While Windows 7 has a fighting chance, it is game over for Windows 8.1

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 7, 2023
Windows 7
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Windows 8.1 receives one more batch of security patches on the coming Tuesday before Microsoft lays the operating system to rest. Windows 8.1 does not get the same Extended Security Updates treatment that Windows 7 received for the past three years. Once the last patch has been released, it is game over for the operating system.

windows 8.1 support end warning

Windows 8.1 users may continue using it, but the system's security issues will no longer be fixed by Microsoft or anyone else. Browsers and other programs will stop getting updates, and some websites will refuse to work as new technologies are no longer supported by the browsers.

Windows 7, which receives the last ESU patches on Tuesday as well, looks to be in a similar situation on first glance. Microsoft won't release updates for it anymore, even though there is still demand for that. Many programs won't receive updates anymore and the situation looks identical to the one that Windows 8.1 users face.

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There is a difference, however. 0Patch, known for keeping operating systems and programs alive beyond official support ranges, announced that it will support Windows 7 with at least two additional years of critical security updates. Additionally, it announced this week that it will also support Microsoft Edge on Windows 7 until at least January 2025.

With the security side of things taken care of, Windows 7 is the better option going forward for users and organizations who do not want to upgrade to Windows 10 or can't, for whatever reason. The extended security updates come at a cost, as 0Patch is charging around $25 per year and device for the privilege. Microsoft charged the same amount in the first year of ESU, but doubled the price for the second and third year.

Windows 7 users may still run into compatibility issues that prevent certain programs from running. While some software companies announced end of support already, e.g., Google with its Chrome browser, it is still uncertain for how longer others will support their programs on Windows 7 and also 8.1. Still, it seems likely that some programs will stop working. This would be a major problem in some cases. Gamers, for example, may rely on platforms such as Steam. If Valve, the company behind Steam, decides to end support for Windows 7, it could mean that Steam can't be run anymore on Windows 7 or 8.1.

All things considered, Windows 7 users are still in a better position, provided that they subscribe to 0Patch's offer to receive critical security updates for the next 2 years at least.

Now You: What would you do in that case?

Summary
While Windows 7 has a fighting chance, it is game over for Windows 8.1
Article Name
While Windows 7 has a fighting chance, it is game over for Windows 8.1
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Windows 8.1 receives one more batch of security patches on the coming Tuesday before Microsoft lays the operating system to rest.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Emir-Stein Center said on January 7, 2023 at 3:34 pm
    Reply

    Windows 8.1 (not talking about 8) was a good improvement over Windows 7, except for the the full-screen Start. Software installation was much faster, colour accuracy was improved even for older displays etc. But it was torn between Windows 7 and 8 world and destined to die young.
    It’s a sad thing that after 8.1 MS no longer were focused on Windows, Nadella came and fired the whole “quality control & testing” department and Windows became a forever buggy half-baked platform.

    1. Akina said on January 7, 2023 at 4:20 pm
      Reply

      Because of Windows 8 many people didn’t even give a chance to Win8.1 and switched back to Win7. It was the best Windows I ever use, better than Win7 and bloatware and privacy nightmare Win10 in terms of performance. Its UI still looks gorgeous and I actually liked that fullscreen Start menu.

      1. Anonymous said on January 7, 2023 at 4:53 pm
        Reply

        but they did give it a chance…unfortunately full screen start is definitely a deal breaker for desktop, 2in1 laptop user obviously liking it but on full tower pc, it definitely aint. there is also that shutdown/fast boot issue on the early days, ppl using whether budget or gaming laptop have this problem where when they start up their laptop just to find it in low battery situation even though yesterday it was still high. oh and the useless “app” bloat start in this windows version

      2. Hosta said on January 9, 2023 at 4:39 am
        Reply

        That’s what I did. I adopted an early build (forget which one) and found that it had some decent improvements even on older systems. The full screen start was extremely annoying on a massive LCD screen. As well as trying to navigate via mouse which I have to do at least 50% of the time. I switched back to Windows 7 and never looked back until Windows 10 and now 11.

