If you’re still using Windows 8.1, it’s important to note that mainstream support for this operating system ended on January 9, 2018. While you can still receive security updates, bug fixes, and technical support, it was only available through extended support, which ended on January 10, 2023.
Here are your options for the future:
- Upgrade to Windows 10: Microsoft recommends that Windows 8.1 users upgrade to Windows 10. This ensures you’ll continue receiving mainstream support, future updates, and technical support. You can purchase a copy of Windows 10 online or in-store, or you may be eligible for a free upgrade if you have a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 license. Doing so could buy you an extra couple of years, as Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 10 in 2025. Take note, however, that this is not a guaranteed fix. Some older versions of Windows 8.1 are not upgradable to 10. Make sure you back up your system and check that it’s compatible before you do anything.
- Stick with Windows 8.1: While mainstream support has ended, you can still use Windows 8.1; However, remember that you won’t receive any new features or non-security updates. While the system will still work, you are taking your data and network security into your own hands.
- Switch to a different operating system: If you’re uncomfortable with upgrading to Windows 10, you can try other operating systems. Linux is a free and open-source operating system known for its stability and security. It’s also customizable, meaning you can make it look and feel how you want it to. If you are looking for a Linux distro that looks and feels like Windows, Linux Mint is one to look into. Mac OS is another option, but it requires purchasing an Apple computer.
- Buy a new computer: If your computer is old or outdated, it may not be able to handle the requirements of a new operating system, as mentioned when upgrading to Windows 10. In this case, it may be time to buy a new computer. Look for one with Windows 11 preinstalled, or consider a Mac if you prefer the Apple ecosystem.
Regardless of your choice, it’s essential to take action as soon as possible. With all support and updates ending this past January, these machines are without any protection. Upgrading to a newer operating system or purchasing a new computer may require an investment, but it’s worth it to ensure the security and stability of your device.