Windows 8 Stock Photo by Paul Faith/PA Images via Getty Images

There will be no support for Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023. Next month, the software giant will start sending notifications to existing Windows 8.1 devices in order to remind them of the support cutoff.

Microsoft has used similar notifications in the past for Windows 7 users. The Windows 8.1 update will no longer be supported by Microsoft in January 2019. Businesses won't be able to pay for additional security patches and will have to upgrade or accept the risk of running software without security updates because Microsoft won't be offering an extended security update for Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1 hands-on
Windows 8.1 brought back the Start button.
Image: The Verge

The reception to Windows 8 was mostly fixed by Windows 8.1. Many PC users didn't like the way Windows 8 replaced the Start button with a touch screen. Windows 8.1 brought back the Start button after Microsoft admitted that it had messed up.

Many of Microsoft's customers will want to forget the Windows 8 era despite the improvements in Windows 8.1. In the face of iPad competition, Microsoft tried to update Windows, but ended up alienating many of its loyal customers. Windows 10 walked back many of Windows 8's boldest changes, and Windows 11 has gone even further by removing the Windows Phone-like Live Tiles from the Start menu.

Windows 11 has ditched the Live Tiles.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Users of Windows 8.1 will have to make a decision on whether to upgrade or buy a new PC. Microsoft admits that most Windows 8.1 machines won't work with Windows 11. Microsoft says that most Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 devices will not meet the hardware requirements forUpgrading to Windows 11 as an alternative, compatible Windows 8 and 8.1 PCs can be upgraded to Windows 10 by purchasing and installing a full version of the software.

That leaves Windows 10 as the most likely upgrade path. Without software updates and security fixes it is a huge risk to keep running the OS next year. There are a lot of FAQ on Microsoft's support site to help Windows 8.1 users upgrade or move files to a new machine.