        They too have their issues, but are more manageable in my opinion.

        I did like what they did in 8.1, but I wasn’t going to upgrade/ reinstall everything again.

    2. Anonymous said on January 8, 2023 at 12:22 am
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      The start screen is so dumb. Once you open it, there’s no way to close it unless you press the windows logo in keyboard. The down arrow logo only opens app list, who designed this horrondeus UI??

      1. Anonymous said on January 8, 2023 at 7:53 pm
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        If you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen, your taskbar will pop up and you can close the start screen. Also, you can press the desktop tile on the start screen.

      2. Jody Thornton said on January 9, 2023 at 11:40 am
        Reply

        OR … just install Classic Shell. There you go!

    3. Jek Porkins said on January 10, 2023 at 10:56 pm
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      Windows 8 was uglier. Flat and boring rectangular design on everything.

      I don’t know if it was better than Windows 7, but it was definitely uglier. Also forcing a tablet UX with hidden buttons and gestures on PCs with mouse and keyboard was stupid. When I saw what crap Windows 8 was in 2012, I switched back to Windows 7 and kept it until 2019.

      1. Jody Thornton said on January 11, 2023 at 1:13 am
        Reply

        See to me though, flatter and “boring” is, whether you like it or not, more contemporary and fitting with today’s screen style. Although skeuomorphic design may be detailed or prettier, it simply looks out of date now, because, good coding requires that screens be adaptable to different device dimensions. While that may make your skin crawl – THAT’S where the money is – in mobile. So flat design is where it’s at. And Windows 8 brought that even to iOS and Android.

        So I’m OK with a flatter, faster Windows 7. Besides, you can use several Aero-like visual styles on Windows 8 too. So the best of both worlds.

      2. Jody Thornton said on January 11, 2023 at 1:14 am
        Reply

        @Jek:

        In 2019, what did you replace Windows 7 with?

  2. John G. said on January 7, 2023 at 4:46 pm
    Reply

    As the song says: “Only know you love her when you let her go”. Hasta la vista Win 8.1!

  3. Mothy said on January 7, 2023 at 5:05 pm
    Reply

    I was planning to stay on Windows 8.1 (Pro with Classic/Open Shell) for a while on two desktop PC’s and eventually move to Linux. However all that changed a week ago after testing the new Linux Mint 21.1 LTS (Cinnamon edition) via a bootable USB.

    I was very impressed with the setup and operation of Mint. Everything just worked, it detected and installed all needed hardware drivers right away and I was able to immediately start evaluating/testing all the software that I need/use (ex. Firefox ESR, Ungoogled Chromium, Proton Mail Bridge, KeePass, Citrix. Redshift replaced f.lux). The only exception was QTranslate that only works on Windows and which I could not find a Linux application that even comes close to the same feature set and functionality. But I found a workaround for that specific use case via Oracle VirtualBox to run Windows 8.1 as a virtual machine. I then used Macrium to create an image of that desktop and since the other desktop has exactly the same hardware I was able to simply restore the image to it. So now both desktops are running Linux Mint Cinnamon with the option to run a Windows 8.1 virtual machine.

    Now next week’s Microsoft patch Tuesday will be the first time I have not had to worry about updating any personal Windows systems since they are now running Linux Mint instead. It’s quite refreshing to not even have to think about it anymore. So after just a week of using Linux Mint I find myself asking, “Why did I not switch to Linux sooner?” =D

    1. Mothy said on January 7, 2023 at 7:43 pm
      Reply

      Oops, just realized I left out the part where I installed Linux Mint on the SSD then configured and installed all software. After that is when the Macrium image was created and restored to the other PC.

