Microsoft Ends Security Updates, Technical Support for Windows 7 and 8.1

Windows users running these legacy operating systems will be vulnerable to evolving security threats if they don't upgrade to a later version.

Attila Tomaschek
Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
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Attila Tomaschek
A laptop with the Windows logo as a background

Users running Windows 7 or 8.1 need to upgrade to a later version or face ongoing security risks.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft today officially ended support for its Windows 7 and 8.1 operating systems, meaning the company will no longer be providing security updates or technical support for the legacy systems. Support for Windows 7 ended in 2020, but Microsoft offered extended security updates for certain professional and enterprise users for up to an additional three years past the original end-of-support date. The Extended Security Update program will not be offered for Windows 8.1, Microsoft said. 

Anyone still running Windows 7 or 8.1 on their PCs will need to upgrade to a later version of the operating system in order to continue receiving security updates and support. Without the ability to receive security updates, legacy systems become vulnerable to evolving security threats.

Users running legacy systems can upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 10, then to Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 11, provided they meet the system requirements for an upgrade. Alternatively, Windows 7 or 8.1 users can purchase a new PC that supports Windows 11.