Microsoft ended its support for Windows 8 and several older versions of Internet Explorer on Tuesday. The end of support signals a push for the company toward Windows 10. For end users, the software will still be functional, but it will no longer be updated with security patches and bug fixes.
Microsoft warned that the end of support could expose a lot of online users to malware if the choose not to upgrade to new versions. On its website, the company explained that security patches help protect computers from attacks. Because of this, “upgrading and staying current is important.”
TechCrunch reports that Microsoft is recommending Internet Explorer 11 for those who want to keep using the browser. This is because IE11 offers better security, improved performance, better backward capability, and support for web standards. The new version of the browser will continue to receive bug fixes and security patches.
Microsoft noted in the announcement that technical support on several versions of Windows will continue, including Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.
According to Venture Beat, Windows 8 users can simply upgrade to Windows 8.1 to solve the issue. The company’s support life-cycle policy considers 8.1 a service pack, even though it is technically an operating system upgrade. Windows 8.1 will have Mainstream Support until January 9, 2018 and Extended Support until January 10,2023. So, there’s no need for upgrading until then — unless you want to.
Microsoft has been heavily pushing its newest operating system and revealed recently that more than 200 million devices now run with Windows 10. However, the company’s goal is to increase that number to over a billion in the next few years. Getting there will require overcoming users’ and enterprise’s reluctance to move to a newer version of an OS.
By ending support for Windows 8, Microsoft may be forcing the owners of 30 to 40 million devices to make the switch.