In early January 2023, Microsoft 365 for Windows stopped supporting Windows 8 or 8.1. Here’s the details of what you’ll have to do and a possible workaround.
Microsoft 365 for Windows is supported on Windows 11, Windows 10 and, until 2023, Windows 8.1/8. It’s been a little surprising that the older Windows is still supported on ‘365’ Office since Office 2019 and Office 2021 don’t.
10 January 2023
On 10 January 2023 (about 8 months ago), Microsoft 365 (Office 365) stopped supporting:
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 8,
- Windows 7 some organizations paid extra for Windows 7 to be kept ‘alive’ via the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program.
- Windows Server 2008 R2.
There’s no more security updates to Microsoft 365 after that date.
The Office 365 software will keep working but the security risk will increase over time. The software will get more outdated, not protected from new attacks and newly discovered security lapses in Office.
Why 10 Jan 2023?
That’s also the date that Windows 8.1 ends support. No more security patches for Win8.1 after that date.
New Installations blocked
Microsoft blocked new installations of Microsoft 365 on Windows 8.1 and other expired Windows from 10 January 2023.
That’s different from other versions of Office which can be installed on older unsupported Windows. I suspect more than a few people will get a nasty surprise.
That will be a problem for anyone who needs to reinstall Microsoft 365 on an existing Windows 8.1 or earlier.
The Repair options should be OK but reinstalling will be blocked.
In our view, blocking installations is an extreme and unrealistic demand by Microsoft.
By all means, include a warning that the OS is no longer supported but stopping legitimate customers reinstallation of purchased software is unfair because not everyone can afford to upgrade their computers according to Microsoft’s (sales) schedule.
A possible workaround for Windows 8.1 users to allow installation of Microsoft 365 for Windows after the 10 Jan 2023 cut-off date. NOTE: we don’t know this will work, but it’s worth a try.
There’s an ‘offline installer’ for Microsoft 365 software. It’s a single download of all the necessary files. Go to Office.com and choose “Offline installer” from the “Download and install Office” prompt.
Save the offline installer file in a safe place. If you need to install Microsoft 365 on Windows 8.1 it’s possible that the offline installer will work even though the 10 January 2023 deadline has passed. There’s NO guarantee
Microsoft’s recommendation, naturally, is to upgrade Windows. While it’s theoretically possible to switch a Windows 8.1/8 computer to Windows 10, there are practical considerations.
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 had much the same hardware requirements. If you believe that, I have various bridges 🌉 to sell you at reasonable prices (London, New York, San Francisco, Millau and Sydney) <g>.
In the real world, you’ll probably need to upgrade an older computer to make it work efficiently on Windows 10. Most likely, increase the RAM to at least 8GB and possibly switch from an older hard drive to Solid State Drive (SSD).
Moving to Windows 11 is a lot more complicated because Microsoft introduced more hardware requirements, especially security related. If buying a new computer, make sure it’s fully Windows 11 compliant.
The Office Watch books have chapters devoted to the hardware requirements of Windows. Not just Microsoft unreasonably low requirement but our more realistic suggestions with explanation of our reasoning.
If you have Windows 8.1 and Microsoft 365 (Office 365) then start planning a changeover to either an upgraded or new machine.