Windows 8 Support Will End in Two Years

Microsoft reports on its Support website that Windows 8.1 falls under the Windows 8 lifecycle policy, which ends on January 10, 2023. However, the company also states that Windows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 starting this Friday, AKA the General Availability of the Windows 8.1 update, to remain supported under the Windows 8 lifecycle.

According to the chart, Windows 8's mainstream support actually ends on January 9, 2018, followed by the extended support end date on January 10, 2023. This schedule also applies to Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8 Enterprise N, Windows 8 N, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Pro N.

With the 2-year limited support, Microsoft is essentially forcing updates on those who typically drag their feet in upgrading. After October 2015, these users will no longer receive critical security patches, new features and improvements, and could possibly be locked out of third-party app updates as well. The only way to stay fresh and secure is to update to the latest version.

"Windows 8.1 builds on the foundation of Windows 8, and includes many enhancements and great new features in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity," the company states. "Windows 8.1 also introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities for businesses."

Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to push on with its campaign to get customers off Windows XP and Office 2003. Believe it or not, people and businesses still use these decrepit products -- including doctors' offices and retailers -- and fully expect to be supported despite Microsoft's April 8, 2014 cut-off date. Microsoft apparently doesn't care whether customers upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 as long as they're still not relying on Windows XP.

"If your organization has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment," Microsoft reports. "To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support."

Windows 8.1 goes public on October 18, 2013, this Friday. After that, the two-year countdown timer begins for Windows 8 vanilla.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Create a new thread in the US News comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
60 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • stevejnb
    Anonymous said:
    Sorry M$, but since you are forcing the update from 8 to 8.1 it should be free : You created a bad (unwanted) OS and instead of patching it you got a new version out.
    In the end, this is one of the cause of piracy.


    Actually, as has been said, it is free if you own Windows 8.

    This is kind of a non-issue... It's like saying "MS no longer supports Windows 7 without a service pack." Ok, that's fine - just get the service pack. If you buy Windows 8, Windows 8.1 is a free update... So Windows 8 support won't matter, since you'll just update to 8.1 and have that updated.

    Windows 8.1 is a fancy way of saying "Windows 8 with the first service pack."
    29
  • flacoman3
    Again Tom's is making misleading article titles. Whoever is the lead editor must have a real bone to pick with Microsoft letting these purposefully misleading title get through...
    22
  • Floflo81
    dextermat: It IS free for Windows 8 users...
    20
  • Other Comments
  • wemakeourfuture
    At least Windows and Apple support their operating system for many years across devices both on desktop/laptop and mobile platform.

    Support of OS for bug and security fixes plus new features is such an underrated consideration for device purchasing.
    -6
  • dextermat
    Sorry M$, but since you are forcing the update from 8 to 8.1 it should be free : You created a bad (unwanted) OS and instead of patching it you got a new version out.
    In the end, this is one of the cause of piracy.
    -27
  • Floflo81
    dextermat: It IS free for Windows 8 users...
    20