Windows 8.1's end of life is approaching soon, with extended support for the operating system expected to end in early 2023.

General support for Windows 8.1 ended on January 9, 2021, and next month Microsoft will start sending out reminders to users that support will end in full on January 10, 2023.

Only a small minority of Windows users are still using Windows 8.1, 3.06% according to the latest statistics, dwarfed by the 71.82% using Windows 10.

What does it mean?

Computers running Windows 8.1 will continue to work, but Microsoft will no longer provide technical support on any issues, including security updates and fixes for tools like desktop software.

Although you can continue to use a Windows 8.1 PC, without ongoing software and security updates, your PC will be more susceptible to viruses and malware, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also says it won't offer Extended Security Updates for Windows 8.1 (Opens in a new tab), as it has for previous iterations like Windows 7.

What should you do?

If you're still using the operating system, Microsoft recommends that you download Windows 11 or alternatively Windows 10, though it doesn't provide any free upgrade path.

Windows 10 still has a lot of life left in it, and the software giant isn't ready to retire the operating system until October 14, 2025.

Developed under the codename "Blue," Windows 8.1 received better reviews than its predecessor Windows 8 when it was released in August 2013, which introduced several significant changes at once.

Unfortunately for many end-of-life sufferers, many Windows 8.1 machines won't be up to the task when it comes to running Windows 11.

Research from IT asset management company Lansweeper found that 55% of devices are not compatible with Windows 11, and a major sticking point is the TPM, with nearly half of desktop TPMs (47%) that do not meet the requirements.

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