Microsoft is retiring two major versions of Windows at once. Tonight, private users with Windows 8.1 are being offered the very latest security updates – the extended support period for Windows 7 is also ending. Millions of users worldwide must now act.

The figures from Statcounter are shocking: More than 10 percent of all Windows PCs worldwide are still running Windows 7 – even if free support has not been available for private users since the beginning of 2020.

What is often forgotten: There is also Windows 8.1, which runs on more than 2.5 percent of all Windows computers – still an immensely high number.

There have also been no new features for a long time, but regular security updates are still guaranteed. However, only until January 10, 2023 – then support from Microsoft will end.

And time is finally running out for Windows 7 as well: After the end of support for private users, Microsoft started extended support for Windows 7 (ESU, Extended Security Update). Companies could obtain updates for Windows 7 for a fee. After three years, however, this option also ends on January 10, 2023.

Windows 8.1 was released in 2013 as a free update for Windows 8. It was a kind of service pack and was supposed to fix Windows 8’s biggest flaws a year after it. As it turned out, many users categorically rejected the new start screen of Windows 8, with Windows 8.1 you could start directly on the desktop again. The start button also returned, but not the classic start menu. But Windows 8.1 wasn’t really able to turn things around either.

As Microsoft confirms, users of Windows 8.1 are not caught in the update trap. Anyone who uses the system can switch to Windows 11 completely free of charge – albeit via a small detour. So you must first take advantage of Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 free upgrade; if you want, you can stop here. In practice, this works with a tool like Windows 10 Update Assistant or Media Creation Tool. But don’t forget to make a backup first! Then, if you wish, you can carry out the free update from Windows 10 to Windows 11 if the hardware used is compatible.

Even those who are still clinging to Windows 7 can switch to Windows 10 for free. The update is also successful here with Windows 10 Update Assistant or Media Creation Tool. Then you can stay on Windows 10 until October 2025. If you want to go further, you can continue the update chain and jump to Windows 11. The Windows 11 installation wizard will help.

The original to this article “Microsoft ends support for operating system used by millions” comes from