Author Topic: Windows 8.1 EOL  (Read 2740 times)

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Offline Maik

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Windows 8.1 EOL
« on: Sunday, 10 July, 2022 @ 04:26:40 »
I'd forgotten about Windows 8.1, seems it's not dead and buried - yet. Things change in six months from now: on 10 January, 2023 Windows 8.1 reaches official End Of Life. It'll still work after that date but there will be no more security or bug fix updates for it.

Microsoft have answers to some questions Windows 8.1 users may ask on this page: Windows 8.1 support will end on January 10, 2023.

It might be possible to upgrade to Windows 11 via Windows 10: How to Upgrade to Windows 10 From Windows 7 or 8.

However, quite possibly your PC won't be capable of running Windows 10 or 11. You can get an idea here: Windows 11 system requirements. Basically, if your PC is over four years old there's a good chance it won't be compatible with WIndows 11.

If your PC won't run Windows 11 you can buy a new Asus laptop with 11.6" screen for £149. For that price it's low spec but comes with Windows 11 Home installed: Hughes.co.uk. You might find a Chromebook for less but you'll be pretty much tied to Google for everything.
 
If Santa doesn't bring you a nice new PC for Christmas / buying a new PC isn't an option then you might find Linux is a very suitable alternative. It's legitimately free and, despite what you may have heard or read, using Linux isn't rocket science. Linux should work fine on desktops but some laptops are designed to work only with Windows or only with Chrome OS. Some printers and scanners may not work with Linux, HP have good Linux support and you can pick up a new HP printer & scanner unit for less than £50, far less than a new PC.

I'd suggest using a Ubuntu-based Linux distro (distribution) such as Linux Lite or Linux Mint to start with. Linux Lite is designed to work on older PCs but still has pretty much everything you'll need. Linux Mint XFCE will also work well on older PCs and has more options to customise it to your preferences. Both will run from a DVD or USB drive so you can try it before wiping Windows off your hard drive and installing Linux (you'll probably get the option to install it alongside Windows, if your HDD has the capacity).

A couple of points before trying a Linux DVD/USB:
1. On a separate CD/DVD or USB drive, make a back-up of your
1.1 Files: documents, photos, music, etc, you have saved to your PC and want to keep - they should all open OK in Linux.
1.2 Passwords and Bookmarks/Favourites.
2. If you use a USB drive it'll need to be formatted to FAT32 (option should appear when using balenaEtcher).

Linux Lite user manual / installation guide

Linux Mint Installation Guide

Download Linux lite / Download Linux Mint 20.3 Xfce Edition

There's also a good guide to installing a Ubuntu-based Linux OS, such as Linux Lite or Mint, on Ubuntu.com

If that sounds like rocket science you can buy a Linux Lite 6.0 or Linux Mint 20.3 XFCE DVD for a mere £6.49



But you might still need to change the boot order.

IF your PC doesn't boot from the Linux DVD/USB stick but boots into Windows you probably need to change the boot order in BIOS/UEFI. This isn't difficult but does require care. When you switch your PC on there will almost certainly be a brief message displayed on the bottom of the screen informing you how to boot into BIOS/UEFI. Usually it involves repeatedly tapping the F2 or F12 key while the PC is booting. If you google the make and model of your PC you should find out which key it is, although there's another way: How to Access the BIOS on a Windows 8 Computer. I wouldn't mess around in the BIOS/UEFI, stick to just changing the boot order, if needed.

When you do that you should enter either the old fashioned BIOS or the modern EUFI. Either way, you want to navigate to the Boot section and check/change the boot order. This is where the PC looks for an Operating System to boot from. If it's set to boot first from the hard drive it will ignore any USB and CD drives and boot straight into Windows. So change the order so it's set to boot first from USB drive, second from CD ROM and third from HDD. As I said, I wouldn't mess around in the BIOS/UEFI, stick to just changing the boot order, if needed. When you've done that Save & Exit. Restart PC with DVD/USB inserted, it should now boot into Linux so you can try before you install. Remember to back-up your documents, etc, before you install (better still, back-up before you enter BIOS/UEFI / boot from DVD/USB).

BIOS


UEFI



Edit: Windows 11 requires PC less than 4 years old.
« Last Edit: Friday, 15 July, 2022 @ 07:21:46 by Maik »

Offline Maik

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Re: Windows 8.1 EOL
« Reply #1 on: Saturday, 10 December, 2022 @ 16:01:43 »
Quote
Windows 7 and 8.1 support ends next month

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on January 10, 2022. The devices won't receive updates anymore after end of support and some programs, like Chrome or Microsoft Edge, won't receive updates anymore either immediately after support end.

Some users may wonder what they can do about it, others may already have formulated a plan. Some may continue to run devices with these operating systems, even without official update support. Others may upgrade their devices to a supported version of Windows or make the switch to Linux instead.

