When it comes to technology, all things – whether good or bad – do eventually come to an end. And January 12, 2016 marked the end of support for 2 Microsoft products. The sun has officially set on both Windows 8 (not 8.1) and all older versions of Internet Explorer.

Microsoft End of Support Announcements:  Windows 8

Support for Windows 8 has officially ended. It should be noted that this is specific to Windows 8 and NOT Windows 8.1. In order to maintain support, all Windows 8 systems need to be moved to Windows 8.1, which is a free upgrade.  Again, Windows 8.1 is still fully supported and will have Mainstream Support until Jan. 2018. Support for Windows operating systems follows a specific lifecycle, which includes a period of mainstream support, followed by an extended support phase. After that time, self-help using online tutorials and guides is the only option.

Microsoft End of Support Announcements:  Older Versions of Internet Explorer

And by older versions, what Microsoft means is anything except the most current version, which is Internet Explorer 11.  You can read the full Microsoft announcement here. In order to protect your online data and privacy, you will need to upgrade to IE 11 or to the new Microsoft Edge browser (part of Windows 10).

What do these Microsoft end of support announcements actually mean for you?

First and foremost it means that if you are running Windows 8 or an older version of Internet Explorer, you want to make it a priority to upgrade. Maybe you’re thinking well hey, I never ever once called or chatted with Microsoft support about anything, so what do I care if I no longer have access to it? But the Microsoft end of support announcements aren’t really about being able to chat with a Microsoft representative – they’re much bigger.  And as IT professionals, we would classify moving away from any system that has reached the end of its lifecycle of support as a priority, and here’s why…

Why Should You Care?

These Microsoft end of support announcements for these products mean that Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for either of them.  And what that means for your system is that it becomes susceptible to remote attacks and malware, and software and other applications will no longer be updated as vendors stop creating Windows 2008 products.  In short, it means you have will have an IT problem and hackers will be looking to exploit it.

What are your biggest risks?

SUPPORT:  Microsoft Support for Windows 8 and Older Versions of Internet Explorer (IE) Ended on January 12

Having Microsoft support available means that your IT person or support team has a direct line to them for troubleshooting when something goes wrong with your operating system.  Not having Microsoft support means that this option no longer exists. Let’s take a specific example.  If you are a customer of ours, your support plan with Corsica remains in place, but every tech’s ability to quickly and efficiently resolve problems is impacted by not being able to turn to Microsoft for a Windows 8 or older IE version issue. SECURITY:  Any machine running Windows 8 or older versions of IE will be defenseless against malware, cyber attacks Unsupported operating systems are easy targets for cyber criminals.  So is using a web browser that isn’t up-to-date.  Security experts warn that hackers are already looking for – and have likely found – new vulnerabilities in Windows 8 and the older versions of IE.  And attacks by these hackers are inevitable, because they know that there will be no new patches provided by Microsoft to resolve the security holes and they are going to be more than willing to exploit them. OPERATIONS:  Software functionality will not be available to you From an operational standpoint, using any product after the end-of-support deadline can also lead to complications when trying to upgrade software packages or applications from third-party vendors.  Typically they will discontinue updates for unsupported operating systems which means you lose access to their products’ new features. Essentially, you are removing your ability to take advantage of the newest updates and features to the software and apps powering your business.  From a productivity and efficiency standpoint, this simply doesn’t make sense with all of the great products available to us today.

What should you do about this?

If you are running Windows 8 or old IE: Upgrade your operating system.  Right Now.

Moving to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 is free.  You can also consider upgrading to Windows 10, which has been widely adopted and continues to receive positive reviews.  For more on Windows 10 and how to install it, visit this websiteOne note – Windows 10 is still being offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users…so if you want to get Windows 10 for free, first move from Windows 8 to 8.1.  Then you should qualify.

But what if I just can’t say goodbye?

If for some reason you are really, really, really attached to an operating system or other program that has reached the end of support, you do have the possible option of seeking a custom support program. However this approach is not recommended as these measures are usually very expensive and only provide a short-term solution.   You will ultimately still need to upgrade to a supported platform.  And not every service provider will be willing to even offer this kind of custom support.  In short, it will cost more to maintain an operating system without support than it will to migrate to one of the newer versions. So when you see the Microsoft end of support announcements about products you are still using, you need to pay attention and take action.

Need help with an IT upgrade?

Whether you need to move your office network to an upgraded version of Windows, migrate fully to O365, or perform any other kind of IT upgrade, Corsica can help manage and implement the project for you. If you need help or just want an initial IT consult, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch right away.        

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