The mainstream support for Windows Vista offered by Microsoft has ended on 10 April, 2012, and now it has moved into the phase of extended support that lasts through 11 April, 2017. Windows XP, the operating system that was launched in 2001 and is still used by many consumers, will still be getting security updates and hotfixes until 8 April, 2014. According to Microsoft officials, it is time now to upgrade to Windows 7 operating system.
Mainstream support is the period during which Microsoft provides free and regular updates including both security fixes and other patches for a product. Once a product exits the mainstream support phase, it enters extended support. During this period, security updates for a product remain free, but most other updates are only supplied on a paid basis, and require a separate Hotfix Agreement.
Software giant Microsoft stopped selling Windows Vista through retail outlets in October 2010, and computer manufacturers stopped selling Windows Vista-based computers in October 2011, according to Microsoft's Windows lifecycle fact sheet. Microsoft has not yet given a timeline for when it will stop selling Windows 7, as the company is busy working on the launch of Windows 8 this year.