Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system (OS) has finally reached its end-of-support date after almost a decade.
As of today, January 10, 2023, the Redmond tech giant will no longer provide the OS with software updates, technical support, or security patches. You won't immediately notice anything different if you keep using the OS past this date. However, because the OS no longer receives security updates, your system will become more vulnerable to viruses, ransomware, and other security threats.
Also, if your PC encounters any issues, it will be difficult to get support without paying a premium. Finally, some programs may no longer work properly as some software manufacturers discontinue support for Windows 8.1.
Introduced back on October 17, 2013, Windows 8.1 was Microsoft's response to the many negative user complaints about Windows 8. It brought back the Start button (but not the menu), provided users with the ability to boot straight to the desktop instead of the Start Screen, and featured a Bing-based unified search system. Aside from these, Windows 8.1 also had a tighter integration with SkyDrive (now OneDrive), a transparent device encryption system based on BitLocker on compatible devices, and support for 3D printing.
According to Statcounter, 2.59% of PCs worldwide still run Windows 8.1 as of December 2022. If your PC is one of these, you can easily upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost using your current Windows 8.1 key. There's also the Windows 11 option, but it might be more difficult to take this route because of the OS's stringent system requirements. By upgrading to a more modern OS, you regain access to new features, security updates, and support.
Personally, I commend Microsoft for coming out with Windows 8.1. While it wasn't until Windows 10 that I believe Microsoft offered the best of both worlds for touch and traditional PC users, it was an admission from the Redmond giant that Windows 8 needed a lot of work. It also showed that the company remained committed to people still using a keyboard and mouse combination despite the OS having a touch-heavy interface.
To Windows 8.1, we bid you farewell.
Do you have fond memories of using Windows 8.1? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.