Microsoft Cuts Support For Windows 8: What This Means For You

Surface With Windows 8

One day, Microsoft will finally get what it wants and have the majority of its users all on Windows 10.

But the Redmond-based company is taking it one day at a time, and the day has come for Windows 8 to go out the window.

Released in 2012 with a brand new touch-centric user interface, which ditched the beloved Start button, Windows 8 is currently Microsoft’s biggest flop of an OS.

Among all the existing Microsoft Windows versions in service around the world since 2013 – Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 – Windows 8 never broke into the 10th percentile of global market share.

That’s why Windows 7, even though it’s a much older operating system, is still being supported by Microsoft. Windows 7 just proved to be more popular with users, as it still stands as the most used version of Windows by a very large margin.

Nonetheless, the 3 percent of people whose PC’s are powered by Windows 8 still amounts to about 48 million users who are left with quite a security predicament. They can either update to Windows 8.1 (Microsoft will push Windows 10 on us) or risk getting hacked because of an outdated security patch.

Just because Microsoft says it’ll end support for the OS doesn’t mean people will no longer be able to use it. When Microsoft’s deadline ended last Tuesday, Windows 8 will still work and function just as it did when the new year clocked in.

The difference is that it will no longer be patched with security updates that protect against hackers, viruses, malware and other dark elements from the Web that users shouldn’t be caught with.

In Microsoft’s defense, the company did give ample notice to users that it would indeed end the support for the now defunct operating system. Since the debut of Windows 8.1 two years ago, Microsoft warned that Windows 8 users had a 24-month grace period to upgrade to the next available OS.

That next OS in-line is Windows 8.1, and thankfully, upgrading to it is free. But it still gets a little tricky from there, as Microsoft seems to be confused with its own branding of Windows 8 and the deadlines surrounding it.

Technically, and according to its own support page, Microsoft also ended support for “Windows 8.1” in August 2015, as explained by Forbes’ Gordon Kelly. What users really need to upgrade to is “Windows 8.1 Update,” which is the new name given to the OS after Windows 8.1 received another significant upgrade.

“[T]elling users to ditch ‘Windows 8’ (the name it still uses in promotion and lists as still being supported until 2023 on its life cycle page) for ‘Windows 8.1’ which it actually ended support for last year, when it actually means ‘Windows 8.1 Update’ – a name Microsoft never uses in any location where a mainstream customer is likely to find it, ” Kelly explains. Yes, it’s a complete mess on Microsoft’s part.

Maybe that’s why Microsoft’s users are still on Windows XP – because of unclear messages like this, users show no real interest in reading support warnings. XP hasn’t received any security patches since April 8, 2014, yet over 10 percent of the world still choose to stick with it. At the same time, even Windows 7 still commands more users than Windows 10.

But that will change very soon as Microsoft’s next updates across all of its operating systems will change the Windows 10 upgrade to a “Recommended” Windows Update. If a user’s settings are set to default on any machine running Windows 7 or Windows 8, Windows 10 upgrade will begin automatically. Keep an eye out for that.

Along with Windows 8, Microsoft has also ended support for three versions of its browser. Internet Explorer 8, 9, and 10 will now fade into the background, leaving just Internet Explorer 11 and Edge as the only choices left for loyal users of Microsoft browsers.