Vista’s Service Pack 1 will exit all support on July 12, this month’s Patch Tuesday. According to Computer World, that will be last time security updates will be issued for the aging operating system.

Microsoft supports its business products for 10 years, the first five in what it calls “mainstream support,” and the second five in “extended support.” The biggest difference between the two phases is that in the latter, non-security fixes are provided only to companies that have paid for special support contracts. Microsoft generally patches security vulnerabilities in its products throughout the entire 10-year stretch. In the “extended support” phase, non-security fixes are offered to only those companies that pay for special support contract.

Vista SP2 update can be installed by users through Windows Update, or by downloading the 32-bit or 64-bit  version of the service pack.

The consumer editions of Vista SP2 — Vista Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate are expected to shut support in April 2012, whereas the corporate versions of Vista Business and Vista Enterprise will continue to be supported with security fixes through mid-April 2017.

There was a lot of reluctance in using it and users felt that there weren’t too many improvements in comparison to Windows XP. System requirements were high, as well. Windows 7, which is used a lot today, is way more popular and feels like a much more optimized version of Windows Vista.

Users can continue to run the software, however. There is no “kill switch” to disable or cripple the software. However, Vista SP1 will become extremely vulnerable to attack once Microsoft stops providing security updates.