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Windows 8.1: Use latest version or expect to receive no new patches

Microsoft will stop providing security patches for its Windows 8.1 operating system this coming June for systems who have not upgraded to the latest patch.


Fresh on the heels of Microsoft's ending of patch support for Windows XP, the company has recently announced that users of its newest operating system must update to the current version or else.

While this news may catch some users by surprise, the truth is that Microsoft had planned to end support for non-upgraded versions of Windows 8.1 almost immediately. According to a blog post and subsequent updates, all future security patches depend specifically on the most recent Windows 8.1 version and will be unavailable to previous versions.

Don't fret, its not as bad as it sounds

As the new deadline for security support of Windows 8.1 loomed, Microsoft decided to extend support for its flagship operating system one extra month.

"While we believe the majority of people have received the update, we recognize that not all have," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote. "Having our customers running their devices with the latest updates is super important to us. And we're committed to helping ensure their safety."

As touching as Mister LeBlanc's words are concerning the welfare of Microsoft OS consumers, one wonders where this concern for consumer security was hiding during last April's Windows XP retirement. In the case of the Internet Explorer vulnerability from earlier in this month, Microsoft was more than willing to support XP when it looked beneficial to their publicity, just no further than that. What this says for ongoing Microsoft support across all operating system platforms is still up for debate.

Also, for clarification, this entire situation affects only PC which have previous updated to Windows 8.1. Previous versions of the operating system, such as Vista and Windows 7 and 8, will still receive security and performance updates for the foreseeable future.

How to know if you have the update

Most Windows 8.1 users will have already downloaded and installed the most recent update if they have the automatic update setting enabled. However, some users choose to configure their updates manually and as necessary. These are the people Microsoft is warning.

The easiest way to confirm that your version of Windows 8.1 is running the most recent update, head to your Start screen and look for the search icon in the upper right corner. If the icon is there, you have the most recent version, if not, then you have some downloading and installing to do.

To install the new update follow this simple path: Settings > Change PC Settings > Update and Recovery > Windows Update. From here, simply select Check now and look for updates that need to be installed.

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