As a PC user, I know all too well the frustration of having to keep up with the latest operating systems and what it means when an older one reaches its “End of Life”. Windows 8.1 is the latest version of Windows to reach its End of Life, so I thought it would be helpful to discuss what this means for you.
If you are like many people, you might be asking yourself some of these questions:
- What does ‘End of Life’ really mean?
- How does ‘no more support’ affect me?
- Can I keep using my Windows 8.1?
- Should I skip 10 and go straight to 11?
What does ‘End of Life’ really mean?
An ‘End of Life’ for a digital product is a pre-determined date set by a company that describes when they plan on retiring it. The EOL for Windows is determined when they launch it. In fact, there are EOL dates for every Windows version. Windows 7 had it’s EOL on January 14, 2020. The EOL for Windows 10 is in October of 2025. They do this to reduce the amount of resources it takes to maintain older technology as the world races towards newer and better things.
The EOL date for Windows 8.1 is set for January 10, 2023. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support or security updates for the operating system. As a result, Windows 8.1 will have an increased risk of security vulnerabilities.
How does ‘no more support’ affect me?
Put simply, ‘no more support’ means that Microsoft will no longer fix any security problems that the bad guys find, make, or use. This means that you will be left with an increasingly vulnerable system.
Since a vulnerable system could be ‘hacked’ or exploited more easily, banks will often block online banking from outdated operating systems. If you do online banking, you may find your Windows 8.1 computer blocked by your bank at some point.
Another side effect will be that Microsoft 365 will no longer work once the EOL is reached.
Social media will be even more dangerous than ever. Using Windows 8.1 and social media platforms will increase the risk of phishing attempts, browser hijacking, and other scams.
General web browsing will also be at higher risk for security issues. Without security updates, web browser exploits will never be fixed and browser hi-jacking will become much easier.
Can I keep using my Windows 8.1?
Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to upgrade comes down to you. For those of you who want to take advantage of the latest features and security updates, upgrading to a newer version of Windows is the best option. For those who are comfortable using their current version and are willing to accept the security risks, staying on Windows 8.1 is an option.
It’s important to note that while the End of Life for Windows 8.1 means that the operating system will no longer be supported by Microsoft, the operating system will still work.
If you decide to remain on Windows 8.1, you should be aware of the security risks and take additional steps to secure your system. Make sure you have a reputable anti-virus and anti-malware program, such as Malwarebytes Premium Anti-Malware Solution, and take other security measures such as regularly backing up your data, using a secure internet connection, and installing a web browser security app, like Malwarebytes Browser Guard.
Should I skip 10 and go straight to 11?
Knowing that Windows 10 also has an EOL in 2025 is definitely a concern. However, a PC running Windows 8.1 is probably too old to run 11. Switching to Windows 11 will most likely mean purchasing a new computer. So upgrading to Windows 10 could get more life out of your current computer. Keep in mind that some of those old Windows 8.1 apps are not compatible with Windows 10 or 11.
No matter what decision you make, it’s important to be aware of the implications of End of Life for Windows 8.1 and the security risks associated with using an unsupported operating system. With the right knowledge and security measures in place, you can make an informed decision that works best for you.
If you need to do online banking and keep in contact with Facebook, then it would be best for you to find a more secure operating system.
However, if the only online activity you need to do is check your email and do some general web browsing, you could use Windows 8.1 for some time longer. Just be sure to have a premium anti-virus, added web browser security, and regularly back up your stuff!
Have questions or comments? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or use the convenient form here.
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