Windows 8.1 Users Will Start Seeing End of Support Notifications Next Month

Posted on June 24, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows, Windows 8.1 with 15 Comments

Microsoft will start sending end-of-support notifications to Windows 8.1 users next month, the company announced yesterday (via ZDNet). The OS won’t reach end of support until January 10, 2023, but the Redmond giant will notify users six months before it happens.

Windows 7 users previously received similar notifications before the OS reached end of support back in January 2020, though enterprise customers can still pay for paid Extended Support Updates. However, that won’t be the case for Windows 8.1.

“Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1. Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023 may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations,” the company explained on a support page.

Windows 8.1 was released back in October 2013, and this is the update that brought back the Start Menu button that Microsoft removed on Windows 8 a year earlier. This update brought other minor improvements, but Microsoft tried to move on as soon as possible and offered a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users in 2015.

If you’re still running Windows 8.1, Windows 10 is the obvious upgrade path as any hardware released during the Windows 8.1 is unlikely to meet the minimum requirements for Windows 11. However, Microsoft would much prefer if you just bought a new Windows 11 PC.

“If you have an older PC, we recommend you move to Windows 11 by buying a new PC. Hardware and software have improved a lot since Windows 8.1 was released, and today’s computers are faster, more powerful and more secure,” the company explained.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Windows 8.1 Users Will Start Seeing End of Support Notifications Next Month”

  1. navarac

    Good riddance to a "Sinofsky-ism"

  2. Chris Hedlund

    All three of them?

    Joking aside - does anyone have any data on how many Windows 8 machines are actually in use out there?

  3. r.g.keys

    I keep Win 8.1 on a laptop to test that our various services work against. Every time I use it I'm surprised that it isn't the dumpster fire I remembered it to be, in fact (holding hands up in expectation of stuff being thrown at me) it's fine.

    I work at a University and we see one or two win 8.1 machines pop up from time to time, I'm thinking the pandemic may have forced families to dust off some old machines sitting in closets.

  4. singingwolf

    Best O/S ever. It failed because it was different. Not because it was crap. It was faster, more stable and felt so fresh compared to anything before it.

    To prove my point, look at how poor Window 11 is going. It will struggle because it's different.

    • zamroni111


      Windows 8.1 is much more reliable and faster than 10.

      It boots faster and no problem on waking up from standby.

      • dftf

        If you're using Windows 10 on a 2012-2015 era-device that was designed for Windows 8 then it's hardly-surprising that 8 will run better on it. If you install 8 on a modern device (one just new-enough that you can still get device-drivers for Windows 8, that is) and compared it to 10 then, I'd bet there would be next-to-no difference.

        I mean, sure, on my 2010-era laptop, some things, such as games, are slower under Windows 10 as the last OS Intel supported OpenGL 2.0 hardware-acceleration for the integrated GPU was Windows 8.1. So, sure, on Windows 7 those games will run faster, or will allow full-screen mode. But outside of that, for any general stuff, like web-browsing, video-playback and office-work, I honestly notice no real-world speed-difference on 10 compared to 7. And it's more-important to me that I get the security-updates each-month, which I wouldn't under 7 (unless you were to put your trust in third-parties, such as 0patch).

        People finding newer versions of Windows (unsurprisingly!) slower when ran on older-hardware is likely why with Windows 11 they limited how-old of a device you can run it on, AND from 2023 will also stop allowing OEMs to pre-install it on a HDD, and will force the device to ship with an SSD (apparently, the policy was supposed to have started this-year, but got pushed-back due to the supply-shortage issues).

    • billreilly

      I agree. Windows 8.1 was the best version of Windows, especially on a tablet PC.

    • dftf

      "It failed because it was different"

      Yes, but that is an important factor to many. Your average user isn't looking in detail at all the kernel optimisations, or support for newer hardware-standards, or legacy-code removals. They just care about "is it fast", "can it run all my apps" and "does it work like how I'm familiar with, or am I going to have to learn lots of new ways to do the same stuff". And with Windows 8 and now Windows 11, regardless of whatever background-improvements might get made, users get frustrated when things in the UI change, in what they consider unnecessary ways.

      It's not unique to Windows, either: look at how-many dislike some of the UI changes in Android 12; or how-many hates the "Ribbon" in Office 2007 back-in-the-day; or when the Xbox changed from the original UI where you moved left-and-right between the "blades"; or when Ubuntu first went their own-way with Unity (though changes within various Linux desktop-environments could be a topic in itself!).

