Windows 8 and 8.1 still make up less than 4.3 percent of all Windows installations globally, according to StatCounter, compared to Windows 11, Windows 10, or even Windows 7. However, the end of the line is near for those who are still on Windows 8.1. Microsoft will soon start sending alerts to the last few Windows 8.1 customers, informing them that support and security updates will stop on January 10, 2023, and advising them to upgrade to a newer operating system, according to ZDNet (Windows 8.0 support ended in 2016).
When Windows 7’s upgrades ceased in January 2020, Microsoft sent consumers identical end-of-support notifications. Users will be able to click the notice messages to get more information or to ignore them until the end-of-support date approaches, according to ZDNet.
It certainly seems like the January 2023 deadline is a hard one. As it did with Windows 7, Microsoft claims it has no intentions to provide continuous Windows 8.1 security upgrades to companies who opt to pay for them. Windows 7 is still running on 13% of all Windows PCs globally, but businesses may continue to purchase security updates for it until 2023. In contrast to continuing to maintain the somewhat less popular Windows 8, it does so in a way that justifies the additional work and expenditure on Microsoft’s behalf.
Upgrade to Windows 10, which was Microsoft’s flagship operating system until less than a year ago and will continue to get upgrades until at least October 2025, for any remaining Windows 8 customers who aren’t ready to replace their PCs. Any computer that can run Windows 8 passably should be able to run Windows 10 as well.
Microsoft’s free Windows 8 to Windows 10 upgrade offer was officially discontinued in 2016 nevertheless. However, from a technological standpoint, nothing prevents Windows 10 from installing and activating correctly on devices with active Windows 8 licenses, either automatically or via a product key (for retail licenses) (for PCs sold with Windows 8 preinstalled).
As a result of the company’s goal to standardize the Windows install base on a single version of the operating system around the year 2015, Microsoft has been leaving this update loophole open for years. As we’ve stated, Windows 11 adopts a distinctly different strategy. The licensing and activation requirements for customers who update to newer versions of Windows on their own devices do not, however, appear to be strictly enforced by Microsoft at this time.
Because it attempted to graft a touch-friendly tablet interface onto the Windows desktop, removing or changing recognisable components like the Start menu in the process, Windows 8 failed, at least in part. What was otherwise mostly a nice incremental improvement to the well-liked Windows 7 was detracted by these jarring interface changes. Thanks to a free upgrade offer that let all Windows 7 and Windows 8 PCs to switch to Windows 10 at no additional cost once it was replaced with the more recognizable-looking Windows 10 in 2015, Windows 8’s market share swiftly declined.