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PSA: Support for Windows 8.1 is ending next week

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Windows 7 reached end of support about three years ago and it's almost time for another Microsoft operating system to bite the dust. Windows 8.1 will be reaching its end of life next week on January 10, 2023.

As a refresher, Windows 8.1 was released back in 2013 as a response to customer feedback about Windows 8. As such, it notably featured the return of the Start button, a Bing-based unified search system, the ability to boot directly direct to desktop, and more. Although it was received more positively than its predecessor, it failed to address several issues and as such, it does not have the loyal customer base that Windows 7 enjoyed.

In terms of what end of support means for Windows 8.1 users, they will not be offered any more security updates or technical support following the OS' end of life. Although Microsoft has noted that some people might be able to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, it's probably better to get a new PC instead. Of course, it recommends Windows 11 but it is important to remember that Windows 10 is still an option too, as it is supported until October 14, 2025.

This is why Microsoft recommends purchasing a new PC instead of upgrading your the OS of your existing system:

PCs originally built with Windows 8.1 are designed with technology that is about 10 years old. Once you move to a new PC, there will be many aspects of Windows that you will find familiar, but also with important software and hardware innovations and capabilities that were not available a decade ago. Some of the innovative new features available with Windows 11 on a new computer:

  • Newer PC hardware that is faster, more capable and more compatible with the latest industry technology.
  • To help you keep your computer secure, you can take advantage of the latest security capabilities:
    • Get built-in security at no extra cost. Your Windows computer comes with built-in security features, including firewall and internet protections to help safeguard against viruses, malware and ransomware.
    • Use facial recognition or your fingerprint for more-secure sign-ins into Windows 11 on a PC compatible with Windows Hello. You can also use a localised PIN or your phone as a key.
  • Organise your image files with the Photos app and they’ll be ready for easy viewing and sharing—even across devices. You can also search for certain themes and people in your photos. You just need to make sure your images are stored on OneDrive and you’re signed into your Microsoft account.

Microsoft has boasted that Windows 11 is the way to go because it is its most secure OS to date, saying that it's really easy to migrate your existing content and software to its latest OS.

While your Windows 8.1 PC will continue functioning in an unsupported state after January 10, you may experience degraded experiences across some software. For example, in-app and new purchases from the Microsoft Store will not be possible after this date, Microsoft Store app updates will stop after June 30, you may experience problems with Office apps, and web browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge will be dropping support for the legacy OS soon too.

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