Yes, Windows 8 is Still Unsupported

Posted on April 19, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows, Windows 8.1 with 22 Comments

This would be much bigger news if Windows 8 was even supported anymore, but it’s not. But it is still perhaps worth noting that Microsoft this week quietly updated a 2018 blog post about Windows Phone and Windows 8/8.1 Store app expirations.

“Microsoft Store will soon stop accepting new apps with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier or Windows 8/8.1 packages (XAP and APPX),” a Microsoft blog post from August 2018 reads. “Soon after that date, we will stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier and Windows 8/8.1 devices; at that time, updates will only be made available to customers using Windows 10 devices.”

Microsoft updated the blog post on April 2, 2019, but it doesn’t explain what changed. Based on a comparison with the original version of the post, available via The Way Back Machine, it appears that the quote above has not hanged. But what has changed is the date at which Microsoft will stop distributing app updates to the original shipping version of Windows 8.

In the original post, Microsoft wrote that it would “stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices” on July 1, 2019. But the April 2 update to the post has changed that to include Windows 8 as well. It now reads that Microsoft will “stop distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices, and Windows 8.”

Note that it does not say anything about Windows 8.1. That’s because the app update schedule for Windows 8.1 remains unchanged and still expires on July 1, 2023.

I don’t see this as a big deal. Windows 8 was supplanted by Windows 8.1 a long time ago (much like Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 long ago supplanted the initial version of Windows 7, which is no longer supported). And if you look at the Windows Lifecycle FAQ, you’ll see that Windows 8 is no longer supported anyway. Only Windows 8.1 is. So this change probably just addresses an oversight in the original post.

“We are applying the existing service pack policy to Windows 8.1,” Microsoft notes, in explaining why it required Windows 8 customers move to Windows 8.1 two years after it became generally available. “Windows 8.1 does not change any hardware requirements compared with Windows 8 or Windows 7 and existing Windows Store apps will work with Windows 8.1. The update has little to no impact on existing desktop apps and there is no direct software cost because business customers who have Software Assurance licensing will receive Windows 8.1 as a free update. For organizations running legacy applications that must be upgraded, there are tools to manage deployment in order to help mitigate cost and impact.”

The change was first noted by Nawzil on Twitter; I found out about this via Neowin.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Yes, Windows 8 is Still Unsupported”

  1. jimchamplin

    Sure would be nice if they’d backport the updated UWP APIs to 8.1. A little more work now to reduce work later AND improve quality of life for their users.

    Then changes and security fixes made to Windows 10’s UWP stack can be applied to 8.1.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      There's no reason to do this. The Windows 8.1 user base is very small (under 5 percent of total) and I'm sure Microsoft has the telemetry to show that Store app usage is even more negligible than that.

    • evox81

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      I have a suspicion that the type of people still using Windows 8.x aren't, in general, the type that also have high engagement in the store and it's apps. Yes, there might be exceptions to this assumption, but we're talking about a statistically insignificant portion of an already statistically insignificant portion of the user base. I just can't see what benefit this would provide to Microsoft.

  2. brettscoast

    Just wondering what percentage of Pc's worldwide still using Windows 8/8.1?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to brettscoast:

      Per Netmarketshare Windows 8.1 had 4.13% and Windows 8 0.75% worldwide desktop usage. That puts 8.x solidly in #4 position behind Windows 10, Windows 7 and the latest macOS. FWLIW, I have a Windows 8.1 VM at home, and I prefer it to Windows 10 and Windows 7. TBH, once MSFT made it possible NEVER to see the Start screen, Windows 8.1 became a very nice version, which must sound like a Vista fan of old.

  3. Jorge Garcia

    While Windows 8 was atrocious, I still use windows 8.1.1 (with the third-party Start8 utility) and I absolutely LOVE it. I will be quite sad when it stops being supported.

    • justme

      In reply to JG1170:

      Right there with you. I also use Start8. It took me a long time to warm to 8.1 - but once I figured out how to make it do what I wanted (and get rid of what annoyed me), its been my daily driver ever since (on my desktop, anyway).

  4. justme

    OK, I have to ask - *where* did you get that screenshot? Given that at release, Microsoft had removed the Start menu (if I recall correctly, some early betas still had one) this seems quite old. That, or a 3rd party start menu is being run.

  5. codymesh

    good lord that Windows 8 screenshot looks awful, holy crap.

    • sevenacids

      In reply to codymesh:

      That's not even Windows 8, or 8.1, since they don't have this kind of Start menu. It looks more like a very early Alpha release of Windows 10 with the very first iteration of it that never shipped. :)

  6. txag

    I have a nice Windows. 7 machine that I use primarily for video conversion (VHS and HI8 family video tape to digital). It’s too old to convert to 10, but it’s too useful to toss out. I have an unused 8.1 system disk and serial, so sometime this year I’ll be moving it to 8.1 to get 3 more years of life.

  7. IanYates82

    The only issue with the 8 -> 8.1 transition was that Server 2012 did *not* get an automatic and free update to Server 2012 R2.

    We've got a number of customers who jumped in and bought Server 2012 - a few are even using them for remote desktop servers. Horrible experience due to the full-screen start menu. But also, they never got the huge improvements that users of 8.1 got when they were upgraded from 8.0. That's a huge shame :(

    Particularly, they are stuck on Internet Explorer 10 - even Windows 7 got Internet Explorer 11 :( Huge issue in Enterprise environments

    • wright_is

      In reply to IanYates82:

      Unless it is a terminal server it isn't much of a problem. We have a bunch of 2012R2, but you only ever open the one application on it that it is running, or you use remote administration tools.

      We use Veeam for backups, so we just install the Veeam manager on an admin PC and configure it remotely. Same for standard Windows server components, most can be remotely administered using the Server Manager tool. The rest can be done using remote PowerShell.

  8. glenn8878

    Isn't that the point? Old Operating Systems need to be upgraded to get support. Install 8.1 now. Then upgrade to Windows 10 in a few years. Or nevermind if your hardware quits.

    • skane2600

      In reply to glenn8878:

      That's a novel definition of support.

      "Is Windows 7 still supported?"

      "Yes, we just updated Windows 10 yesterday"

      • glenn8878

        In reply to skane2600:

        "No, but Windows 10 is supported."

        Windows 8 debut in ‎August 1, 2012 and it was a failure. So, either rollback to Windows 7 or upgrade to 8.1 and then 10.

        • skane2600

          In reply to glenn8878:

          I think you missed my point which was that the option to switch to a new version of an OS isn't evidence of supporting the old one.

          • glenn8878

            In reply to skane2600:

            Huh? That makes no sense. If the old one isn't supported, then what? I don't care if you don't. I'm sure many still using Windows 8 and 7 and don't care that they get no support. It's too much of a hassle to ensure the latest security fixes are installed when it was happening and now it doesn't.

            • skane2600

              In reply to glenn8878:

              You said "Old Operating Systems need to be upgraded to get support."

              A particular version of an OS is either supported or it is not. The question has nothing to do with whether there's a new version available or not.

              "I don't care if you don't. "

              This discussion has nothing to do with what OS's I use.

  9. skane2600

    In response to the Premium side concerning porting UWP to Windows 8.x mobile: My understanding was the Windows Phone 8.x has a bigger installed base than Windows 10 mobile. Is there some documentation to show otherwise?

    • skane2600

      In reply to skane2600:

      So two down-votes without comment suggests to me that there's no evidence that Windows 10 mobile has a bigger installed base than 8.x and people are pissed at me for asking for it.

  10. skane2600

    As a practical matter Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Phone 8.x about 4 years ago when they released Windows 10 phones. Unless removing features is considered support.