Microsoft has confirmed that the newly released Windows 8.1 Update forms the baseline for future updates and security fixes, and that users must upgrade to this version in order to receive such updates going forwards.
The software giant confirmed the situation in a posting on its TechNet blog at the weekend. Earlier, Microsoft had given hints that the Windows 8.1 Update would be required for users to receive updates in future, but had not given concrete details.
The move means users currently running Windows 8.1 must install the Windows 8.1 Update, which was made available last week, in order to receive future security fixes.
Beginning with the May Patch Tuesday, Windows 8.1 devices without the update installed will no longer receive security updates, Microsoft warned.
However, this does not affect users who have remained on the original Windows 8 platform. These users will continue to receive security fixes, Microsoft said.
The move is not just a concern for end users, as the same rule applies to Microsoft's server platforms based on the Windows 8 code base. Microsoft will thus not provide updates for Windows Server 2012 R2 in future, and customers running this will need to upgrade their servers to the newly released Windows Server 2012 R2 Update in order to continue to benefit from security fixes.
Microsoft said it was introducing this policy in order to simplify its support structure. Starting with Windows 8, the firm moved to a more rapid release cycle for its operating system platform, and is clearly having to rationalise which of these releases it will continue to offer support for going forwards.
"Since Microsoft wants to ensure that customers benefit from the best support and servicing experience and to co-ordinate and simplify servicing across both Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8.1 RT and Windows 8.1, this update will be considered a new servicing/support baseline," the firm explained.
"For those who are still using Windows 8 and Windows 2012 (and not Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 R2) you are unaffected and will continue to receive updates as normal."
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