Windows 7 and 8.1 support ends next month

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 10, 2022
Updated • Dec 10, 2022
Windows 7, Windows 8

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on January 10, 2022. The devices won't receive updates anymore after end of support and some programs, like Chrome or Microsoft Edge, won't receive updates anymore either immediately after support end.

Some users may wonder what they can do about it, others may already have formulated a plan. Some may continue to run devices with these operating systems, even without official update support. Others may upgrade their devices to a supported version of Windows or make the switch to Linux instead.

Here is an overview of the available options:

  • Stay on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
  • Upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11.
  • Switch to Linux.
  • Purchase a new PC with Windows 10, 11, Linux or a Mac.

Windows 7 and 8.1 hold a sizeable share of the Windows market share. Statcounter, one of the companies that is recording usage statistics, sees Windows 7 at a market share of 10.25% and Windows 8.1 at a market share of 2.53% in November 2022. That is almost as much combined as Microsoft's new Windows 11 operating system has (16.13%).

In other words: 12% of the entire Windows userbase face the end of support scenario in January 2023.

Here are all available options:

Stay on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

windows 8.1 support end warning

Staying on Windows 7 or 8.1 has advantages. Nothing changes, at least not right away. Most programs continue to work just like before.

The first option has several drawbacks. A major one is that the operating systems won't receive any security updates anymore, another that popular programs, most browsers for instance, will stop getting updates in 2023. With browser support ending, some sites may not work anymore; this may be the case for finance websites but also for sites that use newer technologies.

As far as the operating system is concerned, security firm 0Patch pledged to deliver security patches for major security issues for at least 2 years after end of support. There is no such option for browsers or other programs, on the other hand. There is risk associated with this option, but mitigations may reduce it.

Upgrade to Windows 10

Is This the End of the Windows 10 Era

This option is open to all devices that run Windows 7 or 8.1. In fact, there may not even be a need to purchase a Windows 10 license, as old product keys may still allow users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Most apps and settings will be retained during the upgrade.

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system was released in 2015 and it will be supported until 2025. There is a good chance that Microsoft will extend support in 2025, because a good number of devices that run Windows 10 are not compatible with Windows 11.

An upgrade to Windows 10 guarantees support with updates until October 2025 at the very least. Unless Windows 10 is disliked because of privacy-critical changes made to the operating system, it may be the best option for most users who want to run a supported operating system on their device.

Upgrade to Windows 11

Windows 11 Upgrade

Microsoft changed the system requirements for Windows 11. Not all devices that run Windows 7 or 8.1 are compatible with Windows 11. Windows users who consider the upgrade to Windows 11 may want to run checks first to find out if the device is compatible with Windows 11. Most apps and settings will be retained during the upgrade.

Windows 11 is a streamlined version of Windows. Microsoft did improve it in several regards, especially when it comes to support technologies, but it also removed decade-old features from it. Users who run the taskbar on the sides or top, for example, won't find that option supported anymore. Third-party tools come to the rescue in this regard, but the operating system is more limited than previous versions in several regards.

Switch to Linux

linux mint 21

Linux is a viable option. While it depends largely on usage, there are modern Linux distributions that require little knowledge of Linux to get started. Linux Mint is a popular choice, but there are plenty of others.

The switch to Linux is a daunting task on the other hand, as it requires setting up everything from scratch. Programs need to be installed anew and some are not available on Linux. It will also take time to get accustomed to the new desktop environment.

On the positive side, Linux is considered to be more secure and privacy-friendly, and it is guaranteed that Linux distributions are available that are compatible with the computer's hardware.

Purchase a new computer

If the device that runs Windows 7 or 8.1 is particularly old, some users may use the end of support to purchase a new computer. Devices running Windows 10 or 11 may be the obvious choice, especially since some data may be migrated to these devices effortlessly. If the PC ships with Windows 10, you may want to make sure that it is compatible with Windows 11 as well.

There is a growing number of Linux devices available, and Apple Mac devices may also be an option for some. Both of these option require a learning phase, as desktop environments are different.

