Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are reaching the end of the line, and it’s time to upgrade

Enlarge / The first-generation Surface Pro running Windows 8.

Ars-Technica

This is the end of the line for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. These older versions of Windows (plus Windows RT) stop receiving all security updates today, more than a decade after their original releases. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Edge browser updates for these operating systems in a few days, and the remaining third-party apps that still work will eventually follow suit (including Google Chrome support ending in early next month).

Windows 7 support for most users actually ended three years ago, but companies still using it could pay for up to three years of additional support as they transitioned to Windows 10 or 11. This window is now closed and Microsoft does not offer a paid support option for Windows 8.1.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs are rare and increasingly rare, but both are still relatively widely used considering their age. Statcounter says the two operating systems make up just under 14% of all Windows PCs globally and nearly 8% in the United States. For PCs in the Steam Hardware Survey, the number currently hovers around 2%.

It’s not entirely unprecedented for Microsoft to release point fixes for serious security issues after an operating system’s end-of-support date. But these operating systems will no longer receive the routine security updates and bug fixes that keep them relatively secure and functional for years after release.

If you or someone whose computer you begrudgingly support is still using Windows 7 or 8.1, the easiest escape hatch unless you’re buying new hardware is an upgrade to Windows 10. It should still be Windows 10. install for free on most licensed Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs. has most of the same system requirements and will be supported until at least October 2025. PCs that ship with Windows 7 or 8 will mostly be too old to meet Windows 11 system requirements, although unsupported installation is an option.

Linux, another frequently updated operating system that supports a wide range of PC hardware, also exists.

Windows 7 is fondly remembered for improving on (and, to some extent, rebranding) Windows Vista. Windows 8 and 8.1 have never been more popular, and they tried to force a touchscreen-centric user interface on people who didn’t need or want it, but they did a lot to improve Windows touchscreen support, and the era inspired a still popular PC. designs such as Microsoft’s Surface and Lenovo’s Yoga foldable convertible laptops. Windows RT, an Arm version of Windows 8 that shipped without any sort of compatibility layer for desktop Windows apps, also helped lay the foundation for today’s Arm versions of the operating system.

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