All services, big and small, come to an end someday, and Windows is no different. In fact, Microsoft deliberately cuts updates for their operating systems after a set period of time. With Windows 11 arriving soon, can you still use Windows 8/8.1? If so, should you?
Let’s explore when Windows 8 and 8.1 will run out of time, and if you should use them after that date. And for those who are seeing the writing on the wall, we have covered the available options for you if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 or even the newly announced Windows 11.
Who Is Still Using Windows 8 and Windows 8.1?
According to StatCounter’s operating system market share figures for May-June 2021, Windows 8.1 is currently being used by 3.46 percent of global desktop users. For Windows 8, the figure stands at only 1.24 percent. Both are decisively low compared to Windows 7, which still enjoys a healthy 15.58 percent market share.
When Do Windows 8 and 8.1 Lose Support?
If you’re using Windows 8 or 8.1, you’re already past the mainstream support end date – that happened back on the 10th of July, 2018. However, this isn’t something to panic about; mainstream support just means the operating system won’t receive any new fancy features.
Windows 8.1 still enjoys security updates, but that will end on the 10th of January, 2023. That date will mark the end of extended support, which means security updates, bug fixes, and paid support. If the security isn’t there, similar to Windows 7 or Windows XP, you may not be able to run some Windows 8.1 applications smoothly after the cutoff date has passed. However, that does not mean you cannot use it anymore.
Can You Still Use Windows 8 or 8.1 After That Date?
Yes! When the 10th of January, 2023, comes around, all it means is that Microsoft will no longer fix any security flaws that appear. It’s not a self-destruct date for Windows 8 or 8.1; it will still work fine.
Some of the popular features of Windows 8, such as “Tablet mode,” are being discontinued from Windows 11 onwards. It will be similar to Internet Explorer, which is no longer supported by Windows and will be removed when Windows 11 draws near. For those who are accustomed to the Windows 8/8.1 apps, it will be hard to let them go. The good news is you can continue to use a deprecated version of those features on Windows 8/8.1.
Should You Still Use Windows 8 or 8.1 After that Date?
The pressing question isn’t so much “if” you can use Windows 8 or 8.1 past that date as it is “should” you. With no more security updates, continuing to use Windows 8 or 8.1 could be risky.
The biggest problem you’ll find is the development and discovery of security flaws in the operating system. Since Microsoft will no longer patch them, it’s a persistent hole in your system’s defenses.
However, that’s not to say that Windows 8.1 will suddenly fall apart once the deadline comes around. In fact, quite a few users are still sticking to Windows 7, and that operating system lost all support back in January 2020.
As it turns out, losing support does not immediately mean the operating system is a sitting duck in the cybersecurity world.
By deploying a solid antivirus, maintaining a good firewall, and staying safe while online, you can continue using an old operating system. In fact, these are all points we covered in our guide to securing Windows 7 past its support deadline.
Should You Upgrade to Windows 10 Before 2023?
If you want to continue to use Windows 8 or 8.1, you can – it’s still very much a safe operating system to use. However, for those looking to upgrade to Windows 10, a few options are still available.
It is well known that Microsoft’s free online upgrade offer from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 ended back in 2016, but there are still ways for you to migrate from a Windows 8.1 to the latest version of Windows 10.
For one, you can download what is known as a Windows 10 media creation tool and run an “in place” upgrade. If instead you prefer a “clean installation,” all your files and applications will be deleted. We have an extensive tutorial on how to use the Windows 10 media creation tool showing all detailed steps.
Given this tool’s migration capability, it looks like Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10 migration will be supported at least until January 2023 – but it’s no longer free. You need to at least purchase a valid license of Windows 10 for activation.
Some users claimed that they are still able to get the free upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1. We cannot verify these claims. You can try it out and see if you can get the upgrade for free. If not, you will have to buy the Windows 10 license online.
Can You Upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 8/8.1?
While migrating to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8/8.1 is entirely doable, the Windows 11 part gets a bit tricky. There are new hardware and software requirements, and it may not be very easy to fulfill the compatibility needs.
One of the major requirements is Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2 readiness, which is only possible with device hardware manufactured in the last four to five years.
To verify it on your Windows 8/8.1 device, type
tpm.msc on Run menu and see whether the TPM is ready to use. The other hardware requirements include WDDM 2.0 and above in graphics card compatibility, virtualization-based security (VBS) support, Full HD screen resolution needs (1080p), HDR video support and more.
Even if your Windows 8/8.1 device fulfills these requirements, you cannot upgrade directly to Windows 11 from Windows 8/8.1 without first migrating to Windows 10. Once you are on Windows 10, it’s free to upgrade to Windows 11.
Windows 10 will enjoy full support until June 2025, so even if your Windows 8/8.1 device is not compatible with Windows 11, you should still upgrade it to Windows 10.
January 2023 will arrive pretty soon, so it is best for you to decide if you still want to stick with Windows 8/8.1. If your main concern is using an old program that may not be compatible with Windows 10, you should know that there is a compatibility mode that allows you to run old Windows programs in Windows 10.
Do you plan on continue using Windows 8 or 8.1 after 2023? Let us know below.