Windows 8.1 extended support is ending soon

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,442   +170
Staff member
In brief: Microsoft is scheduled to put another of its legacy operating systems out to pasture in the near future. Anyone still using the aging OS needs to start getting serious about transitioning to a current, in-service release.

Windows 8.1 launched in late 2013 – just one year after Microsoft unleashed Windows 8 – in an attempt to rectify some of the early issues with its flagship OS. Most found it did offer a better experience than the original but still, Microsoft wasted little time in prepping and rolling out its successor – Windows 10 – in the summer of 2015.

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 8.1 on January 9, 2018, and is planning to suspend extended support on January 10, 2023. Once this happens, Microsoft will no longer provide software updates and technical assistance for the OS. There will be no extended security update program for Windows 8.1 meaning anyone running it after the cutoff date will be exposed to future security risks.

According to StatCounter, Windows 8.1's worldwide desktop market share sat at just 2.45 percent as of October 2022. For comparison, Windows 7 is still used on 9.61 percent of desktops. Windows 11 has been adopted by 15.44 percent of desktops and Windows 10 leads the way with 71.29 percent market share.

Microsoft recommends upgrading devices running Windows 8.1 to a more current, in-service version of Windows like Windows 10 or Windows 11. Windows 10 Home and Pro is still available and will be supported until October 14, 2025. That route could buy you a few more years if Windows 11 isn't an option due to technical limitations.

In the event your device doesn't meet the minimum requirements of a newer OS, Microsoft suggests replacing it with something a bit newer. In that situation (and assuming you want to stick with Windows), you'd be best served upgrading to something that supports Windows 11 so you won't have to worry with switching operating systems again for a while.

Image credit: Nothing Ahead, Pedro Santos, Bram Van Oost

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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 811   +741
"anyone running it after the cutoff date will be exposed to future security risks."
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Ahem...

In case you have not been paying attention during your entire lifetime....

ALL Windows versions (including fully updated copies of Windows 10 and 11) are exposed to CURRENT security risks as well as future security risks

You make it sound as though jumping onto the latest untested version of Microsoft's malware is somehow the solution to the previous problems that Microsoft created

How are those updates working out for you?
 
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yRaz

Posts: 4,783   +5,962
"anyone running it after the cutoff date will be exposed to future security risks."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ahem...

In case you have not been paying attention during your entire lifetime....

ALL Windows versions (including fully updated copies of Windows 10 and 11) are exposed to CURRENT security risks as well as future security risks

You make it sound as though jumping onto the latest untested version of Microsoft's malware is somehow the solution to the previous problems that Microsoft created

How are those updates working out for you?
I find that using Windows 8.1 comes with a set of mental health risks that are more concerning than the security risks.
 

redhat

Posts: 191   +267
Personally I use win 8.1 on my PC and almost certainly I am not going to the WinSpam 10 or 11.
The Amount of interference by those OS is unbearable for me.

@yRaz, @takaozo and others: give Open Shell Menu a try and you will not regret
 

azicat

Posts: 170   +218
I liked Windows 8.1. IMHO it was solid underneath if you ignored the weird Start menu. Font scaling was actually better than Win10 for many legacy apps, and it was quite happy to work offline (unlike Win10). Also worked well on low-end machines with 2-4GB RAM.
 

thewelshbrummie

Posts: 12   +8
Tbh I liked the Start menu on 8 (and 10 for that matter). I basically pinned every game I had installed to it so I could launch anything, regardless of the store app it needed to run - Steam/Origin/MS Store... doesn't matter - it would just get on with it and launch the game I wanted. It's the big downside with 11 for me as that just isn't possible with the 11 start menu. That said I don't particularly mind live tiles going - even if some of them were useful.

That and installer shortcuts seem pointless when you it's now much easier to uninstall anything from the OS settings menu.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,326   +930
In case you have not been paying attention during your entire lifetime....

ALL Windows versions (including fully updated copies of Windows 10 and 11) are exposed to CURRENT security risks as well as future security risks
TRUTH!
How are those updates working out for you?
Likely about as well as for anyone else. That said...


Who the heck is still using the second worst(OG 8 was the worse) version of Windows ever made? Seriously?!?
 
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Puiu

Posts: 5,873   +4,884
TechSpot Elite
I liked Windows 8.1. IMHO it was solid underneath if you ignored the weird Start menu. Font scaling was actually better than Win10 for many legacy apps, and it was quite happy to work offline (unlike Win10). Also worked well on low-end machines with 2-4GB RAM.
You mean local accounts? You can still make them.
 

NikoBB

Posts: 65   +53
The death of the OS is not determined by the support of M$, home users do not care about it (85%+ of them are pirates on the planet). And browser support (because web designers have become dumb and lazy and work with frameworks only of the latest versions, where they can write less code and build more “software” from cubes like children in a nursery) and other key software, including drivers. As long as they exist, no one cares about support except for medium and large businesses. But medium and large businesses are increasingly choosing Unix platforms, because business just got tired of the M$ gag and the disregard for the quality of the code, cynically using ordinary users (who paid for it) as alpha testers...

Wintel has always twisted the arms of ordinary consumers with illegal dirty methods.

Let's remember the transition to W7 from XP - Intel deliberately did not include DVXA support in the drivers for its XP in 2010 for igpu, although nothing prevented it from doing so. M$ deliberately did not add support for GPT HDD(2Tb+) partitioning in XP and SMB2.0+ (stable 1Gbps+ speed for local net/inet, espesially for wlan), although it was elementary to do in SP4. Because then even more XP owners wouldn't upgrade to W7 with it critical features from Vista+.

