If you’re still running Windows 8.1, be advised that Microsoft shut down mainstream support a week ago. But there’s still a last-ditch upgrade path: Microsoft’s assistive technology loophole, which closes in 24 hours.
Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 8.1 on January 9, five years after the operating system’s debut. Essentially, it’s dead, and for the average consumer, Windows 8.1 will remain forever unchanged, with no new features or bug fixes. Instead, Microsoft has migrated the OS to “extended support,” which will only provide security updates for another five years, until 2023.
In Microsoft’s world view, consumers should have already migrated to Windows 10, a modern OS with big fixes, patches, and period updates. And while the company gave users a one-year window to freely upgrade to Windows 10, NetMarketshare shows about 7 percent of users have refused to upgrade, or simply forgot to do by the July 2016 deadline.
When it implemented the one-year deadline for a free upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft left open what some call the “assistiv technology” loophole: Microsoft originally warned, however, that that loophole would only remain open until Dec. 31, 2017, then close forever. As it turns out, Microsoft held open the upgrade window a bit longer, until January 16.
To take advantage of the upgrade, visit Microsoft’s assistive technology site and follow the instructions—which basically entail clicking the big “Upgrade now” button. Click for an additional guide on what you’ll need to do before you kick off the upgrade to Windows 10.