Windows 8: No More Security Updates; 8.1 Upgrade a Must

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has officially dropped support for Windows 8. The move leaves an estimated 30 to 50 million devices needing an upgrade to get security and usability updates.

The move, which takes effect with this weeks updates, is potentially confusing as Windows 7 is still supported by Microsoft. Additionally, this isn't the usual support timetable that applies to older editions of Windows.

Instead, Microsoft is simply dropping support for Windows 8 where users haven't applied the first major batch of updates. Previously that was known as a service pack, but in this case Microsoft chose to rebrand the updated system as Windows 8.1, which will continue to receive updates until 2023.

The changes in the Windows 8.1 update were relatively significant, including big alterations to the unpopular new user interface aimed heavily at touchscreen devices.

Windows 8 Still Widely Used

Estimates vary as to how many people are still running the original Windows 8 rather than 8.1. Its thought to be at least 30 million, with one source noting that around four times as many visitors to monitored websites came from Windows 8.1 than from Windows 8, which would put the figure as high as 48 million. (Source:

Windows 8 users who want to continue getting bug fixes, and most importantly security updates, must first upgrade to Windows 8.1. That's free of charge to do, shouldn't affect any files or settings, and can be done in the background with a restart needed when complete. The upgrade does require 3 to 3.8 gigabytes of free hard drive space depending on the version. (Source:

Windows 7 Gets No New Features

Only after upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1 can users then take advantage of the current free offer to upgrade consumer editions of Windows to Windows 10.

Microsoft is also dropping some support for Windows 7, but the consequences aren't as severe. The system is simply moving from mainstream to extended support. That means Microsoft won't offer free troubleshooting advice on the telephone and will no longer be adding new features. It will continue to issue security updates until 2020, though only for people who have installed at least the first Service Pack.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you still using Windows 8 rather than 8.1? If so, what has stopped you from upgrading? Will you now install 8.1 and, if so, will you then try Windows 10?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Based on what I've seen with many Windows 8 systems, the upgrade process most likely isn't possible for many users due to a broken Windows Update system that simply refuses to upgrade. This can be corrected of course, but it is often a very difficult and time consuming task. If anyone needs help making the upgrade to 8.1 (and especially if your Windows Update is broken), you are welcome to contact me for help and I will do it for you using remote desktop support.

andrew_4498's picture

Dear Dennis, I have thankfully missed W8 and/or W 8.1 I have gone from W7 to W10, last August, so quite early. My W 10 worked well until just before Xmas, since then it is very unstable. I am a fully fledged computer illiterate therefore the failure of Windows Light E/mail not starting up at all causes serious problems to me. I would recommend to all who have not converted to W10 to stay with whatever they have, and works. W10 when it is working is great. When not, it is not as transparent as W7 was. New features are nuisances, like the missing old style control panel, the Update system is difficult to monitor, System Restore is less transparent. Microsoft assumes that we all have in the cupboard a Dennis to turn to, which is regrettably not so. W10 is for either for geeks, or masochists. Good luck to you all, and with my sympathies in anticipation. Regards, Andrew.

Boots66's picture

I know I have e-mailed you directly to tell you of the trouble I had doing the Win8 Pro to Win8.1 Pro Upgrade and I was not happy at all - At that time over a year or more ago, Microsoft forced you at one point to log back in with a Microsoft account or Hotmail would do - BUT - I had started the process from within a stand-alone login and that totally screwed up many of my folders - They now became Onedrive folders that since I did not supscribe to Onedrive left me locked out of the folders at my desk (Access not allowed) and at Onedrive because I was not registered. Because of the issues most are settling down with the upgrade to Win10 Pro in my case, I am very leary unless I can get everything in place and can things setup so that I can continue to have my off-line Account that MS & Onedrive, etc. have no access to.
Needless to say, I like my privacy unless I choose to expose it.

randyh2's picture

By what I read, I must be one of the few people who likes Windows 8/8.1.
I would upgrade my desktop to 8.1, but Microsoft changed something in 8.1
and it does not like my AMD cpu so I cannot upgrade.
Is there a way to force it to install?