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As a reminder, Windows 8.1 will reach end of support on January 10, 2023, at which point technical assistance and software updates will no longer be provided. If you have devices running Windows 8.1, we recommend upgrading them to a more current, in-service, and supported Windows release. If devices do not meet the technical requirements to run a more current release of Windows, we recommend that you replace the device with one that supports Windows 11.

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.

As of January 10, 2023, computers running Windows 8.1 will still function, but Microsoft will no longer provide the following:  

  • Technical support of any issue

  • Software updates

  • Security updates or fixes

While you could continue to use a PC running Windows 8.1, without continued software and security updates, your PC will be at greater risk for viruses and malware. We recommend upgrading to a version of Windows that is still supported. A new device that can run Windows 11 makes for an easy transition and a great experience. 

No. Support for Windows 8.1 is discontinued, but the software will continue to function. However, after January 10, 2023, your computer running Windows 8.1 will no longer receive security updates. In addition, Microsoft customer service will no longer be available to provide Windows 8.1 technical support.

There are a few options for using a supported version of Windows: 

  • Recommended: New PC with Windows 11 - Windows 11 is the most current version of Windows. If you have an older PC, we recommend you move to Windows 11 by buying a new PC. Hardware and software have improved a lot since Windows 8.1 was released, and today’s computers are faster, more powerful and more secure. View Windows 11 PCs

  • Installing Windows 11 on your current PC - You can also see if your current PC meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. PCs that are running Windows 8.1 are unlikely to meet these requirements, but if yours does, you can purchase and download a full version of Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro or buy from a retailer. If you do choose this path, note that you will need to reinstall your apps (in some cases a newer version may be required) and take steps to transition files, data, and settings since the installation will overwrite the contents of your existing storage drive. It may be easier for you to first upgrade to Windows 10 (see the next option) and then upgrade to Windows 11.

  • Installing Windows 10 on your current PC - Windows 10 is still available and will be supported until October 14, 2025. You can check if your current PC meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 10. If it does, you can purchase and download a full version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. You can also check with retailers to see if they still offer Windows 10 for sale.

There are two ways you can get to Windows 11: 

  • Recommended: New PC with Windows 11 - Windows 11 is the most current version of Windows. If you have an older PC, we recommend you move to Windows 11 by buying a new PC. Hardware and software have improved a lot since Windows 8.1 was released, and today’s computers are faster, more powerful, and more secure. View Windows 11 PCs

  • Installing Windows 11 on your current PC - You can also see if your current PC meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. If it does, you can purchase and download a full version of Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro or buy from a retailer. If you do choose this path, note that you will need to reinstall your apps (in some cases a newer version may be required) and take steps to transition files, data, and settings since the installation will overwrite the contents of your existing storage drive. It may be easier for you to first upgrade to Windows 10 (see What options do I have for staying supported on a Windows operating system for more details) and then upgrade to Windows 11.

We do not currently offer free upgrade paths from Windows 8.1 to either Windows 10 or Windows 11. If you want to purchase a copy of Windows 10 or Windows 11, please see links above or contact a retailer to find out about options. Note: the upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is currently free. 

PCs originally built with Windows 8.1 are designed with technology that is about 10 years old. Once you move to a new PC, there will be many aspects of Windows that you will find familiar, but also with important software and hardware innovations and capabilities that were not available a decade ago. Check out some of the innovative new features available with Windows 11 on a new device: 

  • Newer PC hardware that is faster, more capable, and more compatible with the latest industry technology.

  • To help you keep your device secure, you can take advantage of the latest security capabilities:

    • Get built-in security at no extra cost. Your Windows device comes with built-in security features, including firewall and internet protections to help safeguard against viruses, malware, and ransomware.

    • Use facial recognition or your fingerprint for more secure sign-ins into Windows 11 on a PC compatible with Windows Hello. You can also use a localized pin or your phone as a key.

  • Organize your image files with the Photos app and they’ll be ready for easy viewing and sharing—even across devices. You can also search for certain themes and people in your pics. You just need to make sure your images are stored on OneDrive and you’re signed in to your Microsoft account.

Need more reasons? See the list of features available with Windows 11. 

Windows 11 is the most secure Windows ever built, with comprehensive end-to-end security that covers antivirus, firewall, internet protections, and more. This means more security features, dashboard displays, and ongoing updates to help safeguard against future threats—all built-in at no extra cost. To receive updates, internet access is required and service fees may apply. 

Read more about Windows security

It’s easy to bring your files and photos to a new PC using OneDrive, a cloud storage service. With internet access and a few clicks, you can back up and protect your files online in the cloud and then, when you’re ready, sync onto a new PC. Syncing the files between your new PC and the cloud allows you to store the file locally for offline use when you don’t have internet access as well as on the OneDrive service in the cloud where you can restore them if something happens. OneDrive can automatically keep the two versions in sync as changes are made. 

Learn how to move files with OneDrive

If OneDrive is not the best fit for you, you can use an external hard drive or USB key to copy over files. 

Microsoft Edge is the faster, safer browser to get things done on the internet in newer versions of Windows. If you're moving to a new Windows PC, you can easily move your Internet Explorer favorites with you. These instructions will guide you through moving IE favorites onto Microsoft Edge.  

Learn how to move Internet Explorer favorites to a new PC

Yes. Windows 11 on a pen-capable PC or tablet allows you to use a digital pen to naturally write, draw, and sign just as you do on paper. You can mark up documents and even websites. The new pen menu can be customized with shortcuts to your favorite apps. (Digital pen sold separately.)

Learn more about the Windows pen experience

Find a device that supports Windows pen

On devices that support Windows Hello, you can automatically bypass the sign in screen without typing a password. Use your face, fingerprint, or companion device to unlock your Windows 11 computer in the fastest, most secure way. 

Find a device that supports Windows Hello

Your experience may be different depending on the Office version you're running. To learn more, see Windows 8.1 end of support and Office.

You can install new apps and games on a Windows 8.1 PC from Microsoft Store until January 10, 2023, and you can continue to use installed apps and games on a Windows 8.1 PC after that date. You will not be able to make any new app purchases or any in-app purchases after January 10, 2023. Installed apps and games will receive publisher updates through June 30, 2023 (or later if support is provided independently by the developer). After updates are no longer available, app quality and usability may be degraded. Customers who move to a Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC can use and reinstall previously purchased apps and games on their new or upgraded PC.

Related articles

Getting ready for the Windows 11 upgrade

Moving to a Windows 10 PC

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