Microsoft issues deadline for end of Windows 10 support – it's pay to play for security
Limited options will be available into 2028, for an undisclosed price
Microsoft on Tuesday warned that full security support for Windows 10 will end on October 14, 2025, but offered a lifeline for customers unable or unwilling to upgrade two years hence.
"While we strongly recommend moving to Windows 11, we understand there are circumstances that could prevent you from replacing Windows 10 devices before the EOS [end of support] date," explained Jason Leznek, a member of Microsoft's Windows Servicing & Delivery team, in an statement. "Therefore, Microsoft will offer Extended Security Updates."
Extended Security Updates (ESU) will keep Windows 10 systems functioning and notionally secure after the operating system's expiration date – but not for free.
As with the Windows 7 ESU program – which ended on January 10 – Windows 10 diehards will have the option to pay an as-yet-undisclosed yearly subscription fee to continue receiving monthly security updates for up to three years beyond the end-of-service date.
According to Leznek, the Windows 10 ESU program only provides critical and important security updates. Patches for lesser flaws, feature requests, or other changes won't necessarily be considered and technical support will be limited to security issues.
Pricing for Windows 10 ESU has not been announced, but presumably it will be similar to the Windows 7 ESU program: $50 per Windows 7 Pro device for the first year; $100 for the second year; and $200 for the third. For Windows Enterprise customers, the price is half that.
Eager to convince customers to commit to the endless rent-economy of the cloud, Microsoft says those with Windows 10 PCs can use Windows 11 via Windows 365 – Redmond's cloud-based service that streams Windows 11 to connected devices.
And for those who choose this route, Microsoft will throw in a Windows 10 ESU subscription at no additional cost. A similar arrangement is available for those running Windows 10 instances in Azure Virtual Desktop, which is some use to admins.
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The US Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) hailed Microsoft's announcement as a sustainability triumph, because extended support for Windows 10 means less electronic waste. PIRG presented Microsoft with 20,000 signatures in October to convince Redmond to do what it probably already had planned to drive Windows 11 adoption.
"We're stuck on a disposability treadmill, replacing tech before we should," lamented Lucas Rockett Gutterman, director of PIRG's Designed to Last Campaign, in a statement. "Abandoning Windows 10 and leaving hundreds of millions of computers behind is one particularly harmful example."
Gutterman characterized the Windows 10 ESU program as a step in the right direction, but said Microsoft should extend support automatically as a way to reduce junked hardware.
According to PIRG, the ESU program will be offered for three years to schools, public sector organizations, and SMBs, with individuals eligible for just one year, though extensions may be offered if there's demand.
Leznek didn't specifically address individual Windows users except to say that an ESU program for individual consumers will be discussed in a future update. We'll see. ®