Since it was released only three and a half years ago, Windows 8 has bewildered and frustrated its users in equal measure. And now it’s making them angry again as Microsoft has just announced that, as of 13 of January, it will no longer be offering support for the much maligned operating system.
This announcement came as a bit of a shock, at least to those people who don’t keep up with what’s going on in IT, as Windows 8 is a relatively new product. Indeed, surveys show that it is still running on nearly 3% of PCs, which represents some 40 million devices.
Do you remember the outrage over the end of support for Windows XP a couple of years ago?
Microsoft announced this more than 12 years after XP was released so the product had a long life-cycle and users had plenty of time to prepare for upgrades. In comparison, Windows 8 seems brand new, and much of the anger stems from the fact that in the original product information, Microsoft had promised to offer ‘Mainstream Support’ (including new features) until 9 January 2018 and ‘Extended Support’ (security patches) to 10 January 2023.
There is a little confusion about these dates. They still apply, but only if you’ve upgraded to the latest “8.1 Update” version of the software. This continued support only applies to this “Windows 8.1 Update” not simply the older “Windows 8.1”, for which support actually ended in May 2014. We can only hope that as Microsoft continues to improve its products, the company also finds a way to improve how it names them to stop confusing their customers.
However, the last three and a half years may seem a lifetime for any of the haters who found Windows 8, in its desktop edition especially, to be a frustrating and unfriendly program to use. Windows 8 does offer more speed and stability but without the traditional Start Button and Menu, people were left adrift and found the system hard to navigate. In addition, the intrusive start screen and constant need to sign in annoyed people, which is why so many of them have taken the chance to upgrade to Windows 10.
It seems that this latest move by Microsoft, to drop support for Windows 8, is aimed at forcing the stragglers to move to Windows 10 too or at least to “Windows 8.1 Update” if they want to receive security patches and other updates. As is so often the case, many users simply ignore warnings to upgrade as support comes to an end as we saw with the panic that the end of support for XP caused.
Of course, your operating system won’t simply stop working if you don’t upgrade, but it will mean that it is fundamentally insecure. Holes can be found by just about any hacker who will much more easily be able to access your systems and data. It’s simply not worth the risk. Upgrade to the 8.1 update or move to Windows 10 as soon as you can. We can’t stress this enough. If you’re running Windows 8, you can upgrade for free to Windows 10, you really have nothing to lose.
Internet Explorer support is also ending
It’s not just Windows 8 that is waving bye-bye to support. The 13th of January also saw the end of support for three versions of Internet Explorer – 8, 9 and 10.
To many younger internet users, Windows Internet Explorer (IE) is perhaps mocked as the web browser of choice for their grandparents. But while it’s true that the software has lost ground to newcomers like Google Chrome and Firefox in recent years, IE still commands over 50% of the world market. If you’re one of its users, it’s vital that you know that from January onwards, you have to make sure you’re running Internet Explorer 11 or using Microsoft’s Edge, which is included with all Windows 10 operating systems mobile or desktop. It is well worth making the switch, IE 11 is fast in both the desktop and mobile versions and people have praised Edge’s simple design, reading view and access to a virtual assistant called Cortana.
Want to know more about Windows 8 or Internet Explorer’s end of support? The team at Empower IT have the answers to all your questions, so why not drop us a line.