End of Support Looming for Windows 8.1 Users

As part of its preparation to end support for Windows 8.1 by January 10th, 2023, Microsoft is planning to send notifications to users. They will begin sending notifications to old devices next month as a first warning leading up to January 10th.

The notifications will be similar to the ones Microsoft has used in the past to remind Windows 7 users about the upcoming end-of-support dates. Microsoft originally ended Windows 8 support in 2016, but the Windows 8.1 update will cease support fully in January 2023. Microsoft will stop offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1, meaning that businesses won’t be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates.

In many ways, Windows 8.1 was a major improvement over Windows 8. Many PC users rejected Windows 8 because it abandoned the traditional desktop and Start buttons in such a big way. Microsoft acknowledged that its mobile-first OS wasn’t what users wanted, and Windows 8.1 reintroduced the Start button.

Microsoft and many of its customers will be keen to forget the Windows 8 era, despite the improvements in Windows 8.1. With iPad competition mounting, Microsoft tried to modernize Windows, alienating many customers in the process. Many of Windows 8’s boldest changes were rolled back in Windows 10, and Windows 11 has gone even further, removing the Windows Phone-like Live Tiles from the Start menu and overhauling many of Windows’ ancient relics.

Windows 8.1 users are facing a tough decision: decide to upgrade their operating system or buy a new PC. A lot of machines running Windows 8.1 won’t be compatible with Windows 11 due to the strict processing requirements of new operating systems, admits Microsoft. “Most Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 devices will not meet the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11, as an alternative, compatible Windows 8 and 8.1 PCs can be upgraded to Windows 10 by purchasing and installing a full version of the software,” explains Microsoft in a support note.

Windows 10 is becoming the default option for upgrades and will be supported until October 14th, 2025. Windows 8.1 machines won’t stop working straight away on January 10th, 2023, but software updates and security fixes will no longer be available after then. Microsoft’s support site has a load of FAQs and articles with info to help users upgrade or move files to a new machine.

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