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If your PC is still running on Windows 8, it's time for a change. Yeah, the operating system is a hard-to-use mess, better designed for tablets than desktops, and more focused on bad apps than business. But that's not why you need to ditch it right now.
Starting this week, Windows 8 isn't just clunky. It's dangerous. As of January 12th, 2016, Windows 8 is no longer supported by Microsoft, exposing those who continue to use it to potential security risks. It really is time to upgrade.
Wait, MS Would Really Give up So Soon?
Most Microsoft operating systems are supported for about ten years. That means MS will continue to send out security fixes and updates for a full decade. It's also why you can still trudge along on Vista or Windows 7 until 2017 and 2020, respectively. (But please, for the love of God, don't.)
Indeed, Microsoft's "Windows lifestyle fact sheet" lists Windows 8 as being covered by extended support until January 10, 2023.
But that's not exactly the case. As many eagle-eyed techies have noticed, there's some important fine print tucked away on the Microsoft support page. According to Microsoft's Windows 8.1 FAQ, Windows 8 users are no longer supported:
Windows 8.1 falls under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, and will reach end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the General Availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 have 2 years, until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 in order to remain supported.
Windows 8.1 or 10?
In layman's terms, that means you need to update your Windows, if you haven't done so already. You could go to Windows 8.1 or make the leap to Windows 10.
Which is best? Well, it depends on your preferences. If you're one of the few people who actually like Windows 8, version 8.1 keeps a lot of the defining features of the operating system, while making it more user-friendly for your PC and lawyering needs.
Plus, if you're already running Windows 8, updating to 8.1 is free. (If you have automatic updates, you might already have switched to 8.1. If you see a search button near your name on the start screen, you're running Windows 8.1.)
But Windows 10 is better. It's easier to use, faster, and, most importantly, the start button is back. Plus, Windows 10 is the most secure Windows version so far, offering full disk encryption and automatic security updates.
But whether you go to Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Linux, or Mac, you need to get off Windows 8.