Windows 10, the most widely used operating system in the world, will reach its end of support (EOS) on October 14, 2025. This means that Microsoft will stop providing security updates, bug fixes, and technical support for the OS after that date. Users who continue to run Windows 10 on their devices will be exposed to potential security risks and compliance violations.
Microsoft has launched Windows 11, the successor to Windows 10, as the most secure and modern OS yet. Windows 11 offers new features and capabilities, such as Copilot in Windows, that are designed to keep users productive and protected. However, not all Windows 10 devices are eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11, as the new OS has higher hardware requirements and compatibility standards.
According to Microsoft, only about 60% of Windows 10 devices meet the minimum specifications for Windows 11. This means that about 400 million PCs will be left behind when Windows 10 reaches EOS. Users who own these devices will have to choose between buying a new Windows 11 PC, subscribing to Windows 365 to access a cloud-based Windows 11 PC, or sticking with Windows 10 and risking security breaches and performance issues.
Why is Windows 10 EOS a concern for the environment?
The Windows 10 EOS poses a serious challenge for the environment, as it may lead to a massive disposal of PCs that are incompatible with Windows 11. According to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), electronic waste is one of the fastest growing sources of waste in the world, and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, toxic pollution, and resource depletion.
The report estimates that if all the Windows 10 devices that are ineligible for Windows 11 are discarded, it would generate about 3.2 million metric tons of e-waste, equivalent to the weight of 445 Eiffel Towers. The report also warns that disposing of these devices would release about 14.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to the annual emissions of 3 million cars.
The report urges Microsoft to extend the life of Windows 10 by providing security updates beyond the EOS date, or to lower the hardware requirements for Windows 11 to make it more accessible to existing Windows 10 users. The report also calls on consumers to reuse, repair, or recycle their old devices instead of throwing them away.
How can Windows 10 users prepare for the transition?
Windows 10 users who want to migrate to Windows 11 have several options to do so, depending on their device compatibility and preferences. Microsoft has provided a tool called PC Health Check that allows users to check if their device meets the requirements for Windows 11. Users can also visit the Windows 11 website to learn more about the features and benefits of the new OS.
Users who have compatible devices can upgrade to Windows 11 for free using Windows Autopatch or Microsoft Intune, which are tools that automate the installation and configuration of the new OS. Users can also purchase new Windows 11 PCs from various manufacturers, which come with the latest security features enabled by default.
Users who do not have compatible devices can subscribe to Windows 365, a service that allows users to access a cloud-based Windows 11 PC from any device, such as a tablet, smartphone, or old PC. Windows 365 offers users the flexibility and convenience of having a personalized and secure Windows 11 experience on any device.
Users who are not ready or willing to switch to Windows 11 can opt for the Windows 10 Extended Security Update (ESU) program, which will provide security updates for Windows 10 beyond the EOS date, for a fee. The ESU program is intended for users who need more time to transition to Windows 11, or who have specific reasons to stay on Windows 10, such as legacy applications or regulatory compliance.
What is the future of Windows?
Windows 11 is the latest and most advanced version of Windows, and Microsoft expects it to be the last major release of the OS. Instead of launching new versions of Windows every few years, Microsoft plans to deliver regular updates and improvements to Windows 11, making it a constantly evolving and adaptable OS.
Windows 11 is designed to meet the changing needs and expectations of users in the digital age, with a focus on security, productivity, creativity, and accessibility. Windows 11 also aims to foster a more inclusive and diverse community of users, with support for multiple languages, cultures, and abilities.
Windows 11 is the future of Windows, and Microsoft encourages Windows 10 users to join the millions of users who have already upgraded to the new OS. Windows 11 offers users a new way to connect, create, and collaborate, while keeping their data and devices safe and secure.