Windows 8.1 End of Life: No More Security Fixes

John Lister's picture

Windows 8.1 will no longer receive security updates from next month. It is said to effect millions of users.

Microsoft has reminded users that January 10th, 2020 is the "end of support" date for the system. That means it will continue to work, but users will no longer get any updates or fixes, whether for security or performance bugs. The deadline also means an end to technical support from Microsoft of any kind. (Source:

The system has already past the mainstream support deadline in 2018. That's when Microsoft stopped adding any new features.

No Pay-To-Secure Option

Unlike with some previous versions of Windows, Microsoft is not offering an Extended Security Updates program. That's where users can pay a fee for up to three years to get fixes for any "critical" or "important" security problems. Instead, Microsoft is pulling the plug on Windows 8.1 completely.

Statcounter, which analyses traffic to the websites of its customers, estimates that around 2.53 percent of people running Windows are on version 8.1. That compares with 69.75 percent on Windows 10, 16.13 percent on Windows 11 and 10.25 percent running the long outdated Windows 7. (Source:

As always with end of support timetables, Microsoft has to weigh up two risks. Continuing to offer security fixes could mean users feel they have less incentive to upgrade. However, not patching a system could create a target for hackers and increase the spread of malware.

40 Million May Still Be Using Windows 11

There's also a risk of a "boy who cried wolf" situation such as when Microsoft had to backtrack on support deadlines for Windows XP, largely because Vista had such a poor reception and deterred upgrades.

Exactly how many people are using Windows 8.1 is unclear. Microsoft said in January that 1.4 billion devices were running Windows 10 or Windows 11. Combining that with the Statcounter estimates would suggest around 40 million devices running Windows 8.1, which could make it a target worth the effort for some hackers trying to spot and exploit security holes.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you run Windows 8.1? Is Microsoft right to switch off security updates on the system now? Should Microsoft use deadlines for ending security fixes or instead wait until the number or proportion of users falls below a certain point?

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buzzallnight's picture

16.13 percent on Windows 11 and 10.25 percent running the long outdated Windows 7
What no stats for XP?

Hahahaha Quit it you are making my sides hurt laughing too much :)

M$'s days are over we need an American company to make some good PC software.....

russoule's picture

you are so right! when puchasing these opsys, there is no "time limit" to their use. does everyone remember that "Windows 10 is the last version to be made! It is so secure that we at Microsoft do not believe any further improvements or corrections need to be made!" MS:"Oh, wait a mo. Windows 11 is the the true final version!" right!

as long as the developers can convince us to keep buying their latest and greatest, there will NEVER be the last version. and because this is a fact, the developers OWE us to continue to support the versions that have already been sold, all the way back to Windows 2000 if needed!

when I purchase an automobile and it develops a flaw, regrdless how long after it was made, the auto company has to provide a FIX for that flaw, for free. ther is an implied warranty on autos and there should be an implied warranty on software.

its not JUST MS that pulls these stunts. pretty much every developer of software pushes the "next version" and "the latest update". software as a product seems to have zero (0) warranty beyond the 1st day it is installed.

we are entitld to have products that last for more than 30 or 60 or 90 days. a new software developer company that treats its users properly is definitely needed!