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Windows 8 reaches End of Support Life on January 12th, users will need to upgrade to 8.1 to continue receiving updates

Windows 8 reaches End of Support Life on January 12th, users will need to upgrade to 8.1 to continue receiving updates

by AshwinJanuary 9, 2016

While Windows 10 is making the headlines on most websites as a succesful OS, its predecessor will be in the spotlight soon, but for a totally different reason.

Windows 8 logo

Windows 8 is reaching its End of Support Life on January 12th.

Softpedia broke the news earlier today, and quite frankly we were struck with disbelief. How could anyone not notice this? The answer is actually quite simple.

The operating system is dying, yet it isn’t a big issue. This is because there is a solution readily available for all users, in the form of Windows 8.1.

While Windows 8 and 8.1 are nowhere nearly as good as Windows 10, let alone Windows 7, Windows 8.1 does correct a lot of mistakes which led to 8 being infamous as Vista, or perhaps even worse. In fact it is no secret, that Windows 8 is referred to as the new Vista, by Microsoft’s own employees.

What happens to Windows 8 now?

Technically, the operating system, which was launched back in 2012, has  Mainstream Support until 2018, and Extended Support until 2023,  it isn’t valid for Windows 8, but only for its service pack, aka Windows 8.1. Refer to the Windows 8 life cycle.

Windows 8 life cycle

Yes, 8.1 is indeed merely a service pack, and that is exactly why Microsoft released it as a free upgrade for Windows 8. This isn’t exactly something new, Windows XP had 3 service packs, and Windows 7 had one. The only confusion, which the Redmond company caused was in the naming convention, i.e., 8 to 8.1.

This isn’t a new announcement either, when Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in 2013, it had stated that Windows 8 users had 24 months to upgrade to the new version, beyond which the older operating system will not receive updates. The same thing happened with Windows 7 RTM back in 2013 as well.

Users who are still on Windows 8 beyond January 12th, 2016, will be asked to upgrade to Windows 8.1, to continue receiving Windows Updates, including security updates. Basically there is no choice, but to upgrade. This shouldn’t be a big issue, considering that Windows 8 has a low usage share, with about 2.76% of desktop users, like we reported last week.

Users are likely to be notified in the form of a Windows Update, to move to 8.1, perhaps in a similar way to the GWX app, which offers Windows 10 as a free upgrade until July. It is unclear if Microsoft will allow users to ski the upgrade to 8.1, and in light of recent reports about forced Windows 10 Upgrades, we can’t say what will happen for sure.

Speaking of which, you could upgrade to Windows 10 instead of 8.1, but we’ll leave that decision to you.