Windows 8.1 end of life is creeping ever closer

Windows 8.1
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 8.1 end of life will soon be upon us, with extended support for the operating system set to end in early 2023.

Mainstream support for Windows 8.1 was ended on January 9, 2021, and next month Microsoft will start sending reminders to users that support will end entirely on January 10, 2023.

Only a tiny minority of Windows users are still using Windows 8.1, 3.06% according to the latest statistics, dwarfed by the 71.82% using Windows 10.

What does this mean?

Computers running Windows 8.1 will still function, but Microsoft will no longer provide technical support on any issue, including security updates and patches for tools like office software.

While you could continue to use a PC running Windows 8.1, without continued software and security updates, your PC will be at greater risk from viruses and malware according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also says it won’t offer Extended Security Updates for Windows 8.1, like it did for previous iterations such as Windows 7.

What should you do?

If you still happen to be using the operating system, Microsoft recommends that you head to download either Windows 11, or failing that Windows 10, though it won’t be providing any free upgrade paths.

Windows 10 still has plenty of life left in it and the software giant isn’t set to retire the operating system until Oct 14, 2025.

Developed under the codename "Blue", Windows 8.1 received better reviews than its predecessor Windows 8 when it released in August 2013, which introduced several large changes at once.

Unfortunately for many of those impacted by the end of life, many Windows 8.1 machines won’t be up to snuff when it comes to running Windows 11.

Research from IT asset management firm Lansweeper found that 55% of devices are not compatible with Windows 11, and a major sticking point is TPM, with almost half of workstation TPMs (47%) failing to meet requirements.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.