It’s the end of Windows 8.1: what can you do now?

Windows 8.1 will soon no longer have free and extended support. For people still using the Windows operating system, there are several options.

That’s it: we’re arriving at the twilight of Windows 8.1’s operational career. This version of the operating system, which already ended its classic support phase in January 2018, is reaching the end of the so-called extended support phase. This is due to end on 10 January 2023. So there are only a fortnight left.

Lazy option: do nothing and stay on Windows 8.1

This is the most available option: you can decide to do nothing at all before January 10, 2023 and continue using Windows 8.1 as if nothing had happened. After all, the control system will continue to function on January 11 and the following days. It is “just” the extended support that stops. Microsoft will not disable Windows 8.1.

This is therefore the easiest solution, but also the riskiest in the medium and long term. Indeed, the direct consequence is that you will no longer be eligible for security patches because Microsoft will no longer produce them – except for companies that subscribe to a personal assistance service that is unavailable to individuals. Violations found after January 10th remain open.

I’m here, I’m staying here! // Source: Microsoft

There’s another issue to note: all the other publishers are also turning away from Windows 8.1. This means that software will no longer evolve, and in the event of a bug or error, they will not necessarily receive an update or patch. This is the case with web browsers like Chrome and Edge. And it only gets worse.

Logical option: Switch to Windows 10 or Windows 11

Are you aware that Windows 8.1 will no longer be maintained and you want to upgrade to a newer version of Windows? We have good news and bad news. The good news is that you can upgrade to Windows 10 or 11. The bad news is that you have to pay. Microsoft does not offer free migration. More precisely, it is too late today. It had to be done then.

Windows 10 licenses cost 145 euros for the family version and 259 euros for the professional version. On the Windows 11 side, the prices are the same. It should be noted that you can take a Windows 10 license today and then migrate for free to Windows 11. Please note that the free migration from Windows 10 to Windows 11 may not always be available.

Source: Microsoft
Windows 11 is the latest operating system in Microsoft’s catalog. // Source: Microsoft

Please note: your computer must not be from Methuselah or it will not be able to switch to Windows 10 or 11. Microsoft provides the specifications required for both operating systems. There are other editions of Windows 10 and 11, but they are aimed at specific target groups and contain indispensable features.

The “I have money” option: buy a new PC

“I have money” or above all “my PC doesn’t actually meet the requirements to run Windows 10 or 11”. It may not be enough to buy a license. You will definitely need to expand the currency to equip yourself with a faster machine. Even if you have fond memories of your Pentium 4 and it’s heartbreaking to part with your Nvidia 6600 GT.

If you choose the most convenient route, which is to buy a turnkey PC, already assembled, in the store, you will most likely have Windows 11 on board – the OS was released in October 2021. But if you are the type to configure and assemble your machine from A to Z, you are free to purchase a separate Windows 10 (or 11) license and install it yourself.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti // Source: Nvidia
The “I really have a lot of money” option. // Source: Nvidia

Bold option: Switch to another OS

The impending deadline with Windows 8.1 may be the occasion for a small personal revolution. Why not take the retirement of this OS as an opportunity to change the ecosystem? It would be quite daring, although it is not always easy to acclimatize to a new environment after living with Windows for a long time.

You have two axes: the Apple universe (and to find out which Apple computer to choose in 2022, follow the guide), which is not absurd if you e.g. is on an iPhone. Or there is the Linux environment and its many distros – some of which are tailored for older computers (you can even test the distros before you start).

iMac M1 2021 by Apple // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama
2021 iMac M1 from Apple. It is nice. // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

Unexpected opportunity: drop everything and shut down IT

No, we’re joking.

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