The era of the Windows 8 operating system will end on January 10, 2023, as Microsoft announced that it would be retiring Windows 8.1, a better fix of the Windows 8 version. They ended support for Windows 8 in January 2016, and Windows 8.1 is set to follow suit six years later.
Windows 8.1 was much more preferred to its older predecessor, Windows 8, and was developed and released due to numerous complaints about some features in Windows 8.
This decision to retire Windows 8.1 was announced in June 2022 to give about 2.59% of the global population (which amounts to millions of people worldwide) who currently use it to move to higher Windows versions (10/11).
Read on to learn more about this retirement, what it means to businesses and corporations, and what you should do.
How Microsoft Plans to Retire Windows 8.1
Last year, Microsoft created an official support page for Windows 8.1 and began releasing information about how and when they plan to retire and end support for the much-preferred OS. Also, certain apps, such as Microsoft 365, will no longer be supported on the operating system after January 10, 2023.
Microsoft also constantly released numerous notifications to inform users about the operating system’s retirement. This strategy is important as the retirement of an OS might cause reliability, security, and performance issues.
Why Is Microsoft Retiring Windows 8.1?
Microsoft is retiring the Windows 8.1 OS version because of the flaws that come with the user interface, of which there have been many complaints. However, not as much as Windows 8’s. Another reason is to give them more resources and time to shift the focus to providing a more seamless operation and environment with its newer products (Windows 10 and 11)
In 2012, Microsoft faced much criticism from users and IT professionals for Windows 8’s mobile-focused UI design. They then responded to the complaints by shifting to the standard desktop design for Windows 8.1. By then, however, the first experience had taken its toll.
Although Windows 8.1 provided a better and improved user experience, it did not fully resolve most issues in the user interface. As such, Microsoft required a newer and better version to address the user interface limitations of Windows 8.1 and pull back users who had previously left Windows for alternative operating systems.
While Windows 8.1 addressed the main issues with Windows 8 through a more enjoyable user experience, it did not really catch the eye of users. This pushed forward the early release of the newer versions (Windows 10 and 11), which have much better UI experiences by merging desktop and mobile features. This strategy was obviously an attempt to reclaim users who had jumped ship to other OS.
Today, it is no surprise that Windows 10 is the most engaged OS among all OS versions offered by Microsoft, with almost 70% of Windows OS users opting for it.
Which Microsoft Apps No Longer Run on Windows 8.1?
As previously said, Microsoft 365 and many other Office app versions will no longer be supported on Windows 8.1. This is in line with the Modern Lifecycle Policy by Microsoft. From its retirement date, M365 on Windows 8.1 will no longer get new Office updates such as features, privacy safety updates, and bug fixes.
According to the Fixed Lifecycle Policy, while non-subscription Office versions such as Office Professional Plus and Office Home & Student will continue to receive support, the OS itself will no longer be serviced. This leaves the apps open to hackers and malicious actors.
Additionally, Microsoft will no longer deliver the features of the Extended Security Update (ESU) program for all Windows 8.1 users after January 10, 2023. This leaves users open to cyberattacks and affects the OS’s ability to comply with industry standards and regulations.
Options for Current Windows 8.1 Users
If you and your business are currently running Windows 8.1. there are some options for you to explore.
Firstly, consider upgrading your Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. This is easy, as Microsoft has allowed users who still possess activated copies of Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. All you need is the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, and your license will change your OS version.
For users who do not plan to explore the first option, the second one is getting a PC with Windows 11 pre-installed. Windows 11 has high hardware requirements, which implies that PCs that run Windows 8.1 might not be compatible with it. If your laptop is that old, this is probably the time to get a new one and get Windows 11.
The other option few people talk about is installing an OS that is not Windows. Examples are Linux and macOS. ChromeOS Flex, developed by Google, is also a good option. It was specifically designed to run on older PCs. Make a choice today. Do not put yourself at the mercy of online invaders!
Looking to Upgrade Your Windows? Quantum Technologies’ Got You!
Quantum Technologies is an IT service provider operating out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. We offer numerous IT services for clients with personal and business interests.
Contact us for your IT needs, and let’s sort it out for you.