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Microsoft Appears to Be Dropping Windows 10 Support by 2025

Windows 10 laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If evidence for Windows 11 hasn't been apparent enough this week, Microsoft has officially listed an end of life date for Windows 10 Home and Pro. A Microsoft documentation officially states that support will end on October 14th, 2025. The company will continue to support at least one Windows 10 semi-annual channel until that date.

The document only mentions Home and Pro, but a header on the page says it also applies to Pro Education and Pro for Workstations.

If this is correct, it suggests that all development and security updates for Windows 10 will be dropped completely by 2025. No word has been mentioned for Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows Server builds based on Windows 10 (like Server 2016 and Server 2019), but presumably, these versions will have longer lifespans due to their usage in the enterprise and prosumer markets.

Windows 10 Support Dates

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Tom's Hardware reached out to Microsoft for clarification, but did not hear back prior to publication. We will update if we get more information on the matter.

This heavily points to a new version of Windows. The company has an event on June 24 about the future of the operating system. While Microsoft previously said Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows, all clues, including a bunch of Microsoft's own teases, point to Windows 11.

If that comes to pass, Microsoft will then have to get the people running 1.3 billion active devices on Windows 10 to update. This would give Windows PC owners 3 to 4 years to migrate to the new version.

  • Makaveli
    The question I have is this going to be a free upgrade to windows 10 like 7 to 10 was. Or we need to purchase Windows 11?
    Reply
  • mikeebb
    Color me unsurprised. The Win10 practice has been to drop support for a previous feature update not more than 2 years after a new one is released - usually 12-18 months. So if "Windows 11" appears as 21H2, the end of 2023 is what would be expected for EOL on anything older. We all know that MS is a little more lenient than that, especially for Enterprise and Server SKUs (my work laptop was running 1709 until late last year, when it got 1909, and last week got 20H2).

    The question for me is whether MS is calling this a new OS because they want to exercise that clause in the TOS that lets them cut off support for older hardware. IOW end backward compatibility to a major extent. That would be, in essence, pulling an Apple - buy a new computer or go away. I only recently rebuilt (with 10th gen Intel) a 15-yr-old rig that was running Win10 (fully updated) just fine. Still have a 10ish-yr-old laptop ditto, and a 4-yr-old tablet/2-in-1 ditto. I kind of figure "11" won't have a 32-bit version any more which kills off the tablet. How about the old laptop (1st gen i5) with 4G RAM?

    And yes: what's it going to cost? Will MS return to paid upgrades? In that past, that was manageable, because if you didn't want to be on the bleeding edge you still got security support of the old version for 5 or more years. This seems to be a change to that policy, as well.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    mikeebb said:
    The question for me is whether MS is calling this a new OS because they want to exercise that clause in the TOS that lets them cut off support for older hardware. IOW end backward compatibility to a major extent. That would be, in essence, pulling an Apple - buy a new computer or go away. I only recently rebuilt (with 10th gen Intel) a 15-yr-old rig that was running Win10 (fully updated) just fine. Still have a 10ish-yr-old laptop ditto, and a 4-yr-old tablet/2-in-1 ditto. I kind of figure "11" won't have a 32-bit version any more which kills off the tablet. How about the old laptop (1st gen i5) with 4G RAM?
    The problem with keeping support for old hardware is whether or not the company that makes it still cares about it. This is also on top of newer hardware having features that are either required or are useful in having.

    In the former for instance, is Intel still caring about anyone using Core 2s? Sure you could argue they want to push people onto new products but at the same time a Core 2 behaves differently than a 10th gen Core processor. Maybe someone encountered a bug that only happens on Core 2s but not later processors. At some point it's just easier and cheaper to buy a new processor than try and fix a either a hardware or software bug.

    In the latter case, I suppose today it's all about supporting DRM schemes (thanks MPAA) and mitigating Spectre like attacks. But as a super early example, Windows 3.1 dropped support for the 8086 simply because the 8086 had no memory protection support. And that feature is kind of a foundation for stable operating environments. And IIRC, Windows 8.1 dropped support for Core 2 based processors because it "needed" several instructions that Core 2 doesn't have.
    Reply
  • cjmcgee
    Win10 x64 21H1 supports pretty much all HW from the last 15 years. I just installed it on my Pentium D 965 from 2006 with no issues. This machine with 4GB mem and an SSD runs win10 surprisingly well, so it will be sad when MS kills it off; but expecting them to support 20 year old HW is probably too much to ask. I just hope lubuntu keeps supporting it.
    Reply
  • Mandark
    meh. just call it Windows and keep updating it.
    Reply
  • mikeebb
    hotaru.hino said:
    ... as a super early example, Windows 3.1 dropped support for the 8086 simply because the 8086 had no memory protection support. And that feature is kind of a foundation for stable operating environments. And IIRC, Windows 8.1 dropped support for Core 2 based processors because it "needed" several instructions that Core 2 doesn't have.
    Interesting. My first Intel PC was a 386SX, so that's probably why it ran Win3.1 OK. Though ... 3.1 also works well in DOSBOX under current Windows (which I keep for a couple of Truly Ancient Games for occasional use). I did have to replace that computer, after about 7 years, in order to run Windows 98, which I needed in order to use some graphics software (Slot 1 Celeron ftw!). After getting that Celeron, I was no longer able to play original (DOS) Tetris - it like some other DOS software hit a divide-by-zero error with newer (though still 16-bit-capable) CPUs due to some change in instruction sets - an early example of what you are talking about. DOSBOX fixes that by fully emulating the old CPUs in software. As for 8.1 vs Core2, never heard about that before, but it must have been fixed in Win10 because 10 (upgraded directly from 7) worked fine for me with a Core2 Extreme.
    Reply
  • hotaru.hino
    Should add, "no support" just means "if you have a problem, you're on your own." It doesn't mean "the software won't run on this"

    Microsoft makes a lot of money providing support because for businesses and the like using their software, down time is lost time, and sometimes it's cheaper to just pay someone else than figure it out on your own.

    With Linux, you're basically on your own unless the maintainer has a maintenance support channel (that you likely have to pay to get)
    Reply
  • mikeebb
    "Support" for MS also means security updates. You can't keep using an OS that no longer gets those on the internet for long. At least for anything important. So the short fuse on stopping security updates that MS started with Win10 is more of a problem than it was in the Win7 days when security support was provided for 10 years after the last service pack was released (feature updates for Win10 are similar to a service pack or point release with previous versions).
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    "LAST VERSION OF WINDOWS"

    Why does everyone keep assuming this new operating system will be called WINDOWS 11??? Perhaps it won't be called WINDOWS at all, perhaps Microsoft already has a different name picked out for the OS.
    Reply
  • Heat_Fan89
    Makaveli said:
    The question I have is this going to be a free upgrade to windows 10 like 7 to 10 was. Or we need to purchase Windows 11?
    I was wondering the same thing. I hope so and think that they will given that Windows OS has become a service for Microsoft. The bigger question will be is the new OS going to be "Cloud Based" because that's where Satya wants to take it?
    Reply