UPDATE: Vista is now out of support. To stay secure on older PCs consider installing Lubuntu.
Vista was first released on the 30th January 2007, bringing it close to its 10th anniversary. This milestone usually marks the end of extended support. The date Extended Support ends is 11th April 2017.
What does this mean?
The most important feature of Extended Support is Windows Updates. Updates are release each month to patch vulnerabilities that are currently being exploited or could be exploited by an attacker. Once Extended Support ends, so do these updates, leaving your PC vulnerable.
Will my PC still work?
Yes. Your PC will work exactly as it was before Extended Support ended. But, un-patched vulnerabilities may allow attackers access to your data, or your PC could be added to a botnet and used for malicious activities such as a DDos attack.
But I have Anti-Virus
Anti-Virus is just one of the many activities to undertake in securing your PC. Anti-Virus is often not able to detect or prevent an attacker delivering a custom exploit to your PC.
What can I do?
There are many options available each with varying dollar values.
If funds are available, purchasing a new PC can be the easiest, yet most expensive option.
Depending on the specifications of your PC, it may be possible to install a newer operating system such as Windows 10. This can be purchased for a lower price than a replacement.
If the specifications are too low for Windows 10, and you don’t have the funds for a replacement, you could look at an alternative operating system such as Linux Mint. Mint runs well on older hardware. It is great software, easy to use, and comes pre-installed with alternatives many applications you use on Windows.
Start planning now to move away from Windows Vista. Although it was not as popular as its predecessor: Windows XP, and its successor; Windows 7, it still has a wide installation base. Attackers will take advantage of this at the first given opportunity.