The end of Windows 8.1 is near, and Microsoft plans to inform customers with warnings

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 24, 2022
Updated • Jun 24, 2022
Windows 8
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Microsoft plans to display notifications on Windows 8.1 systems to inform customers about the upcoming end of support.

Windows 8.1 was not Microsoft's most successful desktop operating system, but it still is used by millions of computer users.. Depending on who you ask, top picks include Windows XP SP3, Windows 7 SP2 and one of the newer Windows 10 versions.

windows 8.1 support end warning

When Windows 7 ran out of support more than two years ago, Microsoft displayed notifications on the desktop that informed customers about the upcoming end of support. With ESU, organizations and businesses could extend support for three years for a price that doubled with each passing year. Clever folks found a way to bypass Windows 7 ESU to install the updates that Microsoft releases on home devices.

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Coincidentally, Windows 7 ESU support is going to end in the same month that Windows 8.1 support is going to end. Microsoft confirmed already that it won't be launching an ESU program for Windows 8.1 to extend the operating system lifetime for organizations and businesses:

Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1. Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023 may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations.

Windows 8.1 support ends on January 10, 2023. Microsoft will release a last round of security updates for the operating system on the day before support is ended entirely. Microsoft won't provide technical support, software updates or security updates after official support ends.

The operating system was launched in 2013 as the successor to the unpopular Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8.1 addressed some of the issues of Windows 8, but it never managed to convince the majority of Windows 7 device owners to make the upgrade. Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 8.1 in January 2018, five years after its initial release. The five years of extended support that follow mainstream support end in January 2022.

Microsoft has three suggestions for customers who are running Windows 8.1 devices:

  1. Buy a new PC with Windows 11 (recommended).
  2. Install Windows 11 on the current PC (if compatible).
  3. Install Windows 10 on the current PC.

Customers have several other options, including making the switch to Linux, or continuing to run Windows 8.1. While not recommended, as security vulnerabilities won't be fixed anymore after January 10, 2023, it may be a temporary option for some.

The upgrade to Windows 10 may not be the best course of action either, as Microsoft plans to retire the operating system in 2025. Still, if compatible, the device could be upgraded free of charge to Windows 11 to continue receiving security updates.

Now You: do you use Windows 8.1 devices? What do you plan to do when the operating system reaches end of support?

Summary
The end of Windows 8.1 is near, and Microsoft plans to inform customers with warnings
Article Name
The end of Windows 8.1 is near, and Microsoft plans to inform customers with warnings
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Windows 8.1 support ends in January 2023. Microsoft plans to notify customers about the upcoming end of support.
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Comments

  1. Sammi said on June 24, 2022 at 3:51 pm
    Reply

    Will do a free upgrade of Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 22H2 when it is released later this year. Get to extend my h/w life till 2025.

  2. Service Pack said on June 24, 2022 at 5:05 pm
    Reply

    There is no such thing as Windows 7 Service Pack 2 officially…

    Windows 8.1 brought improvements to Windows 8, however I still prefer and use Windows 8.0 and I still use Windows 7 without ESU…

    Install Startisback on Windows 8.0 and it will feel like Windows 7 with a flat/2D theme/UI

  3. Anonymous said on June 24, 2022 at 6:09 pm
    Reply

    “Depending on who you ask, top picks include Windows XP SP3…”

    I’d be one of them.

    1. pHROZEN gHOST said on June 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm
      Reply

      I did an extensive amount of work with Windows XP embedded in my job. I actually tailored the OS to be as light, secure and useable as possible for the embedded devices it ran on. Of the ~12,000 components of XP available I used just over 500. At the time I was a Windows XP user. The OS in all its forms was quite stable.

      When I retired, the company which I had worked for was already on its way to Embedded Linux. My son is now working in that job :-)

  4. Paul(us) said on June 24, 2022 at 6:37 pm
    Reply

    Windows is (Like they did before with Windows xp and others Windows o.s.) offering special security update licensee for governments, local authorities and company’s.
    Maybe there is a possibility that you can hitch a ride on it.

  5. Anonymous said on June 24, 2022 at 6:44 pm
    Reply

    Still running Win 7 on one old PC here. OSes don’t “end”, they just eventually lose compatibility, which takes many years usually.

  6. Mothy said on June 24, 2022 at 7:57 pm
    Reply

    I’m still using Windows 8.1 Pro on two Dell desktop PC’s along with Classic Shell to make the UI similar to Windows 7. They are rock solid systems and run very well with only reboots once a month to take a system image before installing Microsoft updates.

