The original release of Windows Vista reached the end of its support on Tuesday, meaning that customers now need to be running either Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2 of Vista to get assistance from Microsoft.
However, in conjunction with this milestone, Microsoft did make a subtle adjustment to its support policy, easing the hard deadline a bit. Under the new policy, Microsoft support staff are allowed to make their "best effort" to provide limited troubleshooting to customers running unsupported service packs, even if they don't have a custom support contract.
"Under the former service pack support policy, when a service pack reached the end of support, customers were no longer eligible to receive troubleshooting help from Microsoft Customer Service and Support, including assisted telephone support, security updates, or non-security hotfixes," Microsoft said in a blog posting.
"We've received a lot of feedback on this policy from our customers and partners over the past few years," the company said. "Many customers asked for the ability to receive troubleshooting support from Microsoft on unsupported service packs, if the product itself is still in the Mainstream Support phase or Extended Support phase. Their general opinion was that if they are experiencing issues, Microsoft should provide limited support or migration assistance for the unsupported service pack."
The goal of the added support will still be to help the customers move to a supported version of the software.
Plus, Microsoft noted, only supported versions get updates such as bug fixes and security packs.
"Customers are highly encouraged to stay on a supported service pack to ensure they are on the latest and most secure version of their product," Microsoft said. "This is especially important for those customers running business critical applications. Staying on a supported service pack is the only way to ensure that you get continued access to security updates and the ability to escalate your support issues within Microsoft."