Still Running Windows 8.1? Get Ready For Upgrade Nag Screens
Just over nine years ago, Microsoft provided a first look at Windows 8.1. And almost to this day nine years earlier, it rolled out a preview, timed with the start of its Build conference. If you ended up upgrading and never looked back (or forward), brace yourself for nag screens imploring you once again to upgrade your operating system.
Mainstream support for Windows 8.1 came to an end in January 2018, and extended support is set to end on January 10, 2023. Existing apps that are compatible with Windows 8.1 will still run on the OS after support ends, but Microsoft will no longer issue security updates once it reaches its end of life designation. There's no guarantee that new software will run right (or at all) at Windows 8.1 though.
The bigger concern for Windows 8.1 users will be the lack of continued security patches to protect against constantly new and emerging threats.
"While you could continue to use a PC running Windows 8.1, without continued software and security updates, your PC will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. We recommend upgrading to a version of Windows that is still supported. A new device that can run Windows 11 makes for an easy transition and a great experience," Microsoft explains.
That said, Microsoft does make rare exceptions on occasion, like when it pushed out a Windows XP patch to protect against a wormable exploit similar to WannaCry. These are very few and far between, though.
Most people have since upgraded to Windows 7, Windows 10, and/or Windows 11 over the past several years. However, for anyone still running Windows 8.1, Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet says Microsoft will start notifying Windows 8.1 users in July that time is running out. As with previous so-called nag screens, the pop-up notifications will give users the option to "Learn more," "Remind me later," or "Remind me after the end-of-support date."
According to StatCounter, Windows 8.1 accounts for a little over 3 percent of all Windows PCs, versus Windows 11 at around 10 percent. That doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it actually works out to millions of devices. You can check the math, but Microsoft says there are 1.4 billion monthly active devices running Windows 10 and Windows 11, and StatCounter's data has those two OSes accounting for 82.6 percent of all Windows PCs.
We're making assumptions that all these figures are accurate, but if so, there are around 1.69 billion active Windows PCs. That would put the number of Windows 8.1 devices at over 5 million. That's more than .the entire population of Ireland, to put the figure into context.
So, for the millions of you still running Windows 8.1, heads up that nag screens are coming.