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Psst: Your Windows 8.1 boxes are a week from blocking fresh installs of Microsoft 365 apps

No Extended Security Update for this OS...

Microsoft has given customers a gentle reminder that January 10 marks end of support for Windows 8.1. It is not offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) programme for the operating system and is cutting off updates.

Windows 8.1 systems will also stop supporting Microsoft 365 Apps next week too, Redmond says.

That means admins will not be able to perform fresh installations of Microsoft 365 Apps or perform an Online Repair of Microsoft 365 Apps. (Office on the web is an available alternative for those unable to upgrade their 8.1 boxes for whatever reason. So, of course, is Libre Office and other open source office suites.)

windows 8.1 end of support, microsoft 365 applications
Windows 10 continues to dominate desktop Windows market share. Credit: Statcounter.

Windows 8.1 has around 2.6% of global OS market share; but over 7% of the market in Africa. The operating system remains baked into a range of retail, manufacturing, healthcare and any other industry machines.

(The Stack regularly hears anecdotally from senior IT leaders who have bought “cutting edge” specialist hardware, for example in manufacturing or other “real economy” sectors, only to find it runs on a legacy OS/other defunct applications and updates attempts are treated by the machines as breaking changes.)

Many schools and hospitals are also among those running Windows 8.1.

Microsoft does not currently offer free upgrade paths from Windows 8.1 to either Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Be prepared to take a risk or fork out to upgrade.

Are you running Windows 8.1 one something really obscure? We'd love to hear. Get in touch.

See also: Windows Subsystem for Linux is GA for Windows 10, 11