      In-short: the behind-the-scenes changes are all-well-and-good, but it's not what most end-users care-about or encounter; the UI and apps are what they interact with, and if you make dramatic changes for what they feel are "unnecessary" or "pointless" reasons, unsurprisingly you alienate many of them.

      • Daishi

        They just care about "is it fast", "can it run all my apps" and "does it work like how I'm familiar with, or am I going to have to learn lots of new ways to do the same stuff". 

        Except that realistically the answer to those questions for Windows 8.1 are:

        Is it fast: yes.

        Can it run all my apps: yes.

        Does it work like how I'm familiar with: beyond the Start screen, yes.

        Am I going to have to learn lots of new ways to do the same stuff: not if you don’t want to, no.

        Spending five seconds learning the scary differences in the layout of UI and it’s fine.

  5. palmpre

    I still use Win 8.1 on an older i7 machine to run Windows Media Center. I've tried the media programs available on the web and nothing is as stable or as easy to use as WMC with my old ATI TV tuners.

    Any word on whether they will let me move my Win 8.1 installation? I remember years ago when I moved it to the current machine, I had to call MS to allow the key to activate on the new machine and deactivate the old machine.

    • dftf

      If your copy of Windows 8 was one you purchased yourself (boxed retail-product, or digital licence-key from an authorised dealer), then you are free to move it to another machine (or virtual-machine). You can only have it activated on one install at once, though. If it came pre-installed (an "OEM" copy) then you cannot move it, and it dies with that machine.

      However, while you could use Windows 8.1 on a different PC, remember:

      (1) You won't get any further security-updates for Windows 8.1 after January 2023; nor will the Windows Defender app get any more definition-updates

      (2) For many types of devices (motherboard-specific features; GPUs; printers; scanners; some newer game-controllers) you won't be able to get any drivers now for anything below Windows 10

      (3) Chrome and Edge will end all updates for installs on 8.1 and 7 in January; Brave, Opera and Vivaldi might struggle to continue support, once Google has ceased support; Firefox should continue support for another year-or-two, but then you'll be stuck

  6. yukon-cornelius

    The integrated OneDrive app stopped working for non-work/non-school accounts on May 31st, which according to the Win 8.1 license, means MS has breached the OS's warranty for functionality. Can't hardly wait for more online functionality tied to IE11 (like Live ID integration, Family Settings, or Windows Defender) to halt unexpectedly before Jan 10th, 2023. :-)

    • dftf

      It does seem odd to withdraw support before the OS reaches end-of-life, considering for business customers it will still sync (which you could argue for Windows 7 might be fair, as those customers are explicitly paying ESU for support to continue, but they aren't paying any-extra for Windows 8 installs... though, realistically, how-many of those actually still exist in corporate environments?)

      As for the IE11 stuff, Microsoft have made-clear for years now they will be dropping support for it on their various websites, so should come as no-surprise. But also, I don't get your issue there: every major web-browser right-now still supports Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1, so why not just install a newer-browser? IE11 will receive no security-updates after January on either platform; and Chrome and Edge will end support then also. But Firefox (at-least the ESR edition) should continue support, as it did for years after XP and Vista both retired, and Brave, Opera and Vivaldi may choose to continue support for some time after too.

  7. thewarragulman

    The organisation I work for has only just moved the majority of our ageing Haswell-era PC fleet from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 over the past 8 months, which was something I was shocked by when I started my job in May last year that most of the PCs were still on 8.1, something I didn't realize any businesses ran past 2015.

    We were running it for so long due to some in-house custom applications initially developed in the Windows NT days having weird compatibility issues with installing on Windows 10 as they rely on ancient SQL Server versions that are problematic with Windows 10, and thus the organisation let that stagnate for years and just continued to use Windows 8.1.

    I thought this was ridiculous as I knew support for 8.1 was ending soon and solely found a solution to this problem only last November where I could set up the application on 8.1 and in-place upgrade it to Windows 10 which keeps it working and created a system image out of it. Now we have about 80% of our old Haswell fleet upgraded to Windows 10 with a new Rocket Lake fleet of PCs ready to replace the Haswell machines over the course of the rest of the year. Did I get a raise you ask? lol no but I should have.

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