Last month, Microsoft warned Windows 8.1 owners that the deadline to update their version of Windows 8.1 and still receive future updates would be extended for only one month more. That time has now passed, and true to their word Microsoft has disabled automatic update patching for Windows 8.1 users without the April system upgrade. The company also warns users not to attempt manually forcing security updates without the April upgrade as this will almost surely cause a failure in the install or patching, possibly rendering their version of Windows 8.1 unstable.
Windows 8.1 and the updates
The April update was designed as an olive branch for desktop users who complained with the release of Windows 8 that the operating system was too focused on touch and left the mouse and keyboard users wanting. The update included several key features to support the mouse and keyboard fans, including more support for right-mouse clicks, a Power button selectable from the Start screen, and the additional functionality of pinning Metro apps to the desktop.
The problem going forward is that Microsoft has based the ongoing upkeep of its Windows 8.1 operating system upon the security and functionality of the April update. The company claims that ongoing security patching and prevention will depend upon the changes based in the Windows 8.1 April update and that the failure to patch the upgrade will undermine security of the 8.1 operating system.
Microsoft spokeswoman, Jill Lovato, gave several comments in an email to CNET on the official end up non-upgraded Windows 8.1 support.
On the subject of the adoption of the update and ramifications: "The majority of Windows 8.1 customers have installed the Windows 8.1 update. For those who have not yet made the transition, those newer updates offered with this month's Update Tuesday will be considered 'not applicable.' Customers' infrastructure will continue to function; however, it should be noted that they can't consume any further updates until they apply the Windows 8.1 Update."
On the subject of what will happen to users without the update: "Customers who rely on Windows Updates (as opposed to Windows Server Update Service commonly used in corporate environments), and who have chosen to manually select and/or download updates instead of accepting Windows' default update settings to automatically install, and who have then deselected the Windows 8.1 update for download or installation, will not see subsequent updates because they only apply once the Windows 8.1 Update is installed. Manually downloading these subsequent updates will result in failed installation for the same reason."
The issue with updates only effects Windows 8.1 and will not have any bearing on other Windows versions, such as 8, 7, or Vista.