Prepare Your Business Now for Windows 10 End of Life

Prepare Your Business Now for Windows 10 End of Life

It’s time to prepare your business now for Windows 10 End of Life (EoL).  After 10 years in service, Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 10 Pro and Home will reach end of support on October 14, 2025.  The current version, 22H2, is the final version of Windows 10, and it will remain in support with monthly security update releases through October 14, 2025. 

End of Life Means End of Security Updates

When a Windows version reaches its end-of-support date, the software keeps working, but Microsoft no longer supports the software with security updates or support.

Once a product reaches the end of support, or a service retires, there will be no new security updates, non-security updates, or assisted support. Customers are encouraged to migrate to the latest version of the product or service. Paid programs may be available for applicable products.

Unsupported software presents several risks for your business including:

  • Security vulnerabilities: Without critical security updates, Windows 10 systems will become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and malware. This can lead to operational disruptions, reputational damage, and financial losses.
  • Compliance issues:  This includes industry regulations (like HIPAA or PCI DSS) and cyberliability insurers that require systems to run on supported software. After EoL, Windows 10 may not be considered compliant, putting your business at risk of fines and penalties.
  • Compatibility issues:  If you plan to purchase new applications, the software may not be compatible with unsupported Windows 10 systems, hindering business operations.

Windows 11 Upgrade Options

You have a few options to help successfully navigate this upgrade:

Upgrade Existing Machines

An asset inventory will tell you which of your machines may be suitable for upgrades.  Windows 11 was released on October 5, 2021, so machines you’ve purchased since then may already be running on Windows 11.

In addition, most PCs designed and sold in 2019 or later will work with Windows 11. Computers you’ve purchased since 2019, especially if they’re still under warranty, may be candidates for in-place upgrades.  Your IT advisor can help with Windows 11 system requirements as part of your planning.

If your PCs fall short of the minimum upgrade requirements you may still be able to install Windows 11, but Microsoft warns that those installations will be unsupported, and we do not recommend it.

Purchase Microsoft Extended Security Updates (ESU)

Microsoft will offer an Extended Security Updates (ESU) program for Windows 10 machines.  Consider this if you must continue to use machines that don’t meet minimum upgrade requirements while you’re refreshing your hardware inventory.  Microsoft is not expected to release ESU pricing until Fall 2024.

Individuals or organizations who elect to continue using Windows 10 after support ends on October 14, 2025, will have the option of enrolling their PCs into a paid ESU subscription. The ESU program enables PCs to continue to receive critical and important security updates through an annual subscription service after support ends. It does not include new features or general support.

Final pricing and enrollment conditions will be made available closer to the October 2025 date for end of support, approximately one year before the end of support for Windows 10. ESU will be free for all Windows 365 customers. 

Organizations will be able to purchase a yearly subscription to security updates. The yearly commitment is renewable for three years. 

Expedite Your Hardware Refresh Schedule

Depending on your environment, it may make financial sense to skip upgrading old machines and gradually transition workstations directly to Windows 11-compatible computers instead.

One option that needs to be off the table is to continue running unsupported machines.  Running unsupported software presents risks that far outweigh the expense of upgrading.

Securely Dispose of Your Windows 10 Computers

Make secure disposal of old Windows 10 machines part of your plan.  Consider both data destruction to protect your business and responsible hardware recycling to help protect the environment.

Canalys estimates that in the nearly two-year period until Microsoft’s official end-of-support date for Windows 10 – 14 October 2025 – roughly a fifth of devices will become e-waste due to incompatibility with the Windows 11 OS. This equates to 240 million PCs. If these were all folded laptops, stacked one on top of another, they would make a pile 600km taller than the moon.

Look for a service that provides chain-of-custody proof from pickup to destruction of hard drives and removes and recycles other computer equipment.  Your IT advisor can help.

Prepare Your Business Now for Windows 10 End of Life

Start planning now to ensure a smooth transition to Windows 11 for your team, your technology, and your budget.

  • Assess your IT infrastructure:  Inventory all Windows 10 devices to help you understand your upgrade or replacement needs and budget accordingly.  Also consider any compatibility issues you may encounter with other software in your environment.
  • Develop a migration plan:  Create a timeline and strategy for transitioning to Windows 11.
  • Rely on your IT team:  They know your environment best and can help develop the best approach for a smooth transition.

Considering a change in IT support to smooth your company’s migration to Windows 11?  Contact us.