Microsoft Will End Sale of Windows 10 Licenses to Consumers This Month

Windows 10
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system has been available on the retail market for over seven years and was superseded by Windows 11 in October 2021. However, despite its age, Windows 10 remains the most popular version of Windows, with a global market share of 67.95% in December 2022 compared to 16.97% for Windows 11, according to StatCounter

But it now looks like Microsoft is ready to put the brakes on issuing new Windows 10 licenses to everyday consumers. Microsoft's official product pages for Windows 10 Home (opens in new tab) and Windows 10 Pro (opens in new tab) now include the following disclaimer:

January 31, 2023 will be the last day this Windows 10 download is offered for sale. Windows 10 will remain supported with security updates that help protect your PC from viruses, spyware, and other malware until October 14, 2025. 

Windows 10

(Image credit: Microsoft)

So, if you want to download the software directly from Microsoft, you only have a few weeks before the company pulls the plug. Microsoft currently offers Windows 10 Home as a direct download for $139, while Windows 10 Pro will set you back $199.

But remember, this only pertains to Windows 10 downloads bought directly from Microsoft by general consumers. Moreover, we don't know what kind of backroom deals Microsoft has with its vast army of OEM PC partners, so it's entirely possible that they might still be able to purchase Windows 10 licenses for the foreseeable future. 

Although Microsoft is ending consumer sales of Windows 10 via its web store, there are still plenty of other avenues to download the operating system or purchase it on DVD. For example, Amazon offers the OEM version of Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro on DVD for $109.99 (opens in new tab) and $146.99 (opens in new tab), respectively. Alternatively, online sites like Kinguin offer Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro product keys for well under $30, which is an excellent avenue for DIYers looking to save a few bucks when building a new system. 

It's pretty clear why Microsoft is on track to sunset sales of Windows 10; it wants to push as many people over to its current Windows 11 operating system as quickly as possible. Microsoft will end Windows 10 support on October 14, 2025, which means no more security or antivirus/malware protection. Not surprisingly, Microsoft would prefer that customers not wait that long and make the free upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 sooner rather than later.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • bolweval
    Microsoft would probably get faster adoption if it wasn't so picky choosy of the hardware people are running. There are ways around it, I got it to run on my 2016 XPS 13, but most people won't or want to go though the hassle...
    Reply
  • The Historical Fidelity
    I absolutely hate windows 11, it’s too locked down and represents change for the sake of change. I find myself having to learn new ways of finding options, settings, etc. where the old way was already optimized and made sense over the evolution of 95, 98, XP, 7, and 10. Also, none of my independent creator, and crowd source software works with 11. I get nothing but usb driver errors, non-signed driver errors, access privilege issues, etc. almost like Microsoft is trying to destroy the independent software/modder market. It’s sad to see…
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    I have a 3770k system my son is still using. It is going strong.

    I dread the day I can't update it any more. This will force many people over to other systems.

    I can swap out the motherboard, CPU, and memory. But what e waste.

    I'll also have to reformat my other sons 3900x as secure boot isn't on. That's an Uber pain in the tail.
    Reply
  • pug_s
    People can buy Windows 10 pro keys out there from old discarded windows 7 corp pc's out there for about $20. Heck, these keys are upgradable to windows 11 if you like it. My last 2 builds came from pc keys coming out from serial keys coming out from these old pc's. Funny thing is that when I checked the keys, they are retail and not OEM.
    Reply
  • salgado18
    Mandark said:
    Well you can always live under a rock and remain stagnant. Don’t like it? Don’t use it.

    my advice is to get a grip on reality and learn when things are out of your control. This is out of your control. Take action and use a different OS and stop complaining about things out of your control

    The key to life is adaptability. Evolution teaches us, adapt, or die.
    But we can still complain about the things we don't like, in the hopes that our voice is heard and the next versions get better instead of worse, right? We can beg for a Windows 12 that's better than 11, can't we? Because I won't just shut my voice and swallow everything that big companies try to sell me, if I don't like something I'll say it out loud.

    Microsoft can stop sales and updates of Windows 10 until there is only 11? Yes, they can, it's out of our control. Can we stay on 10 because 11 is half-functional, making the OS share low enough for Microsoft to notice and change course? Yes, we can, and that is in our control.