    Both PC’s came with Windows 10 but after a few months I grew tired of the “OS as a service” where it felt like the system was serving Microsoft’s wishes instead of my own. What really pushed me over the edge was the change to Windows updates where there is no longer a simple method to turn off updating like previous OS versions. I also did not like the implementation of various services (SIH Client, WaasMedic and Update Orchestrator) and scheduled tasks that would periodically run even if you had disabled them. At some point they would automatically re-enable themselves and start running again which only contributed to the feeling the OS is not in my control anymore. Whereas with Windows 8.1 I can simply turn off updates and also perform a check for updates any time I wish without worrying it will trigger the download of something. Instead it just returns a list of updates that I can easily choose what to download and install. I prefer that level of built-in control and no need for some third party tools to do the it.

    As to when support ends for Windows 8.1, I plan to continue to use the systems normally for quite a while as OS updates are but one layer of security. I used Windows XP for years after support ended and I never had an issue regarding security of the system. Long term my plan is to move to Linux. Microsoft has lost the plot with their OS.

  7. 9ai said on June 24, 2022 at 10:50 pm
    Reply

    Leave it in Win 8.1 or upgrade to Win 10 till I buy new hardware.

  8. Anonymous said on June 24, 2022 at 11:05 pm
    Reply

    It is said that the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry series security updates may also be compatible. Hard to say whether there will be an installation restriction (or an enthusiast may develop a bypass integration program), yet these can extend the Windows 8.1 support to July 11, 2023 (at least for the 32-bit OS versions). The 64-bit OSes may be able to have the Windows Server 2012 (/R2) updates adapted to install on Windows 8.1 versions until at least October 10, 2023 (unless Microsoft opts to extend its support into ESU).

    Alternatives for Windows 7 support after ESU may also exist either in the Windows Embedded Standard 7 ESU security updates (which are supported until October 10, 2023), or the Windows Embedded POSReady 7 ESU security updates (which are supported until October 8, 2024).

    The source weblinks for Windows 7 Embedded ESU are listed below:
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-embedded-standard-7
    https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-embedded-posready-7

  9. Anonymous said on June 25, 2022 at 12:42 am
    Reply

    >Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1

    server 2012 r2 (same kernel as 8.1) is technically getting esu updates until october 2026: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-server-2012-r2

    i’m not sure how exactly people are going to get these patches working on win8.1 and software/hardware support is going to suck, but it’s funny to imagine windows 8 technically outliving non-ltsc versions of winblows 10 so there’s that

  10. JOhnIL said on June 25, 2022 at 12:51 am
    Reply

    Windows 8.1 was probably the last less annoying Windows other then the atrocious user interface which as some said can be rectified mostly with Classic Shell or similar. If your still on Windows 8.1 your hardware probably doesn’t officially run Windows 11. Best best upgrade to Windows 10 if possible. Drivers probably better suited for older hardware. That buys you a couple years and maybe then buy a new PC.

  11. Anonymous said on June 25, 2022 at 1:02 am
    Reply

    RIP Windows. Probably the last decent OS from Microsoft. Windows 8.1 was alright on tablets and light on resources. Microsoft ruined it with 10. 11 is a lot worse than anything of the two. Still nothing comes close to the superiority of Windows 7. Time to switch to Linux once ESU is done.

  12. allen said on June 25, 2022 at 5:15 am
    Reply

    I was thinking of maybe upgrading my sister’s old Win8.1 machine… to ChromeOS Flex, but I think it may be too old (10+ years)–it didn’t exactly use cutting-edge components. So, I just got her a new Chromebook (latest and greatest)–way better for her basic needs.

  13. Anonymous said on June 25, 2022 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

    I will buy a new Windows 11 PC, then dual-boot with Ubuntu 22.04.
    Thanks for the tip about driver updates Martin.

  14. Hits Don`t Lie! said on June 25, 2022 at 3:41 pm
    Reply

    end of windows 8.1 :(

  15. TelV said on June 25, 2022 at 3:59 pm
    Reply

    Buy a cheap Windows 10 machine and strip it down to remove all the crapware, telemetry, privacy concerns etc.
    https://github.com/adolfintel/Windows10-Privacy

    I’ll only need it if online banking becomes inaccessible using Windows 8.1 Will have to wait until Jan 10 /’23 to find out what the position is on that score.

    Linux just doesn’t appeal to me somehow and I don’t want to risk screwing up my 8.1 machine by installing a distro to find out.

    It’s a pity that 0Patch.com won’t be supporting Windows 8.1 because that would have been the ideal solution, but according to their site they don’t consider it worth their while due to insufficient users.

  16. Clas said on June 25, 2022 at 4:53 pm
    Reply

    Still on win7pro and never a problem at all. Have latest updates as of 5-22 with Simplex without all telemetry and tracking. Everything sandboxed and vpn’d. Weekly images saved. Smooth and quick with only Sandboxed Portable browsers on flash drives. So easy, so simple, so fast and problem free. No updates that I don’t want, almost no interference at all. Never a freeze or blue screen or anything at all. Two pcs running all day, every day, doing tons of video and surfing and poker and games. Maybe sometime in the distant future I will change…but then WHY?

