Microsoft has officially kissed goodbye to Windows 8, turning off security updates for the operating system as of today as a means of gently encouraging users to upgrade.
Windows 8 may well go down in history as one of the shortest-supported operating systems in Microsoft's long and storied history. Launched in October 2012, the operating system was superseded by Windows 8.1 just one year later - and Microsoft confirmed that it would cancel the original support cycle
that would have seen Windows 8 receiving security updates through to 2023 in favour of a rapid retirement schedule that would kill off support in October 2015.
While there has been a slight schedule slip, Microsoft has now officially pulled the plug on Windows 8. To be fair, the company has good reason: Windows 8.1 is a free, and technically mandatory, upgrade to Windows 8 which introduces plenty of fixes and new features. Anyone who has upgrade to Windows 8.1 will receive security updates through to 2023, as per Windows 8's original support lifecycle, while those who have not yet made the plunge can upgrade at any point free of charge.
For those looking to make a bigger leap, Windows 8 is also part of the one-year free upgrade programme for Windows 10. Anyone taking advantage of that offer will, as with upgrades from any other supported Windows release, receive all updates for the full Windows 10 lifecycle.
The just-over-three-year lifespan of Windows 8 contrasts markedly with Windows XP, fondly known as the operating system that just wouldn't die, which was released in August 2001 but didn't reach end-of-life until April 2014 - and even then continued to receive support from Microsoft
for various critical security issues.