Most Windows users know by know that the operating systems Windows 7 and 8.1 will reach end of support by Microsoft on January 10, 2023. The first Patch Day of 2023 is also the last day updates are released officially for these operating systems. While there is a chance that Microsoft will release a critical update to address a major security issue, as it has done in the past, it will be an exception and not the rule.
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system was the first system Microsoft's online store launched on. Users could download and install applications and games using it, and make purchases.
Microsoft confirmed that the downloaded apps and games will continue to work. In other words: there is no killswitch that is blocking these programs from running on Windows 8.1 machines after January 10, 2023. New app purchases or in-app purchases are no longer supported after the January 2023 Patch Day. Microsoft makes no mention of free apps and games, and whether these remain available for download and installation after January 10, 2023.
"Will I be able to continue using the apps and games I have installed from Microsoft Store on my Windows 8.1 PC?"
"You can install new apps and games on a Windows 8.1 PC from Microsoft Store until January 10, 2023, and you can continue to use installed apps and games on a Windows 8.1 PC after that date. You will not be able to make any new app purchases or any in-app purchases after January 10, 2023. Installed apps and games will receive publisher updates through June 30, 2023 (or later if support is provided independently by the developer). After updates are no longer available, app quality and usability may be degraded. Customers who move to a Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC can use and reinstall previously purchased apps and games on their new or upgraded PC."
Microsoft confirmed also that apps and games will receive publisher updates until June 2023, provided that publishers produce updates for these apps and games. Some publishers may support games for longer, even, which Microsoft describes vaguely as providing updates independently.
The quality of apps may deteriorate over time, and some functions may not work properly anymore due to a lack of updates, according to Microsoft.
Customers who want to retain access to apps and games, and continue to receive updates for them, need to update their machines to Windows 10 or 11 to do so. If that is not possible, buying a new PC with Windows 10 or 11 is another option, as apps and games are tied to a Microsoft Account and not a device. Free and purchased apps and games may be installed on new Windows systems, provided that these are supported on these systems.
It is unclear how successful, or not, the built-in store was on Windows 8. Did many Windows 8 users download and install apps and games from the Store, or was it only a minority?
At least some third-party developers have already announced whether they will continue to support their programs on Windows 8.1 and 7. Google will drop Chrome support in January 2023 as well, while Mozilla may extend support for at least several months.
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