After years of anticipation, today officially marks the end of Windows 7 and 8/8.1, Microsoft has confirmed.
As of today, January 10, 2023, aging operating systems will no longer receive Microsoft security updates, marking the end of their official lifespan.
Anyone using the software is now at risk of cyberattacks from criminals exploiting current and future security holes and vulnerabilities, and are urged to update to newer Windows versions – especially Windows 11 – immediately to stay safe.
Goodbye Windows 7 and 8
“Microsoft 365 is governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy, which requires customers to remain current as per maintenance and system requirements for the product or service, including using Microsoft 365 on a Windows operating system that is currently supported” , the company recently wrote -Updated Support document for Windows 7 (opens in new tab).
“Using Microsoft 365 on older, unsupported operating systems can cause performance and reliability issues over time. As a valued Microsoft 365 subscriber, we want to continue providing a stable Microsoft 365 experience. So if you’re using Microsoft 365 on a computer running Windows 7, we strongly encourage you to move to Windows 10.”
After a long warning period, Microsoft’s extended support for Windows 7 ended in January 2020 as the company transitioned to its three-year extended security update (ESU) period. Windows 8.1 has also reached the end of its support period and will not see an ESU program launch, marking the end of its lifespan.
“As a reminder, Windows 8.1 will reach end of support on January 10, 2023, after which point technical support and software updates will no longer be provided,” Microsoft wrote in a separate support document for the newer software.
“If you have devices running Windows 8.1, we recommend upgrading to a more current, working, and supported version of Windows. If devices don’t meet the technical requirements to run a more recent version of Windows, we recommend that you replace the device with one that supports Windows 11.”
Microsoft added that it will not offer an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1 and that continued use of the software after its official end of life “may increase a company’s security risk or affect its ability to comply with regulatory obligations.”
However, the problems might not be that easy to solve, as current numbers say Microsoft is also having trouble making sure users are moving to the latest Windows builds.
Recent data from Statcounter revealed that Windows 11 accounts for just 15.44% of all Windows systems – but over 70% of users are still using Windows 10, with Windows 7 still having a dedicated user base of just under 10% of devices despite the lack of support .
The final death knell for Windows 7 and 8.1 came a few weeks ago after the proprietary browser, Microsoft Edge, ended its support.
The world’s most popular browser also recently ended support for Windows 7 and 8.1, after Google Chrome announced in October 2022 that it would discontinue the software in early 2023 to streamline its focus on Windows 10 and later.
Google Chrome 110, which is currently expected to launch on February 7th, 2023, will be the last version to support the older software.
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