Now You: do you run devices with Windows 7 or 8.1? What do you plan to do? (via Neowin)

Windows 7 and 8.1 support ends next month
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Windows 7 and 8.1 support ends next month
Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on January 10, 2022. Here is the list of options that is available!
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  1. Robert Oliver said on February 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm


    You mention doing a “full restart.” I’m having some restart-related problems, and would appreciate if you would give some detail as to what constitutes a Full Restart.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 24, 2013 at 2:57 am

      What I mean by that is the following. If you simply shut down Windows 8, it will cache some information so that they are loaded from crash and not renewed on the next start of the system. A restart on the other hand loads everything anew instead. An easy way to restart is to press Windows-D while on the desktop and then Alt-F4. This should open the shutdown menu.

      1. Robert Oliver said on February 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        Thanks for the info, Martin.

  2. Luzan Baral said on March 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

    This problem most probably is face by all of us while installing new apps or while updating the existing app on Windows Store. I faced same problem with error 0x80073cf9 and searched on web for my appropriate answer.
    Why go with long method when you can make it working in few steps? I found a great solution to that thanks to such blogs for doing there best on helping searchers like me.
    A trick on How to fix the error code 0x80073cf9 while installing windows store app on Windows 8 Surface pro.

    Turn off Antivirus software and Firewall temporarily.
    Reset store cache: Press Win + R, type WSReset.exe and hit enter.
    Use File explorer to open C:\Windows folder, and re-create an “AUInstallAgent” folder if it is missing.
    Open command prompt (Admin), type the “sfc /scannow” command and press Enter to run System File Checker.
    Open Registry Editor and delete the whole OLE folder in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\

    See here for more

    1. Peshawa said on October 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Thank you very very much dear Luzan Baral for your easy steps.. That is fixed my error 0x8003cf9 permanently .. Peshawa from Kurdistan of Iraq.

  3. Rob said on March 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for the steps.

    My AUInstallAgent folder was missing, and I ran the Modern UI troubleshooter.
    Its a shame that the Microsoft could give a more meaningful error….

  4. MrPollaGrande said on April 25, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Thanks, Luzan Baral. Worked just great ;)

  5. Shinzoku said on May 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Hi, here’s another solution to try:

    Check C:\Program Files\ for a folder named “WindowsApps”. If it isn’t there, create it, then try to install again.

    Good luck!

    1. Kevin Lee said on October 2, 2013 at 9:55 am

      WOW worked like a charm

    2. kay said on January 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks, Worked for me!

  6. evaki said on May 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    thank you very much!!! the 3rd solution worked!

  7. daymaker said on October 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Hi. I had the same problem and none of these solutions helped. CC cleaner portable helped me after cleaning everyting including the registry.

  8. Matthew said on November 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Nothing worked for me. I ended up doing a full reset of my tablet. :(

  9. Vince Nenis said on September 12, 2014 at 10:12 am

    PROBLEMA NA LOJA WINDOWS 8 e 8.1 – Erro 0x80073cf9 – SOLUÇÃO:

    1) C:\Windows
    2) Apague a pasta AUInstallAgent
    3) Criar PASTA chamada AppReadiness


  10. Elsy said on January 20, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    After trying a lot of solutions and not finding it on Microsoft help for apps, you gave me the right link.
    Step 3 worked for me, thank you and greetings from The Netherlands :)

  11. ADITYA said on March 3, 2015 at 7:19 am

    3rd step worked

    1. Anonymous said on October 5, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Finally something worked. Thankyou.

  12. Anonymous said on May 18, 2015 at 11:09 am

    Thanks a lot for the solutions! But even after I tried steps 1, 2 and 3, nothing happened! I also checked if the folder was there, and it was. I also tried disabling my security softwares and I do not want to refresh or restore my computer. Please help!
    Just so you know, the application I am trying to install is Asphalt 8: Airborne. I actually wanted to update it but it always said pending at the installation window. After i got fed up of waiting, I set off to reinstall the game as my progress was connected to my XBox account. But now it does not install!

  13. Mike said on December 20, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Finally a solution that really works!!!!! Thanks man. :o)

  14. Jon Busconi said on October 3, 2016 at 9:33 am

    If you see the 0x80073cf9 on a mobile phone, the problem is that you are trying to install on phone memory instead of mem card. Switch to memcard and it will work for you like it worked for me. Procedure here

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