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This is the end, Windows 7 and 8 friends: Microsoft drops support this week

Time has run out for users of legacy operating systems – will you upgrade or buy a new PC?

Changes are imminent for users running legacy versions of Windows operating systems on their machines.

As Microsoft has been warning, the company is yanking support for Windows 7 Extended Security Update (ESU) and Windows 8 and 8.1 on Tuesday, January 10, which means users of those OSes will need to shift to Windows 10 or 11 to continue getting technical assistance and software updates.

This includes crucial security updates that were still coming to Windows 7 systems via the ESU program even though most other support for the OS ended in January 2020. The company said it will not extend a similar ESU program for Windows 8 or 8.1.

"If you have devices running Windows 8.1, we recommend upgrading them to a more current, in-service, and supported Windows release," wrote in a document about the end of Windows 8.1 support ending. "If devices do not meet the technical requirements to run a more current release of Windows, we recommend that you replace the device with one that supports Windows 11."

Over one in 10 Windows PCs affected

A lot of users have some decisions to make. According to StatCounter, Windows 7 runs on more than 11 percent of desktops worldwide, while Windows 8.1 runs on 2.59 percent. Windows 8 accounts for less than 1 percent of all redmond-powered desktops.

By comparison, Windows 10 is on 68 percent of machines and Windows 11 – which has seen relatively slow adoption among consumers – is on about 17 percent. However, large organizations, which typically lag consumer adoption of OSes, are beginning to test Windows 11 in earnest.

Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 users to make the move to Windows 11, writing in a support document that "PCs have changed substantially since Windows 7 was first released 10 years ago. Today's computers are faster, more powerful, and sleeker – plus they come with Windows 11 already installed."

It wrote that most Windows 7 machines don't meet the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11, but added that users have the option to upgrade their Windows 7 PCs to Windows 10 instead. However, support for Windows 10 will end October 14, 2025, so they will have to weigh whether to take that intermediate step to Windows 10 or go all in with Windows 11.

The changes aren't ending there. Microsoft's version 109 of both its Edge browser and WebView2 Runtime will be the last to support Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Both are scheduled to be released this week. The timeline will apply to both the Evergreen and Fixed versions of the WebView2 Runtime.

"While Microsoft Edge and WebView2 Runtime versions 109 and earlier will continue to work on these operating systems, those versions will not receive new features, future security updates, or bug fixes," Microsoft's Edge team wrote. "Microsoft Edge version 109 will also be the last supported version for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 R2. Internet Explorer 11 will remain supported on those operating systems for as long as they are in support."

Google also is waving the warning flag, saying that Chrome 109 is the last version of its operating system to support Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Chrome 110 is tentatively schedule for release February 7 and will be the first Chrome version to require Windows 10 or 11.

"Older versions of Chrome will continue to work, but there will be no further updates released for users on these operating systems," Google wrote in an advisory. "If you are currently on Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1, we encourage you to move to a supported Windows version to ensure you continue to receive the latest security updates and Chrome features." ®

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