Here is an overview of the available options:

    Stay on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
    Upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11.
    Switch to Linux.
    Purchase a new PC with Windows 10, 11, Linux or a Mac.

Upgrade to Windows 10

This option is open to all devices that run Windows 7 or 8.1. In fact, there may not even be a need to purchase a Windows 10 license, as old product keys may still allow users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Most apps and settings will be retained during the upgrade.

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system was released in 2015 and it will be supported until 2025.

Switch to Linux

Linux is a viable option. While it depends largely on usage, there are modern Linux distributions that require little knowledge of Linux to get started. Linux Mint is a popular choice, but there are plenty of others.

The switch to Linux is a daunting task on the other hand, as it requires setting up everything from scratch. Programs need to be installed anew and some are not available on Linux. It will also take time to get accustomed to the new desktop environment.

On the positive side, Linux is considered to be more secure and privacy-friendly, and it is guaranteed that Linux distributions are available that are compatible with the computer's hardware.
https://www.ghacks.net/2022/12/10/windows-7-and-8-1-support-ends-next-month/

Linux Mint / Linux Lite / Zorin Lite, etc, come with almost everything you'll need pre-installed, other programs are available from the Software 'safe store' including games such as XP's  Space Cadet pinball. Installing them is as difficult as clicking a button.

Offline Maik

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Re: Windows 8.1 EOL
« Reply #2 on: Saturday, 10 December, 2022 @ 16:38:49 »
Quote
If you're still on Windows 7/8.1, it's time to say goodbye to Google Chrome

Google has joined the funeral procession for Windows 7 and 8.1, announcing the last Chrome update for the aging OSes will come in early February.

The end of support for Chrome on Windows 7 and 8.1 is tentatively planned for February 7 along with the release of Chrome 110, bringing Google in line with Microsoft's planned January 10 end date for supporting the older versions. Going forward, Google said, users really need to run a supported operating system.

As Reg readers know, Chrome will still work on Windows 7 and 8.1 after support ends, but the browser won't get any additional updates – security patches included.
https://www.theregister.com/2022/10/25/chrome_support_windows_7

Quote
Microsoft Edge 109 last version to support Windows 7 and 8.1
https://www.ghacks.net/2022/12/08/microsoft-edge-109-last-version-to-support-windows-7-and-8-1


Anyone running an unsupported operating system probably won't be bothered by using an unsupported browser.

Offline Maik

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Re: Windows 8.1 EOL
« Reply #3 on: Monday, 09 January, 2023 @ 06:47:04 »
Official support for Windows 8.1 ends tomorrow, as does paid-for extended support for business users still using Windows 7. After that, Windows 7 and 8.1 will still work but won't receive any further official security or bug-fix updates.

Anyone really desperate to keep using Windows 7 (but not 8.1) will be able to pay for unofficial updates from 0Patch:

Quote
Can 0patch be used as a substitute for Windows Updates?

As long as original vendor's security updates are available and free, we recommend applying them as quickly as you can. Monthly Windows Updates, as well as any other software product's updates, often include fixes for vulnerabilities we don't have micropatches for, and official fixes by developers knowing the product inside-out are generally preferable to ours. (Although there have been cases where our micropatches were better.)

When a product stops receiving official vendor updates, however (e.g., upon reaching end-of-support), our micropatches are likely the only security patches available for the product.
https://0patch.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360018988493-Can-0patch-be-used-as-a-substitute-for-Windows-Updates

So far as I can see, this is just for the operating system, it doesn't cover keeping Google Chrome or MS Edge, etc, secure and bug-free on Windows 7. If you've been running Windows 7 without any updates for the past three years then your machine could already be compromised. 0Patch plan to support Windows 7 for another two years at 24.95€ (+ tax) / year.

Did I mention that Linux is free?

Offline Maik

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Re: Windows 8.1 EOL
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday, 10 January, 2023 @ 23:15:30 »
Latest version of Linux Mint is now 21.1, free download available from https://linuxmint.com or version 21 on DVD for £6.49 from thelinuxshop.co.uk

Latest version of Linux Lite is now 6.2, free download available from https://www.linuxliteos.com or on DVD for £6.49 from https://thelinuxshop.co.uk

If you download Linux yourself it's easier and faster to transfer it to and try it from a USB stick, these are also available to buy but are more costly.

If you've got an old computer you might want to check first whether it's 32-bit or 64-bit: How to determine if you have a 32-bit or 64-bit CPU

If you happen to have a 32-bit machine you can use an older version of Linux, e.g. Linux Mint 19.3 Xfce DVD (32-bit) or Linux Lite 3.8 DVD (32-Bit).

Although it's probably time to upgrade to a new(er) pc.