Microsoft has announced that the limited support period for Windows 8 will end on 18 October 2015.
Users on Windows 8 will have exactly two years to upgrade to Windows 8.1 before limited support ends. Microsoft stresses that this is for security and stability reasons.
This news comes with the launch of Windows 8.1, which will be available for Windows 8 users to download as a free update starting today (17 October 2013) through the Windows Store.
Limited support for Windows includes critical security patches, new features and improvements, updates and possibly new third-party applications and updates to Modern UI apps. “The only way to stay fresh and secure,” says Microsoft, “is to upgrade to the latest version of Windows.”
“Windows 8.1 builds on the foundation of Windows 8, and includes many enhancements and great new features in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity,” the company writes. “Windows 8.1 also introduces new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities for businesses.”
The Windows 8 family itself will receive updates, new features and support up until 1 October 2023, by which time Microsoft expects to have moved on to better versions of their Windows operating system.
Windows 8.1 will bring a number of improvements including a variety of tile sizes, an improved Windows Store, the semi-return of the Start button, the ability to boot to desktop (finally), Internet Explorer 11, DirectX 11.2 and more.
Windows 8.1 is a chance for Microsoft to win back user support from anyone dissatisfied with the performance and functionality of Windows 8 and, more importantly, brings the company closer to their vision of a unified user experience across the desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone and console environments.