Alert: Win8.1 support ends one year from today!

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi (18691948)
(Although perhaps he didn’t actually say those words.)

I don’t object (much) to updates to existing software, as long as they are actually improvements from the user’s point of view, as opposed to a change that mainly benefits the provider. A good example is Windows itself: I’m currently on Windows 8.1, which is perfectly adequate. It works: why fix it if it ain’t broke? – the answer to that is that micro$haft’s income stream depends upon constant new releases, even if, in practice, they’re of minimal real benefit to the user. Just another example of our broken growth-centric economics system.

Beaton, the newest recruit to the 💥 ?Random Raiders! 💥 community, visited a very old post of mine (‘Life’s too short‘) yesterday. That sparked off a conversation about software ‘upgrades’; and, coincidentally, it turns out that Windows 8.1 falls out of what Microsoft calls ‘extended support’ on 10Jan2023. That’s just one year from today.

Advanced (sic) Notification (of Windows 8.1 extended support ending 10Jan2023)
Advanced (sic) Notification

I was once a fan of Windows, it has to be said. I’d been on DOS for some time: when I installed Win3.1, my first impression was: this is amazing! And, it was, compared with what I’d used before. I became an advocate, singing the praises of this marvel. And also, by dint of having avidly read the Windows 3.1 manual from cover to cover, an unofficial Windows support technician, too. Unpaid, naturally.

It was only later that I discovered that Bill Gates, one-time richest man on the planet, had essentially ripped off CP/M, turned it into DOS (by dint of turning forward slashes into backslashes and other minor tweaks) and made a deal with IBM to have it pre-installed on all their PCs; thus, essentially, ensuring his future. Then he essentially stole the concept of the GUI from Xerox and made ‘Windows’, which was, pretty unsurprisingly in retrospect, an immediate success.

The thing I hate most about the way our society ‘works’ is that those with the most power are able to leverage that power to overwhelm any competition. The free market fundamentalists bang on about ‘user choice’, but there is no choice if all you’re offered is the dominant product. They refuse to acknowledge the concept of product inertia, but you only have to look at the ‘success’ of the anachronism known as QWERTY for proof that that’s a crock.

Having made a success of Windows, micro$haft then went on to embed it into our society by giving ‘free’ licences to our educational establishments, thus ensuring that everyone grew up being familiar with their product. And essentially, that is why whenever you start a new job and are given your desk, you turn on the computer that sits on it and… Windows™ boots up. And nobody bats an eyelid, because that’s what we’ve all been indocrinated with.

The first hit’s free, guys.

'Tux' the penguin, the Linux mascot
‘Tux’, the Linux mascot

Almost two decades ago, I’d had enough of this. I was on Windows98. (Why ’98’? Well, because that was the year it was released, which sort of made sense – at the time – because the previous version was ’95’, which was the year that version was released… but the previous version to that had been ‘3.x’, so, that makes sense: how? Ask the makers of Xbox, the versions of which were ‘Xbox’, ‘Xbox 360’, and then… ‘Xbox One’. Oh, that’s right, same guys: micro$haft.) So, I vowed that when Windows98 ‘ran out of support’, I’d ‘vote with my feet’ and move to Linux.

Except that, at the time, I was running a web design company that I’d founded. And all of my customers were using… yes, you guessed it, micro$haft Windows. So I was hamstrung; I had no choice but to use the same operating system as they were using, so as to be able to provide them with technical support. (For which I never got a bean from micro$haft, incidentally… although I’m sure you already guessed that.)

And so, when I was forced to ‘upgrade’ from Windows98 (even though it still worked perfectly well) I moved to WindowsXP (fortunately skipping entirely the disaster known as Vista). Why did ‘XP’ succeed ‘Vista’? Why did ‘Vista’ succeed ’98’? Whatever happened to ‘Windows 9’? Ask the micro$haft Marketing Department: I’m sure they’ll give you some bullshit reason for it.

Windows98 worked fine. I was obliged to ‘upgrade’ from ’95’ (even though that, apart from the occasional BSOD, also worked fine) because ’95’ didn’t ‘understand’ the Internet. And I have to point out at this point that micro$haft itself didn’t understand the Internet at first; they originally dismissed it as a fad. I can’t find any links to back up that assertion, but I remember it well; mainly because I recall that, not long afterwards, they did a complete U-turn and declared that their Grand Plan was going to be to ‘own the Internet’. But I digress…

There’s absolutely no reason that the ’95’ operating system couldn’t itself be altered to accommodate the extra code required to ‘understand’ the Internet. Oh, wait, yes, there was: someone had to pay the richest man on the planet (and all his underlings) more munny.