And now let's remember the most disgusting story with W8+ - after W7 M$ simply disabled the ability to select a classic compact theme for the UI system, even in Pro+ editions! Since W8 it is not possible to select a theme where the 3 buttons in the top right corner of every Windows window - minimize/restore/maximize can be made compact like in W7/XP/W2K. Because of this, densely packed interfaces in professional software simply could not be displayed on monitors of the same resolution! It's wild, but it happened, because of this, some people stubbornly sit on the W7. Latest OS with classic interface theme...

W8.1+ is the latest version of Windows with a relatively fast kernel. But it also has a lot of shortcomings, such as incomplete Bluetooth support compared to the W10. And that for a long time it was possible to close the next service pack. But this was simply not done on purpose.

W7 (and partially W8.1) are the latest versions that, with an SSD, can comfortably run on hardware with 4GB of memory (where it is not expandable).

Let me remind everyone that people opposed the transition to W7 in 2009-2015 for a simple reason - Vista+ versions did not work very well with the HDD as a system disk, because Vista+ already have an unswitchable swap file in fact and the intensity of disk operations just rolls over against the background of ascetic and spartan XP. Only the appearance of SSDs in mass (in terms of money) availability since about 2016 allowed the majority of the world's population to finally switch to W7/W8.

And now history is repeating itself. W10 has not been completed - they are initially bad in design (kernel/UI). W11 introduces new draconian restrictions on the rights and freedoms of people who BUY it. This is madness. But there is no alternative for the mass consumer on the planet. Through the fault of these same consumers - who did not choose normal politicians/legislators, who did not create comfortable conditions for real competition on the planet, allowing M$ in all countries to conduct openly criminal activities through anti-competitive practices. Which has been proven more than once, but it was of little use, because. time was lost and continued to be missed on purpose.


Let me also remind citizens of the whole world that if your authorities buy paid support for W7 and other OS at public expense, and this is exactly what the Pentagon does, for example, then the authorities are simply obliged to provide all the security patches in the open, which they receive PAYING from M$, and M$ is obliged to provide free of charge such patches and updates to all citizens of countries where the state pays for such services through taxes collected from citizens.

Alas, even in the US, most of the population is illiterate and does not understand this important point, that M$ is obliged to share with them all such updates for older OS versions, because ALL citizens have ALREADY paid for them for this extended support old OS.

Surprisingly, no legislature has done anything YET in any country to legally oblige M$ to provide publicly all security patches and key updates if this support from M$ is provided at public expense, I.e. with taxpayers' money. Even Windows XP is still supported by M$ for a number of government customers, not to mention W7.
 
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zamroni111

Posts: 370   +216
I find that using Windows 8.1 comes with a set of mental health risks that are more concerning than the security risks.
My haswell laptop can't wake up from s3 deep sleep on windows 10.
Windows 8.1 does it well.
To get classic start menu, simply create new taskbar toolbar to the start menu folders
 

NikoBB

Posts: 65   +53
My haswell laptop can't wake up from s3 deep sleep on windows 10.
Windows 8.1 does it well.
To get classic start menu, simply create new taskbar toolbar to the start menu folders
Use LTSC or W10Pro(Education) up to 10H2 update and block all next updates. It support old and good S3(STR) method for old hardware.

For W7..W10 best choice for using fast shortcuts - use qucklaunch in taskbar (in two vertical or horizontal rows) - first is for launched apps, second(bottom) - quicklaunch as it W2k/XP UI.
1. Right-click your taskbar to bring up the menu.
2. Navigate to Toolbars > New toolbar.
3.Enter %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\ into the navigation field at the top of the window, and press Enter.
4.Click Select Folder and select QL - it appear in windows taskbar.
5.Right-click the taskbar, and make sure the taskbar is unlocked.
6.Attach QuickLaunch to bottom row in windows taskbar (it automatically fill all bottom row).
7.Disable in context menu for QL - "Show text" and "Show title" items.
8.Unpin all apps from upper row (use it only for laucnhed apps) in taskbar and drag all shortcuts programs that are important to you to QL.


Happy use compact QuickLaunch in W7..W10!
 
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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 811   +741
W8.1+ is the latest version of Windows with a relatively fast kernel. But it also has a lot of shortcomings, such as incomplete Bluetooth support compared to the W10.

Why would anyone need bluetooth support from the OS?

If I need bluetooth, I plug in the bluetooth dongle and POOF I instantly have proper bluetooth support in any operating system (including Windows XP)

If you referring to driver support, then the bluetooth device is at fault

The same issue exists for USB audio
USB audio Class 1 DAC's do not require drivers and work fine with Windows XP / Vista / 7 and 8.1
USB audio Class 2 DAC's require driver support for any OS up to 8.1

If your bluetooth device requires a driver, get a better bluetooth device
They DO exist!
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 1,326   +930
If I need bluetooth, I plug in the bluetooth dongle and POOF I instantly have proper bluetooth support in any operating system (including Windows XP)
Complete nonsense. Proper BT support didn't exist until Win10. BT dongles were NOT plug&play until then.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 811   +741
Why?!? That's just craziness! Go to 10 or 11..
I get better frame rates in games with 8.1 and all drivers work correctly

Driver support is horrible in Windows 10 and games simply crash in Windows 11 even when using the same video driver as Windows 10

Software compatibility in 8.1 is much better than 10 or 11

Less spyware/malware in 8.1 as well

8.1 just works
10 and 11 never worked correctly and they never will