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Microsoft will charge consumers for extended Windows 10 support

Windows 10 logoImage: Microsoft

If you’re loath to give up Windows 10 when support expires in about two years, there’s some good news and bad news: Microsoft is extending your support options — but you’ll be forced to pay an additional fee.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 will reach the end of support on October 14, 2025. That will still mean, as it usually does, that Microsoft will release no new features after that date.

What it usually also means is that Microsoft won’t release any new security patches after a product exits its support window. That typically translates to an end-of-life scenario: Without security updates, your use of Windows 10 or another product is subject to any bugs or vulnerabilities that are discovered. You use it at your own risk, basically.

Microsoft sometimes offers an escape hatch. As it has done previously, businesses will be offered an Extended Security Update — a chance to pay Microsoft for additional bug fixes and patches while it transitions over to Windows 11. What’s different is that consumers will now be offered the chance to buy an Extended Security Update, too — the first time that Microsoft has allowed consumers to do this.

“While we strongly recommend moving to Windows 11, we understand there are circumstances that could prevent you from replacing Windows 10 devices before the EOS date. Therefore, Microsoft will offer Extended Security Updates,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

“Like the Windows 7 ESU program, your organization will be able to purchase a yearly subscription to security updates. The yearly commitment is renewable for three years. Devices enrolled in ESUs will receive monthly security updates to keep these Windows 10 PCs secure.”

Though that statement refers to the business subscriptions, consumers are being offered the same deal. The ESU program just includes critical and/or important security updates on a monthly basis, but no new features, or customer-requested security improvements or features. More importantly, Microsoft will not provide technical support, either.

Businesses will be provided Windows 10 ESUs if they subscribe to Windows 365, Microsoft’s Windows-in-the-cloud solution. But a Microsoft representative confirmed that this loophole won’t be applied to the consumer ESU subscriptions.

The question that Microsoft isn’t answering is, how much will this all cost? Microsoft is going to make you wait before it answers. We do know that Microsoft absolutely loves subscriptions, so this decision doesn’t come as an absolute surprise. And yes, you will have to eventually move to Windows 11. But there will at least be a safety net, though it will cut into your wallet.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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