Some seven or so months back, Windows 8.1 was released as free update to all Windows 8 users. It was, however, not a mandatory install, and as is evident from the market share numbers, a substantial number of users are still running the vanilla OS.
For better or for worse, this will not be the case with Windows 8.1 Update.
Microsoft has confirmed that, the feature pack will be delivered via the built in Windows Update option and it will be a compulsory download for Windows 8.1 users — that is, if they want to receive future patches from next month onwards.
This blog post makes it clear as night and day:
“Failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014 (get busy!)”
Get busy, indeed!
The software titan initially announced that it would stop supporting Windows 8 in the very near future. As in two years after the launch of Windows 8.1, which is October 18, 2015.
Now, however, the company seems to have bumped this date a bit, as this FAQ page mentions that the final date of Windows 8 (core) support will now end on January 12, 2016, after having been moved a few more months.
But with these updates freely available for download, there really is little reason not to deploy and install them to upgrade Windows 8 PCs to the newest version of the operating system.