    2. smaragdus said on January 8, 2023 at 6:38 pm
      Reply

      You might check Crow Translate as a replacement for QTranslate which is cross platform, open source and free:

      Crow Translate website – https://crow-translate.github.io/

      Crow Translate Github project — https://github.com/crow-translate/crow-translate

      I have not used Crow Translate on Linux however on Windows it works fine and the developer is helpful and open to suggestions.

      1. Mothy said on January 9, 2023 at 12:02 am
        Reply

        Thank you for the suggestion. I did test Crow Translate when first trying out Linux Mint via a bootable USB. But it would not provide a translation in a pop up window when highlighting selected text with the mouse like QTranslate does (ex. on a webpage). I think there was a keyboard shortcut to do it but I did not go any further with it as that is an extra step after already using the mouse to highlight the text. But also because it lacks a dark mode that I’ve found very helpful with my aging eyes and it does not have a history feature like QTranslate which can be very useful to review previous translations or save a translated conversation for future reference.

    3. Jody Thornton said on January 9, 2023 at 11:42 am
      Reply

      @Mothy:

      Have you tried Wine at all with Windows applications? I have attempted it in at least three years, so I wondered if you had an update impression of it on Mint.

      1. Mothy said on January 9, 2023 at 2:13 pm
        Reply

        @Jody

        No, I have not tried Wine on Linux Mint. I researched using it for QTranslate but read that it was unreliable or just did not work (for QTranslate). Since that is the only application I really need that requires Windows and because I like to operate by the K.I.S.S principle I did not look into it any further and instead just use Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine (via Oracle VirtualBox). It works well and I also like that it keeps things isolated from the Linux Mint host and I can just shut down or start up the virtual machine any time.

  4. notime4tenele said on January 7, 2023 at 7:14 pm
    Reply

    Windows Embedded postready 7 updates should be 100% compatible with Windows 7 pro and others, dead line Oct 8, 2024

    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-embedded-81-industry

    Same logic with Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry : Jul 11, 2023

    https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/lifecycle/products/windows-embedded-posready-7

    However, there is a possibility that the maintenance will be considerably longer, to achieve this you need to keep your current windows 7 and windows 8.1 for an indefinite period and in large numbers: this will force ms to maintain its systems.

    It is that or you would be under spying windows/clouds 10/11.

  5. Peterc said on January 7, 2023 at 9:58 pm
    Reply

    Unless 0Patch has found a straightforward way to make Windows 7 fully functional on post-Skylake chipsets, this is a moot point for me. Looking at Windows 10 and 11, however, it’s clear to me that Microsoft cast an envious eye at Alphabet/Google’s trillion-dollar market cap and decided that they wanted in on the user-tracking, -profiling, and -data-mining racket. (I suspect that that’s at least one of the reasons the US Department of Defense got its own bespoke version of Windows 10: they didn’t even trust off-the-shelf Windows 10 Enterprise. Last I heard, the US Navy was still using Red Hat Linux for its command-and-control systems.)

    But I digress. I’ll probably continue to use Windows 10 for a while longer — to quote George Thorogood, “cause I’m TIRED!”* — with a local user account, ShutUp10, Windows Privacy Dashboard, Steve Gibson’s InControl, and Sordum’s Windows Update Blocker, while scrupulously avoiding Microsoft applications. But just yesterday I updated Ventoy on my trusty 256GB multi-OS thumb drive and added the latest releases of Linux Mint Cinnamon, Kubuntu (both LTS and interim), and Manjaro KDE. Now that I’m no longer a round-the-clock family caregiver, I’ll have a bit more time and energy to once again trial various distros live and in VirtualBox to decide which might be worthy of a bare-metal install. I’m at an age where I no longer enjoy having to learn how to tweak and hack OSes into submission, and I’m a lot more comfortable with (read: unscathed by) PPAs than AUR scripts, so I have a hunch it’s going to be either Mint or Kubuntu, no matter how theoretically appealing a fully up-to-date rolling-release distro may be.

