Responding to concerns about scrapping otherwise usable devices, Microsoft announced it will extend security updates for Windows 10 – for a price.
Microsoft will stop providing security updates for Windows 10 on Oct. 14, 2025, but the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), an NGO focused on consumer protection, public health and transportation, argued that Microsoft should extend support for the operating system, as it has in the past for other systems.
PIRG noted that up to 400 million of the 1 billion Windows 10 devices still in use will be affected, as about 40% of PCs in use can’t upgrade to Windows 11.
Microsoft said in a Dec. 5 blog post that “while we strongly recommend moving to Windows 11, we understand there are circumstances that could prevent you from replacing Windows 10 devices” before the end of service date, and therefore will offer extended security updates on a yearly subscription basis.
The company noted that it did something similar for Windows 7. The subscription will be offered for three years, and those that buy it will get monthly “critical and/or important security updates.”
The program will not provide new features, customer-requested non-security updates or design change requests, the company added.
Windows 365 customers and those running Windows through Azure Virtual Desktop can access the extended security updates for no additional cost. More information on pricing and the extension will be provided closer to 2025, Microsoft noted.
PIRG said in a press release that the move was a “step in the right direction,” adding that it follows another “successful campaign that pushed Google to extend support for short-lived Chromebooks to 10 years.”
Lucas Rockett Gutterman, PIRG’s Designed to Last campaign director, said “we’re stuck on a disposability treadmill, replacing tech before we should.”
“Abandoning Windows 10 and leaving hundreds of millions of computers behind is one particularly harmful example,” Gutterman said. “Microsoft has made a step in the right direction by offering paid security updates for the millions of people who can’t upgrade their computers. However, automatically extending support would do more to prevent e-waste.”