Anyone using an older version of Windows would be wise to check their PCs and make some urgent changes this week. The warning, which has been issued by Microsoft, is due to the impending end of support for Windows 8.1 which will no longer get any security updates or patches after January 10 2023.
Those still running this software could find themselves in danger of cyber attacks and unwanted bugs as Microsoft isn’t going to be pushing out any upgrades after next week’s deadline. Although Windows 8.1 was released all the way back in 2013 it’s still being used by a surprisingly vast number of people across the world.
According to the team at Statcounter, Windows 8.1 remains the fourth most widely used Microsoft operating system on the planet with some 2.45 percent of all Windows users having it installed on their devices.
That makes this end of support pretty worrying as it will affect millions of people and could leave many PCs open to attack.
Explaining more about the issues of not upgrading, Microsoft said: “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 for viruses and malware. We recommend upgrading to a version of Windows that is still supported. A new device that can run Windows 11 makes for an easy transition and a great experience.”
Anyone running 8.1 now finds themselves facing a dilemma. There are two options including switching to Windows 10 or upgrading to the very latest Windows 11 OS.
Jumping to Windows 11 will almost certainly mean buying a new PC as most older laptops aren’t compatible with this software.
That’s an expensive option but it might be worth biting the bullet now as Micorosft has confirmed that support for Windows 10 will end in just two years’ time.
“To maintain the reliability and stability of Microsoft 365, we strongly recommend you take advantage of the latest hardware capabilities by moving to a new PC with Windows 11,” Microsoft advised.
“PCs have changed substantially since Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 were first released. Today’s computers are faster, more powerful, and sleeker—plus they come with Windows 11 already installed.
“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. Before investing in a Windows 10 upgrade, please consider that Windows 10 will reach its end of support date on October 14, 2025. “
Whatever the choice, there’s not long left to decide with the clock ticking down on the end-of-life support for Windows 8.1.