  17. ilev said on June 25, 2022 at 8:00 pm
    Reply

    “Install Windows 11 on the current PC (if compatible).
    Install Windows 10 on the current PC”

    Users will need to buy a license as Microsoft doesn’t support upgrade to Windows 10/11.

  18. Antonio said on June 26, 2022 at 11:02 am
    Reply

    I’ve a laptop with win 8.1 installed. Can I upgrade it to win 10 or 11 for free? What have I to do?

    1. Anonymous said on June 29, 2022 at 5:51 pm
      Reply

      bump

    2. Anonymous said on June 29, 2022 at 5:55 pm
      Reply

      Apparently yes

      https://www.zdnet.com/article/heres-how-you-can-still-get-a-free-windows-10-upgrade/

      The above article is from January, 2022.

  19. Akina said on June 26, 2022 at 11:59 am
    Reply

    Windows8.1 is a better Windows7 with a modern look. I use it on my old desktop and it is more stable and troublefree than my new W10 laptop. I’m going to use it until the support ends and then switch to Linux, probably Mint or openSUSE.

  20. Max said on June 26, 2022 at 12:40 pm
    Reply

    My preference would be to move to Linux.

    However, as I have several essential windows-only applications that don’t run properly under Wine, an eventual move to Windows 10 seems inevitable, but not in January. Though I may return to dual booting with Linux, as I did years ago.

  21. Jrem said on June 26, 2022 at 2:34 pm
    Reply

    will the ESU bypass be available for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 After January 2023 to extend until the year 2026

  22. Imdra said on June 26, 2022 at 8:00 pm
    Reply

    On the other hand if you use Windows 7 2009 Windows 8.1 2013 the browsers chrome firefox opera edge ect will no longer support in the future these two operating systems and especially the old version of macOS

    Google chrome January 2023
    edge january 2023
    opera april 2023
    firefox or firefox esr 2023 and 2024

    steam 2025 and more

    here

  23. Imdra said on June 26, 2022 at 8:05 pm
    Reply

    and antivirus with new features will not be supported also on windows 7 2009 and windows 8.1 2013 in the future

  24. Plants said on June 28, 2022 at 9:10 am
    Reply

    I actually prefer 8 over 8.1 and all the other Windowses.
    It doesn’t waste precious taskbar space with a useless Start button, which some boomer brainlets started seething over.

    A fullscreen Start menu is a lot more sensible than a tiny rectangle as well, as it lets you view all of your programs at once instead of having to scroll through them.

    But boomer brainlets are so averse to even the slightest change M$ had to regress not only 8.1, but also 10 and 11, and now everyone has to suffer.

  25. pd said on June 28, 2022 at 12:21 pm
    Reply

    When this happened with 7, there was a way to block the nagging ‘update’ notification rubbish.

    Is there a way to do the same for this latest round of useless built in obsolescence?

    If you took a few moments to get rid of the default 8 shell, it’s fine. In fact I had to do the same thing for ‘whatever the next version of Windows was called when I installed it’ and block updates once I got it how I wanted it. So 8 was a better experience in that it did not get to force the so-called ‘rapid release’ (like a machine gun you need to effing hide from!) bugfest on users.

    MS only really made one single mistake with 8, albeit a huge one: a single UX for every device type? Nope. Windows Phone, Surfacey touched devices, even Xbox are suited to a poking tiles / virtual keyboard oriented interface. Real computers are not. This has been proven since for whilst every poor web dev sod out there must wrangle basically the same code into a UX that works on every device, it’s never happened at OS level since. Chromebook and Android’s phone UX are split exactly the way MS should have split 8: normal
    Start Me Up menu, taskbar, system tray, desktop for laptops and desktops; pokey-tiles and virtual keyboards for everything else.

  26. Mothy said on July 13, 2022 at 6:58 pm
    Reply

    If you wish to disable the End of Support (EOS) notification see instructions below (from here: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/2000017-registry-keys-and-command-line-info-to-block-the-windows-8-1-end-of-life/)

    reg add HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify /f /v DiscontinueEOS /t REG_DWORD /d 1

    reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify /f /v DiscontinueEOS /t REG_DWORD /d 1

    reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\EOSNotify /f /v RemindMeAfterEndOfSupport /t REG_DWORD /d 1

    Click on start, then type in cmd and right mouse click and run as administrator. Now enter the following commands:

    schtasks /Change /DISABLE /TN “Microsoft\Windows\Setup\EOSNotify”
    schtasks /Change /DISABLE /TN “Microsoft\Windows\Setup\EOSNotify2”

  27. EP said on July 13, 2022 at 10:13 pm
    Reply

    latest Win8.1 July 2022 updates like KB5015874 now show a FULL SCREEN EOL notice as recently reported from BleepingComputer – “Windows 8.1 now shows full-screen ‘End of Support’ warnings”:
    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/windows-81-now-shows-full-screen-end-of-support-warnings/

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