Black Tuesday toll: Microsoft drops Windows 8.1 support; XP hack still works

A month on, Microsoft stops offering Windows 8.1 Black Tuesday patches to those who haven't installed Update 1

The June 2014 Black Tuesday patches are out, and the Windows Update gods have spoken. If you're running Windows 8.1 and you use Windows Update or Microsoft Update, you won't see any of today's patches until you install KB 2919355/Windows 8.1 Update 1. On a non-Update 1 copy of Windows 8.1, that means you'll have to download and successfully install about 1GB of patches before you can see this month's Black Tuesday patches.

Last month, you may recall, Microsoft waited until one day before Black Tuesday before announcing, ha ha, it would extend the Windows 8.1 Update 1 requirement by another month. That month has now come and gone, and Windows 8.1 is no longer supported with security patches. Corporate users on Windows Server Update Services get them until August. But if you get your updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update, time's ran out.

If you've been trying to install Windows 8.1 Update 1 and can't get it to work -- yes, even if Microsoft's techs have reached into your machine, failed to install Update 1, and given up -- you're SOL. Your only option is to reinstall Windows 8 from scratch and pray (if you can).

On a somewhat more positive (or at least humorous) note, those of you running Windows XP who have activated the single registry change that makes your copy of XP look like Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 will see a bunch of goodies, though Windows XP has been cut off. My hacked XP machine offers four patches in this month's crop: KB 2957503, 2939576, and 2957509, which are all WEPOS and POSReady specific patches, plus the much-debated patch for Internet Explorer 8, KB 2957689.

Of course, the IE8 patch on a hacked XP machine is entirely for grins. If you're still running XP and you haven't switched browsers, there's a big "Kick Me" sign hanging on your machine's butt. Worth noting: Microsoft sternly warns you against hacking your XP machine

The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers. Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP. The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Which is surely the rightful heir to Clippy's immortal advice:

You can hurt yourself if you run with scissors.

I predict we're going to hear howls of protest from cut-off Windows 8.1 customers shortly. Stay tuned.

This story, "Black Tuesday toll: Microsoft drops Windows 8.1 support; XP hack still works," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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