Microsoft to drop support for Windows 8.1

Microsoft has confirmed that support for the original Windows 8.1 software will be discontinued in favor of the more recently released Windows 8.1 Update. They will be treating the Update version as it's own service and support baseline, and users who wish to continue to receive security patches will have to migrate to Windows 8.1 Update.

If you opted to manually download and install updates in the original Windows 8.1 software, you'll have 30 days in which to install the Update version. After those 30 days are over, any newly-downloaded updates will be marked as not applicable for your device.

The source link has a full list of related tech bulletins and articles for those who want to dig a little deeper into the "why this was done" question. For the rest of us, just know that it's time to install Windows 8.1 Update if we want to continue to participate in Patch Tuesday.

Source: TechNet Blog (opens in new tab); Via: Infoworld

Jerry Hildenbrand

I'm an RHCE and Electrical Engineer who loves gadgets of all kinds. You'll find my writings across Mobile Nations and you can hit me on Twitter if you want to say hey.

  • WOW! They are really bossing people with this new attitude!
  • So how do I get the update 1 please???
  • Update it from Windows Update in your Control Panel.
  • Ok...thanks a lot bro
  • Damn, I am seriously loving this update
  • If you don't want to move to W8.1 Update and want to continue using W8.1, feel free to do so because Microsoft will not force you or boss you to do it. Since it's their update, and it's free by the way, they're just saying what they are planning to do with it, so it's now up to you to do what you want. Now if you want them to continue supporting W8.1, you are now the one trying to boss Microsoft to do what they don't want to do. In short, it's really all up to you.
  • I think they're trying to prevent another XP situation where ~400M users are now on a completely unsupported OS. It's clear that Microsoft is moving Windows to a continual update model where users will get used to smaller, more frequent updates, rather than having to deal with major upheaval every 3-4 yrars.
  • What an unbelievably misleading article title. I'm not impressed.
  • Lol, I was really concerned when I read it.
  • Yeah, me too. Lol.
  • Lol agreed
  • What would you have said.
  • Nothing. It's not that interesting once you read what happened.
  • Microsoft Makes Windows 8.1 Updates Compulsory?
  • It's NOT compulsory! You can continue using W8.1 if that's what you absolutely want. They are just telling you in advance what they are planning to do from their end. It's now up to you to do what you want from your end.
  • Haha yeah... That one pushed into clickbait territory for sure
  • Agreed.
  • I read that title going "Huh??!?"
  • My heart almost stopped. :-o
  • Lol
  • What bugs me the most about this unprecedented decision, is that this update, that is required in order to receive future security updates, was botched in it's release to enterprise customers. The update was pulled from WSUS. So how are these enterprise customers, like myself, supposed to get security updates now? It strikes me as an odd decision in general although I'm sure there's some technical reasoning behind it
  • Couldn't you download an offline installer and push it to your enterprise PCs that way?
  • We use SCCM so technically, yes we could do that. However, when Microsoft pulls an update from WSUS, there's usually a good reason. We need the update in order to get future security updates, however, Microsoft pulled it from WSUS which is their way of recommending it not be deployed yet. It will be interesting to see what course of action they take with this Catch 22 situation
  • I'm surprised you don't know it was pulled from WSUS because of certain deployment problems. It will be back eventually and you'll be able to update further.
  • Well damn... That escalated quickly... Now that they've dumped XP, they're on a roll, aren't they?
  • It is the new Windows. Technology is moving at a rapid place. Consumers have to keep up with the pace going forward. I like this decision.
  • My only concern is that this puts IT departments under pressure to get this update rolled out, just to avoid losing support. Granted, Windows 8.1 is a very modern OS, so it could last a few months without updates and be relatively fine, just so long as you use common sense in regards to what you click on. Nonetheless, seems a little too breakneck speed for slow enterprises.
  • "My only concern is that this puts IT departments under pressure to get this update rolled out, just to avoid losing support." I'd consider that a feature. IT departments need to upgrade. This idea that it's "OK" for an enterprise to be on decade old OS software is just ridiculous to me, but then I'm a software engineer not an IT guy.
