Windows 8.1 fixes many of Windows 8’s most glaring flaws, but not everyone is able to bask in the bountiful new features. Owners of some older PCs have found themselves stranded on Windows 8, trapped by a subtle tweak in Windows 8.1’s hardware requirements. And beyond the irritation factor, the issue could have troubling support implications for affected users, as Microsoft has told Windows 8 users they’ll need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 by 2015 to continue receiving critical system updates.

“I’m rather frustrated, because I see no need for Microsoft to have produced a point release OS update—or rather, a service pack—with significantly different system requirements that would leave my PC ‘marooned’ on Windows 8,” says Chip Sudderth, a PCWorld reader affected by the issue...

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