In case you don’t already know:
Mainstream support for Business and Enterprise versions of Microsoft Windows Vista will end on April 10th, 2012
Extended support for Business and Enterprise versions of Microsoft Windows Vista will end on November 11, 2017
Mainstream support for Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Microsoft Windows Vista will end on April 10th, 2012
There are no plans to extend support for Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Microsoft Windows Vista, and it is pretty much a certainty that it will NEVER be available.
This is not particularly good news for home users and hobbyists who invested in Vista a couple of years back in time. The only saving grace really is that the machines running Vista now are well able to run Windows 7.
What to do next:
My advice to home users and hobbyists would be to upgrade to Windows 7 at the earliest convenience, notwithstanding that there is still two years of mainstream support. You may as well get used to Windows 7 now. Downgrading to XP even if you have a valid XP license should not be considered because it is old and long in the tooth. Let it go.
OEM manufacturers may well release current models pre-installed with Windows 7 after October 22nd of this year. If you have a major manufacturer machine, check out the website at the end of October and see if any of the range of Windows 7 machines matches what you already have. If it does, you are in luck. As long as there is OS specific driver support for your model, upgrading it should be a breeze.
Obviously, buying an ‘upgrade’ version is cheaper, BUT you have to ensure that you will always have a means to re-install Vista and be able to activate it. Relying on a recovery partition is maybe not a good idea because aging drives can and do fail. Take the option to create a recovery DVD set and keep the DVDs in a safe place.
If you don’t have the option, have already taken the option and lost them, or do not trust yourself to be able to keep them safe, buy a full version Windows 7. This will ensure that you can always start over in the event of a major OS or hardware failure
Before upgrading, bear in mind that while every effort has been made to ensure backwards compatibility, some older software and hardware in your possession may lose some of its features and functions when running in Windows 7. The best source of information regarding compatibility is the manufacturer of the product in question, so do your homework well..
And lastly, good luck..