    Windows 8 eventually became usable, but 7 was still better, more stable and people mostly refused to upgrade until 10 became good enough. 11 may eventually become usable, but I think people will keep on 10 until 11 gets good or 12 comes out.
    Reply
  • zecoeco
    I'm still using W10 as my daily driver, and so far it's perfect, performance is really good and so far no issues whatsoever.
    I tried to upgrade to W11 so many times, and every time I end up rolling back to W10, mostly for the poor performance I get in W11.
    Windows 10 is just noticeably snappier than Windows 11, but I'm sure over the time it'll match W10. However, right now it's basically unnecessary to upgrade.
    Reply
  • The Historical Fidelity
    Mandark said:
    Well you can always live under a rock and remain stagnant. Don’t like it? Don’t use it.

    my advice is to get a grip on reality and learn when things are out of your control. This is out of your control. Take action and use a different OS and stop complaining about things out of your control

    The key to life is adaptability. Evolution teaches us, adapt, or die.
    Props for the most useless reply of 2023! Literally no one cares about your pseudo-intellectual soliloquy.

    Microsoft considers you their bread and butter. Just fall in line and consume their bs without incident. It’s people like you that allows businesses to make anti-consumer moves in their respective industry. “Just use a new OS” Maybe I can’t, ever thought of that? Maybe the software I use is only on windows and there aren’t equivalents? Think before you speak…
    Reply
  • zecoeco
    The Historical Fidelity said:
    Props for the most useless reply of 2023! Literally no one cares about your pseudo-intellectual soliloquy.

    Microsoft considers you their bread and butter. Just fall in line and consume their bs without incident. It’s people like you that allows businesses to make anti-consumer moves in their respective industry. “Just use a new OS” Maybe I can’t, ever thought of that? Maybe the software I use is only on windows and there aren’t equivalents? Think before you speak…
    salgado18 said:
    But we can still complain about the things we don't like, in the hopes that our voice is heard and the next versions get better instead of worse, right? We can beg for a Windows 12 that's better than 11, can't we? Because I won't just shut my voice and swallow everything that big companies try to sell me, if I don't like something I'll say it out loud.

    Microsoft can stop sales and updates of Windows 10 until there is only 11? Yes, they can, it's out of our control. Can we stay on 10 because 11 is half-functional, making the OS share low enough for Microsoft to notice and change course? Yes, we can, and that is in our control.

    Windows 8 eventually became usable, but 7 was still better, more stable and people mostly refused to upgrade until 10 became good enough. 11 may eventually become usable, but I think people will keep on 10 until 11 gets good or 12 comes out.

    I respectfully disagree with @The Historical Fidelity , and agree with @salgado18
    If we're going to use W10 for the next 10 years, then we are taking a huge risk in terms of the security flaws that'll ruddle the whole operating system over the years as it stops getting patches for the never-ending war of cybersecurity, and not to forget the compatibility of the many features that come, and software developers will adapt and require your OS to support it. It's a collaborative thing between software and hardware. For every person out there, there has to be a level of adaptability to make use of the technology you have in the best possible way and keep your device and your data safe. It's not all that bad with W11, and over the time it'll get much better than W10. I know, wheather you upgrade or not, it is your decision, taking in mind your hardware, your data, and your ability to keep up with the latest and adapt. But if you don't adapt, then you are left behind, not now, but in the next 10 years in case you stuck with W10. As for now, Windows 10 is still perfectly fine for at least 5 years.
    Reply
  • kanewolf
    The Historical Fidelity said:
    Props for the most useless reply of 2023! Literally no one cares about your pseudo-intellectual soliloquy.

    Microsoft considers you their bread and butter. Just fall in line and consume their bs without incident. It’s people like you that allows businesses to make anti-consumer moves in their respective industry. “Just use a new OS” Maybe I can’t, ever thought of that? Maybe the software I use is only on windows and there aren’t equivalents? Think before you speak…
    Then do what businesses that have this problem do. Buy spare hardware now. You want Win10 forever, then you need Win10 hardware forever. You buy spare motherboards and other specific hardware while you can. These are called "lifetime buys".
    I worked for a defense contractor and bought Cray supercomputers on E-Bay for parts for exactly this problem.
    Reply
  • BillyBuerger
    Alternatively, online sites like Kinguin offer Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro product keys for well under $30, which is an excellent avenue for DIYers looking to save a few bucks when building a new system.
    I'm a bit concerned you're recommended a site like Kinguin for "buying" a windows license. I've had some experience in that past with different sites that do the same. And I heard someone mention buying from from Kinguin recently and they got a message that their key was already activated. These product key for cheap sites are not a good idea. They resell the same key multiple times or pull them from already activated systems. If you're lucky it may "work" but there's a good chance it might not work again if you need to reinstall because it was never a valid license in the first place. Even if it does work, it's still not a legal license and you own nothing. If you want a windows license, get it from Microsoft. It's the cost of owning Windows. If the cost is too much, install Linux or buy an OEM PC where they already include the cost of Windows in the price of the system.
    Reply