    *And also, because voidtools Everything is INVALUABLE and still has no real substitute in Linux. To my mind, adding the foundations that would make instant (and instantly updated) file searches possible should be a TOP PRIORITY for Linux kernel and file-system developers. If I end up sticking with Windows, Everything will literally be the ONLY reason.

  6. Marios said on January 7, 2023 at 10:39 pm
    Reply

    still cant understand…you add 4/5/6 years of support on your KB and at the same time you announced the end of support…..i hope MS gonna make the surprise even in the last minute….

  7. Anonymous said on January 7, 2023 at 11:37 pm
    Reply

    There is an increasing number of programs that no longer update for Windows 7 so, even if you do decide to use 0Patch to take care of Windows security, you may not be secure via programs you use.

  8. Sol Shine said on January 8, 2023 at 2:02 am
    Reply

    Here is a handy methode I use.
    Buy a SATA SSD and put it in a external usb case with at least a fast USB 3 port.
    Install Windows 10 on it, but do not activate it. It can still be used, but costs you nothing.
    Download and install AMD, Nvidia and Intel GPU drivers for the most used GPU’s.
    Disable AMD software from starting automaticly when Windows starts.
    Install your favorite Windows software (ie Firefix, LibreOffice, VLC player, Ungoogled Chromium, etc)
    Next install your favorite Linux distro to dual boot into. I recommend Linux MInt or MX Linux.
    Install your favorite LInux software ( (ie Firefix, LibreOffice, VLC player, Ungoogled Chromium, etc).
    Now you have a external SSD with Windows and Linux that you can boot and use on many different PC’s or laptops. This works better than booting from a USB, because the OSes and software run faster and can be updated.
    This works better for Windows if you use a SATA SSD instead of a NVMe SSD.

    PS: This is my last post on ghacks after my last 2 posts were censored for their honest and direct critique of what this site has become (Shaun articles with lies, censorship, etc) after Martin sold it.
    So I am done helping to promote this site with my comments.
    We will see if this farewell post will be censored too.
    I wish all the readers who value truth, health and privacy, a good life.

  9. WindowsSevenPointOne said on January 8, 2023 at 2:53 am
    Reply

    Windows 11 is terrible and I wouldn’t use it even if it was free. I’m staying on Windows 7 and purchasing 0patch pro for 2 years.

    1. Rob Ingram said on January 8, 2023 at 3:49 pm
      Reply

      same, i’m not going out spending thousands to buy new laptops x2 and new main system for win 11, and 10 is diabolical, I prefer 7 professional x64 as all 3 systems run it, so I plan to get 0patch to keep our systems secure, also they have said as I had a email they will security adopt office 2013 which again i use on 1 laptop (the other and the main system have office 2016), I do hope microsoft keep the ESU going, as if they do they will be onto a winner,
      windows 7 does what I want it to do and is faster

  10. JaySee said on January 8, 2023 at 3:39 am
    Reply

    It’s a shame 8.1 gets so much undeserved hate. It’s objectively better than 7. I was contemplating downgrading an old laptop back to 8.1 from 10, but might have to use 7 or Linux.

    What’s so bad about a fullscreen start menu? What are you focusing on besides the menu when you click start? A fullscreen start menu is objectively better UI/UX. You focus on the 1 task at hand with big easy to view and select choices. The re-sizable, scrolling start menu of 10 and 11 are actually a step back by old fogeys who complain of change.

    1. Jody Thornton said on January 8, 2023 at 6:27 pm
      Reply

      @Jaysee:

      I still use Windows 8. I hated it at first, but one I put on Classic Shell, I never looked back. I actually prefer it to Windows 8.1, as the I/O subsystem seems a hair more responsive, and I don’t use the Metro app ecosystem at all. So for me it’s been fine.

      Until October 2023, I plan on continuing to use updates for Server 2012 on Windows 8. That extends things for ten months, plus I at least have until June to keep using Firefox ESR 102 updated. So I don’t need to vacate Windows 8 quite yet.