  • Well, Windows 8.1 is far from a decade old OS, is it? No similar action is beyond taken for Windows 7 or, hell, even Windows 8. I agree IT departments need to update sooner, but only giving them a month to upgrade after a new update comes out? Seems a bit much...
  • Personally speaking as a Software Engineer who has worked in IT and on products, I think it is all a matter of IT policy and process. If an IT shop loosens the policy on Microsoft updates rather than control the process which they are distributed. There might not be that big of a deal assuming the updates don't break the IT policy.
  • ^this
  • "My only concern is that this puts IT departments under pressure..."
    Good!  Most of the time IT depts have to deal with the slack from older systems anyway!  (based on experience and based on most of my friends in IT fields).  This is a great move for everyone.
  • My work IT has kept us on W8, because they haven't tested out W8.1 yet, let alone the update 1.
  • Yes. Talk about riding the wave. It is about time this way Windows users will always be up to date. Way to go MSFT. I salute you.
  • +One
  • Not happy with this decision
  • Why?
  • First thing, I've updated.
    Windows 8.1 is still a relativity new update. ending support for users of this new update if they didn't wish to switch isn't quite pleasing for any customers.
  • Nobody is forcing them to update (it's not a "switch"), just saying that if they don't, they won't get security fixes. Seems fair to me. MS has been far too generous dealing with these people in the past.
  • "MS has been far too generous dealing with these people in the past."
    +1.... that's exactly why XP and older versions of IE stuck around too long.  This is great news especially for developers and the company, to allow greater innovation.
  • @ Live2Deliver Were you planning on sitting on Windows 8 for another 12 years?
  • If they are going to have two or three updates a year, they can't have people staying on every single one of them. We as consumers want developers to use the latest and best APIs, right? Well, this is what needs to be done. We can't have people scattered on W8, W8.1, W8,1 update 1, W8,1 update 2, Windows 8,5 etc etc. MS said during build that they are making Windows more of a service. People are always going to have the latest version of Windows, and they won't even need to think about it. They said: "...of course you have the latest version of Windows". So you see, the monetization of Windows is changing so that everyone can be updated.
  • Thanks for the answer. This should be written into the article above, whlist briefly. Hope MSFT explains to the end-users though.
  • For enterprise, its a different story. But for regular consumer all it requires is three clicks: checkbox in windows update, click install and restart. The most interesting things is, users won't lose their data or anything. Microsoft should rollout some sort of awareness campaign to educate people about this agile update process. And from time to time, the OS should bring up a popup "Here is what you are missing".. (though it sound's more like Chrome, if you don't sign in with Google.. more like "Here is what we are missing: tracking your activities"... anyways). Windows update must become more interactive and intelligent. If user is on WiFi or Ethernet, and not connected to the domain, it should automagically install the update "seamlessly" (given it has user consent for automatically install updates).
  • Exactly,  this isn't "new" news, they have said it previously.   If you are currently on windows 8.0 you will continue to get support.  If you are on windows 8.1 then support will end.  If you are on 8.1 Update 1 then support will continue.   I mean, 8.1 U1 is essentially a glorified patch.  Its not a major update, just some fluff, but as you say, they need to reset the baseline so that it keeps things simple for Devs et al.  
  • Crappy for consumers, but a great business decision overall. This way they can save a few coins.
  • How exactly its crappy for regular PC person? Every 6 months, they just need to click a checkbox and press/tap the install button. When they finish doing their stuff and the update is ready too; restart or shutdown. Is this really too much to ask for?
  • Terrible decision on their part.
  • Why?  What's the difference between this and any other mandatory update they've done in the past?  It's a good thing because it ensures everyone moves forward so the company (and especially developers!) can't be held back to innovate having to test on older versions.
  • It's not a problem for me... But I'm looking to buy Windows again in the near future because I bought the update version of Windows 7. In other words, If I want to do a clean install now I'll have to go through this: Windows 7 > Windows 8 > Windows 8.1 > Windows 8.1 Update... Can you imagine? LOL. So I'm wondering how this will work after now. If I buy the digital version of Windows (.ISO) will it come with Update 1 already?
