Back when Windows 8 first came out, we said to hold off on it. Microsoft is also recommending you don’t use Windows 8.0, ending support for the first version of Windows 8 earlier this year and no longer releasing patches and security updates. What does that mean for you?
It’s not a huge panic. They are still planning on supporting Windows 8.1 until 2023. Notice the “.1”? That’s the key here. When Microsoft released 8.1, that is now their latest stable version of Windows 8.x, and would receive the support of Microsoft with old versions gradually getting phased out.
This has been Microsoft’s standard practice for many years, which is why Windows 7 will be supported until 2020, but only if you’re running the latest service pack. To quote Microsoft: “Support ends 24 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product’s support lifecycle, whichever comes first.” Windows 8.1 was released in late 2013, so 24 months later, Windows 8.0 would enter “unsupported” status.
With very few exceptions, Windows 8.1 works and acts just like Windows 8.0, and is a fairly simple upgrade, but you’ll want to make sure you don’t have apps that won’t work in Windows 8.1 before you make the upgrade.
So what is the best-practice recommendation? Upgrade to Windows 8.1, 10, or use a Windows 7 machine (they are supported for several more years and we can still acquire them). While I generally like 10 better than 8.1, it’s still a major version upgrade that you’ll want to hold off on until you verify everything works first properly first (we’ve heard some Electronic Medical Records software, for example, is supported in Windows 8.0, but not 8.1, so you’ll want to verify with your software provider before moving forward). We recommend you hold off until talking to your vendors (or let us do it) or working with us to come up with a game plan. Contact us today if you have any further questions.