      On MSFN, there is a Chromium variant of 360 Extreme Explorer, with all of the telemetry disabled, and perhaps that could be a next browser to use. I’m also keeping my eye on the progress of myPal 68. Hopefully an x64 variant will arise at some point.

  11. The Tech Guy said on January 8, 2023 at 4:37 am
    Reply

    I just installed the 1st release of 2023 of windows 11 on my test PC. Thought I would let some know about this, what I found? Windows 11 now is letting you set the default browser, without asking you to change the app. It just sets it.

  12. Novice said on January 8, 2023 at 5:04 am
    Reply

    First Waterfox then BRAVE Browser stopped supporting Windows 8, so I now use LibreWolf and sometimes Firefox. Apart from that, no problems so far.

    If I switch to a Linux OS, what happens if I plugin a Windows formatted external hard drive? Will it be recognised by the OS and allow me to copy files to and from said drive. I would guess no. Files in question are just video and audio, but they are mostly archived in ZIP format.

    If the answer is no Linux OS won’t recognise Windows formatted exHDD’s, I presume I’d have to create a dual boot system and just use Windows for accessing those drives, and Linux OS for internet use.

    1. Anonymous said on January 8, 2023 at 7:41 am
      Reply

      it can recognize. theres your answer.

    2. Jody Thornton said on January 8, 2023 at 6:28 pm
      Reply

      Are you sure about Waterfox? Waterfox g5x is based on Firefox ESR 102, and that STILL works on Windows 8x.

      1. Novice said on January 9, 2023 at 9:09 am
        Reply

        As I recall, a small coloured dot appeared over the “open application menu”. Upon clicking on it there was a notice stating that no more updates were being made for my OS.

        After reading your post I thought I’d try installing the latest version of WaterFox, but I found out that WaterFox, along with StartPage search engine, is now part of the System1/Privacy One Group, a data science company focused on targeted advertising. Martin Brinkmann, founder of Ghacks wrote an article about it saying due to lack of information (about the company) he was no longer going to recommend StartPage. So I imagine the same would apply to WaterFox.

        https://www.ghacks.net/2019/11/16/startpage-search-owner-changes-raise-serious-questions/

        I also came across an lengthy article at:

        https://restoreprivacy.com/startpage-system1-privacy-one-group/

        It concludes by saying, “At the end of the day, an American ad-tech company that seeks to “gather as much data as possible” [ a direct quote from Michael Blend the CEO and founder of System1] is still the majority owner of Startpage, a search engine that could be used to collect data.

        So no, I’m no longer interested in WaterFox.

    3. Peterc said on January 9, 2023 at 4:19 am
      Reply

      @Novice:

      Back in 2019, I had three separate ~10-year-old laptops running Linux Mint, Kubuntu, and Windows 7, respectively. Samba wasn’t working properly in Mint or Kubuntu (because of an upstream bug/problem in Ubuntu, which both Mint and Kubuntu are based on), so I transferred data files between all three OSes/computers using external drives formatted in NTFS (the standard Windows file system for hard drives and SSDs). I never had a problem reading from or writing to my external drives with any of the OSes I was using. I *believe* most thoughtfully packaged Linux distros include the special driver that enables full NTFS support (and if it’s *not* included, you can download and install it), and I just read that Linux kernels 5.04 and higher have built-in support for the exFAT file system (frequently used on thumb drives). Additionally, Linux supports FAT32 (and also FAT12 and FAT16, though I don’t know whether any devices that aren’t positively ancient still use those file systems).

      In short, reading from and writing to Windows/NTFS external drives from Linux shouldn’t be a problem, generally speaking. (There are some special use cases where you’d need an external drive or partition formatted with a Linux file system. For example, I seem to recall that Linux system backups using Timeshift can only be written to an Ext4 or Btrfs partition. Also advanced file permissions and properties may be lost when you copy a file from one file system to a different one, so if it’s important to preserve those, you’d probably want the target file system to be the same as the source file system. For plain-vanilla data files, however, using “Windows” external drives shouldn’t be a problem in Linux.)