  • You haven't had to install the update base version for many years. You wont have to install win7 to install win8 update. And yes, obviously Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be the ISO.
  • You wont have to install win7 to install win8 update.
    Yes I do. :( The version of Windows 8.0 I bought was the upgrade version. So the key will only activate If I'm already using Windows (any version) before insert the disc on the drive and install w8 (trust me, I already tried it). So I'll have to go throught all this way currently. Hope you're right about the .iso. otherwise MS is losing itself.
  • ta da
  • I bought the upgrade version of W8. I ran setup on W7 then elected to do a clean install. It gave me the option of making an ISO or USB installer, so I chose the latter. I just put W8 on a spare drive, so I have one drive with W7 & one with W8. I can install a new copy of W8 anytime I want and don't need W7 for the process.
  • When you udate from 8 to 8.1 the  new 8.1 with update 1 is included. i just did my PC over the weekend and my aunt's today
  • There is a way around this.  I had Win 7 and upgraded digitally to 8.0.  When 8.1 came out I downloaded it, but then later I had to reinstall.  I managed to download the ISO disc image for 8.1 (full) by using some get-around.  I cannot remember how, but it involves starting the download, then stopping it, then running the download again. The upgrade product key for 8.0 still works for 8.1 full.
  • I've been trying to download it since it was released, but I, and others, have been unable to do so because of issues on Microsoft's end so why don't they get that right first?
  • This title really could have been better. "Microsoft dropping support for windows 8.1 in favor of update !." Lol I was about to say wtf :)
  • I know... or even better "Windows 8.1 update is a mandatory update"... lol
  • Lol the title is really misleading
  • Wait, wait, wait, they supported XP for ~14 years. Dropping support for an upgrade to Win8 after a couple of months? Question is, how long before they drop Support for WP 8.1? Until GDR2?
  • The article title is misleading.  Don't listen to it.   Windows 8.1 update is simply just another mandatory service pack just like previous important updates.  When you do an initial install of Windows 8.1, it'll include this udpate when it installs all the Windows updates.  And it will be supported for years to come (probably like Windows 7)
  • Ugh I want a windows 8 device •_•
  • Call me dumb, but say I reload my hard drive with Windows 8 after the 30 days. From what I understand, I won't be able to update to the latest version of Windows.
  • I was confused too... I think it just means you need to be on 8.1 Update before you receive any further updates. So you can install 8.1 Update next year, but you will have a year without any other updates.
  • When you upgrade to Windows 8.1, it downloads all the windows updates during the installation process, and this update will most likely be included.  You're fine.
  • I know some users are still on the original windows 8. What about them?
  • They probably have to go -> 8.1 Update to receive any further patches. They can do this any time. All of the W8 machines at my work are 8.0 because the stupid sys admins want to roll out updates from the servers (which is fine), but they haven't done them in a year despite me jumping up & down about it. I manually update my own PC, but many W7 machines have 50-100 updates waiting *sigh*
  • They will have support until next year i think. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • The linked MS blog says 8.0 is not affected by this. I'm in similar circumstances, but its due to some 3rd party apps not IE11 compatible. Since IE11 == Win 8.1, well, stuck at 8.0 for the time being.
  • There are two supported windows 8 installs.   Win 8.0 and Win 8.1 Up1.  They are only stopping support on Win 8.1
  • They're not really discontinuing support for 8.1, they have a simple, free update, and they'll do what they can to support you in getting that update.
  • Exactly.  It's just another service pack really.  Nothing new here.  The article is just asking for drama.
  • So if I manually updated to 8.1.1 before MS pushed it, do I need to do anything else besides installing normal updates?
  • Nope, you should be good unless it's asking you to install it again.
  • I bought Windows 8.1 Pro. Not Windows 8. I have the installation CDs. Are they telling me that, if I buy a new PC or need to format and reinstall Windows on my current PC, after those 30 days, I'm not getting patch securities?   It makes no sense. But if that's the case, let me know. I have the CD of Windows 7 too and I'm very on time to remove Windows 8.x from my PC and put Windows 7 back on it.
