Microsoft has officially killed Windows 8 operating system on Tuesday, January 12, 2016. At the same time, the company has also pulled the curtains down on Internet Explorer versions 7, 8, 9 and 10 (with certain exceptions). While Windows 8 users are advised to upgrade to either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10; IE 7, 8, 9 and 10 users must upgrade to IE 11 or the Edge browser. Windows Vista users can however continue to use IE 9 for now.
Windows 8 will reach end of life just three years after launch, which is highly unlikely of Microsoft. The company ceremoniously offers up to 10 years of extended support for its software. Windows 8 was launched in 2012 and is reaching end of life in 2016. There is a valid explanation for this though. Microsoft considers Windows 8.1 – which was launched in 2013 — to be a service pack for Windows 8. The 10 year support window does not apply for service packs. Instead, the company ends support for a particular OS two years after a service pack replaces it.
Windows 8.1 is available as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users. Upgrading to Windows 8.1 will instantly extend support for your PC until January 10, 2023. Windows 8 users can also skip Windows 8.1 and upgrade to Windows 10 which will be free until July 29, 2016. Upgrading to Windows 10 will extend support till October 14, 2025.
Microsoft will roll out the final security patch update for Windows 8 users on January 12 after which it will no longer receive any security updates leaving systems open to malware and other malicious attacks.
Windows 7 users can however continue to use it until January 14, 2020.
Windows 8 — although a stepping stone in Microsoft’s time line — is largely seen as an OS that backfired for the company. It was a major design overhaul over the preceding Windows 7 in that it focused a great deal on touch interactions. Most notably, Windows 8 is known as an OS that omitted the Start menu replacing it with a fullscreen Start Screen. Desktop apps were replaced by Metro apps fitted inside Live Tiles. It also marked Microsoft’s advent into hardware in a big way, courtesy its Surface tablet line-up. That being said, the visual overhaul brought in by Microsoft was in fact too much to handle for old school Windows users.
Hence was born Windows 8.1 — a year later – which re-introduced the Start button, much to users’ delight.