      [As always, I’m happy to be corrected if I got something wrong. I haven’t used Linux for three years because I got a new Windows 10 laptop that was *so much faster* that I couldn’t STAND using any of my old laptops anymore — even though I preferred all three of the older OSes!]

      1. Novice said on January 9, 2023 at 9:20 am
        Reply

        Thank you.

        Regarding the format of external drives, I noticed the latest Seagate Portable drive I bought is exFAT formatted. I use the indexer tool “Everything” to index my external drives, and found it wouldn’t index that drive. I had to enable a setting and add the drive letter as “Folders”

  13. ilev said on January 8, 2023 at 7:57 am
    Reply

    “0Patch, known for keeping operating systems and programs alive beyond official support ranges, announced that it will support Windows 7 with at least two additional years of critical security updates”

    If Microsoft won’t issue security patches how will 0Patch know about security holes…?

  14. Mullah Akhtar Mansoor said on January 8, 2023 at 12:08 pm
    Reply

    How to use Windows 7 (for now) securely without using paid service 0Patch-

    https://forums.mydigitallife.net/threads/bypass-windows-7-extended-security-updates-eligibility.80606/

  15. J.B. said on January 9, 2023 at 4:36 am
    Reply

    I use the BypassESU patch on a Win7 Home Premium SP1 machine. Someone on this thread mentioned that Win7 Embedded POS Ready updates *should* work until 2024. How would I go about getting those updates, if possible, and will they install through BypassESU?

    1. Reply said on January 9, 2023 at 3:03 pm
      Reply

      From February 2023 from the https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/ it will be necessary to choose x86 or x64 for “Embedded” updates.

      knowing that until now the updates have shared the same hash up to now : identical files.

      Until then things can still change, some have even observed a potential deployment of Windows 7 updates until 2026 : https://www.ghacks.net/2022/07/15/it-looks-as-if-microsoft-could-extend-windows-7-support-by-three-years/

  16. g_m_1990 said on January 9, 2023 at 1:55 pm
    Reply

    I recalled that some Windows 8.0 fans installed Server 2012 “R1” security patches to stay safe and refrain from updating to Windows 8.1 (moreover, some users cannot update to 8.1 for some reasons).

    Now that Server 2012 “R1” and R2 is entering ESU support state, maybe Windows 8.0 (NT6.2) and Windows 8.1 (NT6.3) users should consider using Server ESU updates for next 3 years. Besides some Vista users are using this method to stay safe until January 2023 (and potentially 2026, if MS is generous to give another 3 years of ESU support to Server 2008 “R1”).

    1. Jody Thornton said on January 9, 2023 at 3:26 pm
      Reply

      Look above – that was me in 2016, and I’m still using the Server 2012 updates. I’m almost sure that R2 updates will work the same way for Windows 8.1, at least until October 2023. At least that buys us six months.

  17. xen said on January 9, 2023 at 3:52 pm
    Reply

    I would like to switch to Linux, but I am using a proprietary firewall on Windows with rule settings to allow individual applications to access the internet. I can’t find anything similar on Linux except one application, but I’m not happy with having one application that can get out of support at any time…

    Are there any options?

    1. Anne said on January 31, 2023 at 10:27 pm
      Reply

      The firewall (named Gufw) that comes by default with Linux Mint can be adjusted to any and all needs. You may have to read the manual for detailed instructions, but even I figured it out (somehow my brain balks at everything network related). There shouldn’t be any danger of it being dropped.

  18. RIPWindows said on January 11, 2023 at 1:28 pm
    Reply

    Windows is dead now. After Windows 7, I have no interest in using any newer version of Windows. I’m going to use a different operating system.

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