Microsoft will discontinue security updates and technical support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on January 10. The announcement coincides with the release of Microsoft Edge 109, the last edition to support the outdated operating systems. Although the browser will continue to function on these devices, no critical security updates or new features will be provided. Support for WebView2, a tool that allows developers to incorporate web-based content into their apps, will also be discontinued on January 10.
However, Edge isn’t the only major search engine abandoning Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Google announced in October that Chrome support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 would end on February 7. Devices running Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 will be increasingly vulnerable to bugs, malware, or other online security risks. Furthermore, these PCs will be unable to obtain the company’s most recent functions and features.
The deadline gives users with devices still running Windows 7, estimated to be around 100 million as recently as 2021, some time to upgrade their machines or face the security risks associated with using an outdated operating system and browser. A Lansweeper survey of 27 million Windows systems conducted last October discovered that more PCs were running Windows XP, 7, or 8 than Windows 11.
Microsoft, on the other hand, gave users plenty of warning, announcing the end of support for Windows 7 in 2020. Only those who paid for an extra three years of extended security patches will receive updates.
“Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1. Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023, may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations,” the company said.
The Extended Security Update (ESU) programme is a last recourse for customers who need to continue using legacy Microsoft products after they have reached the end of support. It contains critical and important security updates for up to three years after the end of extended support for the product. This implies that Windows PC users who still have devices running the Windows 8.1 operating system will no longer receive critical security updates to protect their PCs and data from cyber threats.
If one owns a device that runs Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, now is a good time to install Windows 10 or 11. If that isn’t possible, Microsoft suggests replacing the device with a newer model before January 10 to prevent any potential security issues.
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