Microsoft is preparing to send reminders to Windows 8.1 users that support will end on January 10 2023. The software giant will start sending notifications to existing Windows 8.1 devices next month, as a first reminder leading up to the January 2023 support cutoff, The Verge reported.
Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1, so businesses won’t be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates.
Windows 8.1 users will now need to decide whether to upgrade their operating system or buy a new PC. Most Windows 8.1 machines won’t even support Windows 11, admits Microsoft, due to its strict CPU requirements. “Most Windows 8.1 or Windows 8 devices will not meet the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11, as an alternative, compatible Windows 8 and 8.1 PCs can be upgraded to Windows 10 by purchasing and installing a full version of the software,” explains Microsoft in a support note.
That leaves Windows 10 as the likely upgrade path, which will continue to be supported until October 14 2025. Windows 8.1 machines won’t magically stop working on January 10 2023, but without software updates and security fixes it’s a giant risk to keep running the OS next year.