The advancement of technology will be the death of us or rather the end of the human race as we know ourselves…

Beaton (2017)

The thing is: our entire economic system is badly broken; and our love-affair with technology is turning Starship Earth, our only home, into an unlivable wasteland. If we continue to allow big businesses to rule the roost, if we don’t act to curb the insanity, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

And so, on the grounds that we should each ‘be the change we wish to see in the world’, I’m going to finally bite the bullet over this next year. I have a new project: implement a multi-boot system on my PC so that I can see whether I can use Linux instead of Windows, with a view to weaning myself off micro$haft so I’m no longer held ransom to their marketing whims. I’ll let you know how it goes…

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, balance, Capitalism, Communication, Computers and Internet, Core thought, Economics, Phlyarology, Strategy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Alert: Win8.1 support ends one year from today!

  1. I hear u says:

    Thanks for sharing. Its really nice one

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beaton says:

    I remember reading some grand scheme by Microsoft whereby they wanted the OS to be on the cloud so your desktop would be on a virtual server and you physical computer more of just a terminal to access your cloud desktop and all its features, this would tie-in with wanting to own the internet ^_^ the idea is what eventually became is it Microsoft 365 or Azure cant keep track.

    My current laptop runs Windows 11 but it can also dual boot Linux though I use it more for recovery shenigans and by passing some of the encryptions and permissions making me feel like hacker of sorts…

    Liked by 2 people

    • peNdantry says:

      Yes, I’d heard of that plan, too. I’d also heard that ’10’ was going to be the last version number, yet here we are at ’11’. The best-laid plans of mice and blood-sucking vampires…

      I wonder whether the dual-boot idea would be a bit like using nicotine patches, and then having a sneaky cigarette too; too easy to switch back to the old disgusting habit. But then, going cold turkey wouldn’t be practical for me; I know very little about Linux, it’ll take time to get up to speed with it, and find out how to do the things I need to do.

      Since I wrote this piece I’ve realised that there’s a serious drawback to my plan: I’m currently working from home… and my employer’s systems are – surprise, surprise – Windows-based. So, I may be stuck with it, whatever my good intentions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beaton says:

        Yep Windows 10 was supposed to the be-all and end-all and everything coming after was meant to be as updates on Windows 10… actually using Windows 11 is pretty much, Windows 10 experience and so far the only difference is the arrangement and functionality of the taskbar… The only other feature I had been interested in was running Android Applications natively in Windows without having to worry about running some third party simulators…. yep they still haven’t rolled out that feature…

        As for Linux you can also try creating a Linux Live USB or creating a bootable Disk which you can boot into at computer startup without actually installing it, which lets you get a feel for it without the permanent commitment of having to install it…. Its always great as a recovery resource like you accidentally deleted partitions or need advanced partition tools which the native default Disk Manager does not give and you arent particularly invested in buying a third-party app.

        Microsoft is insidious hahahaha

        Liked by 2 people

        • peNdantry says:

          Interesting to hear that ’11’ is much the same as ’10’. That’s both good news (after all this time those M$ egg-spurts should have finally developed the optimal GUI, surely?… and changing things unnecessarily often causes problems for the user)… and it’s not-so-good-news because the Marketing Dept. clearly has its oar in it; a big reason for releasing a ‘new version’ is to persuade those who think that the latest must be the greatest to part with more munny. Their ‘support/ extended support’ con needs version numbers to hook the arbitrary dates into, too.

          Thanks for the ‘Linux Live USB‘ tip; though I see that, sadly, its creator has (understandably) abandoned it. I think that creating a bootable disk may well be the way to go.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy new year. All the best with Linux. I feel like this post has taken me down on memory lane with all the different MS Operating system. I can’t believe I have used them all, and now I am on windows 10 and windows 11 knocking on the door now. I don’t have technical skills or the desire to try linux. Having said i am sure I have done some linux coding at some work place – way back when

    Liked by 2 people

  4. skippedgear says:

    It’s been ‘the year of Linux breaking through’ for about twenty years now, and it’s still the same geek-fest minefield of different competing distributions, with fans and detractors of all of them in various encampments. I used it exclusively for two or three years, but keeping it working, and dealing with software with committee-led ‘design’, user-request generated functionality, and unique all-over-the-place UI’s per application, was just too much in the end. Good luck though, it suits geeks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • peNdantry says:

      Hmm… a useful insight there, Bear. Part of my objective here, in the Autumn of my life, is to reduce the complexity, not add to it. Perhaps following the penguin may not be the way to go, after all :(

      I’ve watched as my elderly mum has been effectively cut off from the Internet over the last few years; this is partly due to her declining mental faculties, but it hasn’t helped at all that (in the main totally unnecessary) GUI changes have left her utterly befuddled about where to click.