  • If you do a fresh install with those discs, you need to install this update to receive security updates from May and forward. Installing with an old disc has always resulted in having to download updates, so I don't see why you are upset about that.
  • Ok, but I can get the update, right? I have no problem with that as long as the Update 1 is always available. It's just, I didn't understood that from the article.   If this is just a "you have to runs your updates or you won't get more" then I'm fine. Though...perhaps they should make sure PCs are being updated without problems...which hasn't been the case, aparently. 
  • Oh, I see. You though the update is only available for 30 days and then you're fucked? No no, of course not. :)
  • lol no you're fine dude.  The title of the article is just misleading and simply asking for a drama fest.
  • Windows 8.1 update mandatory to receive security updates. Fixed the headline for you, you little drama queen you. ;)
  • I updated and now my comp won't work. I can't figure out how to fix it! So lame...
  • What's wrong with it? lol   8.1 update has worked flawlessly for me.
  • Haha go MS! Tell people what to do and not vice versa. I was tired as hell of that listening-to-too-much-consumer-opinion SHIT! Its about time MS showed some balls. I live it! For the first time in a long time, I feel a little respect for them
  • Well... I'd say it's Microsoft's way of rubbing it in to those who whined about Windows 8 and 8.1... Since the majority refused progress wherein only a few changes needed to be learned, they're forcing you the update... I like this decision... Better to include Vista and 7 while they're at it so as to leave no choice but to upgrade to 8.1...
  • XP = 8.1
  • Wtf
  • Now which country wants to pay for the support for the Windows 8.1? :P 
  • Good decision it's not like MS are charging for it.
  • Absolutely! We want as many developers as possible to start creating universal apps, so we can't have update-phobic people ruin that for us.
  • Exactly u have pretty much hit the nail on the head
  • If you go from 8 to 8.1 the 8.1 update(new) will be installed also
  • "If your PC is running Windows 8 or Windows RT, open the Windows Store on your PC and update to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1. This latest update will be included." Edit: Oh, I thought you asked if that was the case. Nevermind:)
  • I have an issue all windows updates fail with error 8007051a anyone ever experience this?
  • Misleading title is misleading.
    Should say "Windows 8.1 Update is a mandatory update."  (which was reported a while ago)   They are not dropping SUPPORT for it.
  • The more I read the title to this article the more it makes me angry. I like wpcentral because normally you avoid misleading titles like this one. I hope this was a fluke and not the start of something horrid.
  • Not the worse thing to happen. I think the author could have presented this decision with a bit more candor but I expect Microsoft is trying to move with more dexterity than they have in the past. This is the position I've read many on the forum want. "Microsoft is too slow to make a move". I expect this is going to be welcomed big time.
  • GREAT! I've been to trying to install the update since its release. However, it will not download and install! It stops after 3% is downloaded and I have to run troubleshooter to fix errors, but then it does the same thing again. I've about given up! Is anyone else having problems downloading and installing?
  • Try this.  Its from a MS tech and it worked on mine.  
  • That worked to get it to check for updates again. But, when I hit install it again froze at 3% on the download! I'm at a lost! Thanks though.
  • Ok, I FINALLY got it to install! Steps: 1) Removed Norton Security Suite; 2) Restart; 3) ran the suggested dism commands; 3) Restart; 4) Ran Windows update - which froze at 3% download; 5) Ran Windows Update Troubleshooter - which took forever to fix "problems found"; 6) Ran dism commands second time - this time it did not find the "package" to remove; 7) Restart; 8) Downloaded the update directly from Micorsoft and installed using Windows Update Stand Alone Installer. What a pain in the arse!
  • Trouble is over on the MS community boards, thousand are not being installed correctly.  In fact the new 8.1 wont install at all.  FAILS.  Lots of old DOS command stuff needed to clean massive files off then try to install it again.  Lots of tech help workiong 3 to 5 hrs with each customer to try and get it installed.
