Microsoft has put millions of people on alert who are yet to upgrade to Windows 10. This week the Redmond-based tech giant has begun showing an end-of-support message which has started popping up for those running Windows 8.1. This hugely popular operating system was first released in 2013 but in January 2023 Microsoft will stop supporting it.
This means that crucial security updates, which are used to fix dangerous vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, will no longer be available to Windows 8.1 users. To keep receiving these vital patches they’ll need to upgrade to the more recent Windows 10 software.
This new warning has been added to Windows 8.1 following the release of the recent KB5015874 cumulative update, Bleeping Computer reported.
The message greeting Windows 8.1 users says: “January 10, 2023 is the last day Microsoft will offer security updates and technical support for PCs that run Windows 8.1. We are reaching out now to thank you for your loyalty and help you prepare for what’s next”.
According to stats from NetMarketShare, Windows version 8.1 has a 1.63 percent share of the operating system market which means there is still a lot of people with this OS on their PCs.
Ahead of it is Mac OS X 10.15 (5.01 percent), Windows 7 (16.45 percent) and Windows 10 (72.06 percent).
NetMarketShare doesn’t show stats for the Windows 11 userbase.
However, these figures from NetMarketShare show the security risks that plenty of Windows users are facing. Windows 7 still is used by a significant amount of people, despite the OS reaching end of support in 2020,
That means for years Windows 7 users have not been receiving the necessary security updates that will protect them from bugs and vulnerabilities.
Anyone that uses Windows 8.1 after its end of support date will also be facing the same situation.
And the danger of doing this was highlighted not too long ago.
The WannaCry ransomware attacks are some of the most high-profile hacking attacks in recent years. This worldwide cyberattack saw victims data encrypted, with Windows machines specifically targeted.
Bad actors demanded Bitcoin payments as ransom in order to unlock the data it had stolen.
And this attack particularly hit the NHS hard, with the disruption estimated to have cost the health service £92million. The NHS was heavily hit by WannaCry as some machines were still using the unsupported Windows XP operating system.
If you’re currently using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 then it’s best to upgrade to a newer version of Windows as soon as possible to protect your PC from any unpatched and future threats.