Windows 8.1 support is ending soon. What are your options?

Windows 8.1 support is ending soon. What are your options?

Are you still using Windows 8.1? If you are, you should know that its extended support will end on January 10, 2023, which means Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for any issue on systems running on it. And unlike with previous operating systems (OSs) like Windows 7, Microsoft won't provide extended security updates for Windows 8.1, so it won't also receive security updates and patches.

Can’t businesses continue to use Windows 8.1?

While Windows 8.1 would still be functional after its end of support date, without its continued software updates and patches, your computer will be more vulnerable to cyberthreats. In fact, IBM’s Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2022 found that unpatched software vulnerabilities were to blame for almost half of the cyberattacks against the manufacturing industry.

Moreover, without Microsoft technical support, you’ll have to turn to third-party support companies should you encounter any Windows 8.1 issues. Unfortunately, these companies usually charge a premium since legacy systems are harder to troubleshoot.

You may also experience software incompatibilities if you continue to use Windows 8.1 beyond its support date. For example, Windows 8.1 devices running Microsoft 365 won’t receive updates for Office apps after January 10, 2023. After this date, Microsoft will also no longer allow new installations of Microsoft 365 apps on Windows 8.1 devices.

Continued use of Windows 8.1 may also violate certain compliance requirements. For example, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard requires that systems have all the appropriate security patches to prevent misuse or compromise of cardholder information.

What should businesses do?

If you are still using Windows 8.1 and are looking for other options, consider the following:

Windows 11

Microsoft recommends investing in a new PC with Windows 11 so you can leverage the latest hardware capabilities, allowing for a more reliable and stable Microsoft 365. After all, today's computers are much more powerful and faster than old models that were released when Windows 8.1 was new. Plus, new computers usually already have Windows 11 installed.

Read also: 11 Things your business needs to know about Windows 11

Windows 10

If you plan on sticking to your existing PC, it likely won't meet Windows 11’s minimum system requirements. Fortunately, most Windows 8.1 computers are compatible with Windows 10. Just take note that Windows 10’s end of support date is October 14, 2025, so you’ll need to upgrade to a new device and OS by then.

Microsoft won't be offering any free upgrade paths to either Windows 10 or 11. This means you have to purchase and install full versions of either OS in order to upgrade your Windows 8.1 computer.

Another OS

You can go for macOS. This may be beneficial for your company in terms of cybersecurity since this OS has fewer cyberthreats than Windows. Another option is Linux, which provides free distribution lines and programs, letting you enjoy significant cost savings.

However, you must take into account that moving to a totally new OS can be challenging. macOS, for example, will require you to purchase a Mac computer, which usually cost more than PCs and Windows laptops of similar specs. Moreover, the apps you're currently using may not be available on the new OS. While the new OS may offer similar apps, your existing files may not display properly on these apps.

Need help moving beyond Windows 8.1? You can seek the help of the experts of Founders Technology Group. With our help, you can enjoy a smooth transition to a modern OS. Book your FREE IT consultation today.