Support for Windows 8.1 ends: Users should do that now


Writed by - Andy Gocker
 Support for Windows 8.1 ends: Users should do that now
For Windows 8.1 there are 'no more technical support and software updates'. © MYDAYcontent/, SpotOn

Three million insecure PCs

Windows 8.1, released in 2013, will not receive any further security updates as of today, January 10th. 'No more technical support and software updates will be provided,' says Microsoft on the official support website. The paid ESU program (Extended Security Update) for Windows 7, which also supported this version of the operating system, is also ending. The extended update program is not even offered for Windows 8.1.

Old operating systems like 'ticking time bombs'

If you want to continue using the operating systems online, you are taking a major security risk. 'Almost three million insecure Windows computers are on the Internet from Germany alone,' Thorsten Urbanski, IT security expert at Eset, is quoted as saying in a press release 7. They are 'ticking time bombs' because for 'cyber criminals these computers are easy targets to attack'. Urbanski advises 'urgently to change to current Windows versions', because even a single known security hole that is no longer closed is enough for computers to be 'open as a barn door' to attackers 'at worst'.

Eset recommends always using the latest Windows version. Alternatively, for example, switching to a Linux distribution could be an option. Microsoft recommends switching to Windows 11 directly. However, if you want to use Windows 10 (until October 2025) or Windows 11, which is also supported, it could be expensive. Although consumers can theoretically install the newer operating systems on their old PC, in many cases the built-in hardware, which is often several years old, is no longer sufficient.

Microsoft provides overview pages where users can check the system requirements for Windows 10 and Windows 11. If an upgrade is no longer possible, the only option is to switch to an alternative operating system such as Linux or to buy a newer PC if you don't want to take the risk that comes with using an outdated system.

Before upgrading, users should also first back up important data so that it is not lost - for example on a USB stick, an external hard drive or via cloud storage. Personal data can also be easily transferred in this way when switching to another device.

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