Windows 8.1, the popular operating system released by Microsoft in 2013, is approaching its end-of-life. This means that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for the operating system after January 10, 2023.
For those who are still using Windows 8.1, this may come as a surprise and may cause some concern. It’s important to note that an unsupported operating system is a security risk, as vulnerabilities will no longer be patched and your device may be more susceptible to malware and other malicious attacks.
So, what can you do if you’re still using Windows 8.1?
The best option is to upgrade to Windows 10 (many computers that came with Windows 8.1 may not be suitable for Windows 11). Upgrading to Windows 10 will not only keep your device secure, but it will also give you access to new features and improvements until October 2025.
If for some reason you can’t upgrade to Windows 10, you can also consider switching to a different operating system such as Linux or macOS. However, keep in mind that this will likely require some adjustments and learning.
It’s also important to note that if you’re using any software that is no longer compatible with Windows 10, it may be time to consider new alternatives.
I’m using Windows 8, not 8.1, does this apply to me?
Windows 8 became end-of-life on January the 12th 2016, over 7 years ago (at the time of posting this article), so this definitely does apply to you.
Microsoft released Windows 8.1 on October the 17th 2013. It was originally created to build upon negative feedback they received during the launch of Windows 8.
Do I need to upgrade now?
Yes. Your computer will not suddenly drop off a cliff, but it will become less secure and your data will be more vulnerable with each passing day.
You have 4 options:
- Upgrade to Windows 10 – Currently the most popular operating system by Microsoft, Windows 10 is the way to go and does not go out of support until October 2025.
- Upgrade to Windows 11 – For the majority of computers running 8.1, this isn’t an option as the system requirements are strict. The end-of-life for Windows 11 hasn’t yet been announced due to it being released so recently.
- Switch to macOS – Apple’s macOS is known for it’s increased security and stability, so it is much less likely to be targeted by viruses and malware. It is also smooth, reliable and has the ability to integrate seamlessly with other Apple devices like the iPhone and the iPad.
- Switch to a Linux distribution – The most popular distribution of Linux is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is completely free and can be installed on most computers. It shares the advantage with macOS of being more secure and stable, but the user interface isn’t as friendly and there is a large learning curve.