  • Please enable emulator for non pro windows 8.1
  • Well this might be one upgrade too far.
    Bought the original Windows 8, then became Upgrade 8.1 and now Upgrade 8.1.1.
    Never been a fan of Windows Upgrades as I always did a fresh Full installation.
    Now have problems with with relentless disk activity which we not there before.
    If you add Media Center to the mix, you would technically have upgraded Windows three times since 8 lauched
  • I keep getting some kind of error and not able to install update 1. How do I fix it?
  • This really goes to hart. in my opinion microsoft has ruined the experience for all surface users, mine especially, by focussing too much on mouse and keyboard and not paying enough attention to detail on the touch experience. 8.1 has corrected many issues encountered in 8.0. But an update that I find hard to accept from 8.0 to 8.1 is that contextual search is disappearing from the experience, that made the windows 8 experience a dream. Also I find it awful that microsoft had no consideration of regard to the right clicking of contextual menus in the modern UI. The boxes and texts are small and way out of the know user interface environment know in the modern UI. One has to fidget with these small menus and letters to select.a function. This is far from touch friendly and certainly not part of the modern UI feel that has made the experience more ergnomic. I bought the surface for a more touch oriented experience, not to go back to the windows environment of old with a mouse and keyboard. The modern UI is getting too clutterd. As a touch user I do not need an extra search button in the top right corner of the startscreen, that's why there is the charms bar.I do not need the fancy startmenubar in the desktop environment. And where are the touch UI optimized updates? I would have liked to have seen the interactive live tile support in update 1 as well. And now forcing us with no patches and security updates because I refuse to update to update 1?! I'm not impressed and frankly a bit disappointede at microsoft. I understand they want to go forward, but why stray away from going forward with windows by making windows 8 more like windows 7 and not improve on touch UI elements of what they've got. Why did they invest in the surface project like this. It''s getting increasingly confusing for me as a windows and surface customer to see in which direction microsoft is going with windows 8. Perhaps it's no wonder I advice few people to migrate to windows 8 and advice them to use windows 7. No wonder windows 8 is starting to look more like windows 7!
  • It's extremely interesting the way they're handling this. They almost want to consider it a different OS. Also, how they can't make up their mind on how updates should be handled--Windows Store vs. Windows Update. I think they were shocked with how few people upgraded to Windows 8.1 via the Store that Windows Update is going to be the main way to update from now on.
  • I think the way Microsoft goes is the only right was. If you want updates - just use our latest OS version I'm fine with that. They can't give support to everything endlessly.
  • Not happy about this  
  • Poorly written clickbait. Wtf, WPC?
  • For those who have the windows 8.1 the update is of 800mb please anyone could confirm that because Windows 8 users are telling update is of 3.8gb. Please could you also confirm that we just have to go to windows update in settings and just update no more updates have to be done from store. Thank you
  • This is going to backfire on them. - Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update are not sufficiently differentiated names that people who don't pay attention to the technical details will know the difference. - Am I correct that you can get updates for Windows Vista (available for purchase January 30, 2007), but not for Windows 8.1? That's not going to make any sense to a non-technical audience. - Getting no security updates is not an acceptable route for most folks. In effect, they are forcing people to upgrade. I've got the update on all my machines, and I'm sure it has merit. However, at a time that they need to win over customers who are picking Apple and that advertising company over Microsoft, upsetting those who are not die-hard Microsoft fans isn't exactly a clever strategy.
  • Got an error while downloading doing it again if it fails this time i will not do it ever.
  • finally downloaded update it is good. havent faced any bugs
  • This is all fine except for the fact that whilst it installed fine at home on my Win 8.1 Pro 64bit machine it completely fails to install on Win 8.1 Enterprise 64bit - in fact the update is not even available to my company for download to our WSUS server, I have to bypass that and go straight to MS updates. I've tried all the MS Fix-it tools, sfc and dism utils but nothing will work it refuses to install with varying error codes depending on which fix I have tried.
  • Kind of makes you think they found some massive security hole in Windows 8.1, doesn't it?