      I guess it’s yet another example of the stupidity of homo fatuus brutus. Anyone with any sense can see the obvious benefit of a stable computer interface. But it would be more difficult to generate continual profit for the shysters hawking it – and when extensive changes are required under the hood, harder to persuade the punters to part with hard cash for something that looks the same as the previous incarnation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • SG says:

        You Mum may be better off with a Chromebook, certainly if 9 out of 10 things she needs to have are a familiar enough web browser, or the Android app version of some utilities or text massaging and social sites. I recommended my parents one, perfectly happy with how unbreakable it is (usually solid state, no real access to breakable system stuff, runs on Chrome which is based on a simple Linux) and I get nothing in the way of support desk calls from them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • SG says:

          …maybe she does have ‘massaging’, but I think it’s more likely to be ‘messaging’, as intended…

          Liked by 2 people

          • peNdantry says:

            Isn’t ‘text massaging’ what my brother calls ‘autopervert’? (I disabled that ‘feature’ years ago; I’m perfectly capable of abusing my worms myself, thankyouverymuch.)

            Liked by 1 person

        • peNdantry says:

          Thanks for the tip, but unfortunately she’s reached the stage where she’s unable to learn anything new, and does bizarre things like putting peanuts in the cat-litter tray.

          If I weren’t deliberately trying to avoid buying new gadgets, I might consider one for myself… though there’s also the issue that, ever since go ogle quietly demoted their “Don’t be evil” motto, I’ve been getting increasingly concerned about the ethics and intentions of their new controllers (Alphabet). Just call me paranoid (I’m pretty sure that’s hereditary).


      • Each update is meant to make things easier and more intuitive… MY ASS!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. mistermuse says:

    The term “broken growth-centric economic system” is so on-the-money that I wonder if you ‘invented’ it or ‘borrowed’ it. In any case, it’s seems to be the modern manifestation of the old “You can’t fight city hall” or “the powers-that-be.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t come up with the term. I’ve read a few books on economics (‘Enough is Enough’ by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill is a particularly good one); though I’m not an expert in the field, it’s been obvious to me for years that our entire economics system is both too big to fail and on the verge of freefall implosion. The ‘credit crunch’ in 2008 was a perfect example. And there are those (poo-pooed by the establishment, naturally) who warn that another crash is inevitable; such events are not one-off; they’re cyclical.

      It’s a dilemma: yes, you can’t fight city hall, but if we don’t find a way to do just that, we’re all screwed.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Windows 95 was good. 98, XP. Then, I feel like they just adopted the idea that every other tech company has – ‘we need more money more often’ and started “upgrading” things for the sake of upgrading, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What about Linux? Did you try?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Heh, heh…I had to chuckle about the “Micro$haft” reference. I am a lifelong neophyte when it comes to computers in general but became so resentful having to purchase new software and ultimately hardware from “MicroShaft” back when I owned an XP and ultimately decided to go down the Apple rabbit hole. While there are aggravating elements of it as well, all in all, it works fine for my purposes (although I note one upgrade of a previous OS cheesed me off with photo categorizing but I’ve learned to coexist reasonably well).

    Liked by 1 person

    • peNdantry says:

      Glad my witterings managed to rustle up a chuckle :) I’m far from being a technovice; I’ve been messing with computers for more than four decades now, and have a BSc in the field. It never ceases to frustrate me that technological progress is frequently X steps forward and Y steps back… and all too often Y > X :/ ‘Reasonable coexistence’ is probably all that any of us can hope for!

      Welcome to Wibble, Monika!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the welcome! Looking forward to the Wibbles. My work years convinced me those in tech support had deprived childhoods and thus wrought their neurosis on the rest of us. I always wondered if they actually used any of the products they created. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

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