system up to date; Windows Server 2008's architecture is similar to Vista's. This means that Server 2008 patches will by and large work on Windows Vista systems as well.
Windows Server 2008 is still supported by Microsoft. Vista users may therefore download and install security patches for Windows Server 2008 to keep their system up to date.
Microsoft plans to support Windows Storage Server 2008 until January 14th, 2020.
This works similarly to the system that Windows XP users may use to get updates for the operating system; Windows XP users may install patches released for Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 which is supported by Microsoft until 2019 for the most part.
It is suggested that XP and Vista users who install these patches create backups of their operating systems before they do to avoid issues that may come out of this.
How to install Server 2008 patches on Windows Vista
Since Windows Update won't work anymore on Vista machines, updates need to be downloaded and installed manually. The best way to do that is to use the Microsoft Update Catalog for that.
It requires more work on part of the user or administrator though. The whole process involves the following steps:
- Monitor Microsoft channels to find out about Server 2008 updates (or check out our monthly Microsoft Patch overview as a start).
- Open Microsoft Update Catalog, and search for any KB ID that is referenced in the update.
- Locate the Windows Server 2008 patch version of the update.
- Download it.
- Install the downloaded patch.
Again, make sure you create a backup before you apply any of the patches. The patch installer should ignore any features that are not supported by Windows Vista
The most recent Netmarketshare operating system distribution statistics list Windows Vista at 0.58% of the market. That is still a sizeable number of devices that run the unsupported version of Windows (the more popular XP tops this as it sits at 5.66% currently).
If you are stuck with Windows Vista for whatever reason, you now have an option to install security patches until 2020 to keep the operating system secure.
2020 is the year that Windows 7 support will run out. It will be interesting to see if Windows 7 users may use the same method to install Windows Server 2008 R2 on their system when the time comes.