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Support for Windows 10 is Being Withdrawn - Here’s What you Need to Know

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Featured on over a billion PCs worldwide, Window’s 10 remains he world’s most popular computer operating system. This figure stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of the OS, which was launched way back in the summer of 2015. Bringing together the best aspects of Windows 8, alongside a set of revolutionary features – including a new browser in the form of Microsoft Edge – Windows 10 has developed a loyal fanbase and has earned plaudits from users and tech critics alike.

Sadly, in spite of its continued popularity, Windows 10 is nearing the end of the road. Businesses that continue to use the aging OS will need to take action soon to ensure their devices remain secure, supported and futureproof. Here’s a little context to help you understand what's happening…

Introducing Windows 11 – A New Operating System for Our New World of Work

Towards the end of 2021, Microsoft released its next-generation operating system: the eagerly awaited Windows 11. Technology commentators were quick to note the stark change in appearance compared to Windows 10, with soft, pastel colours, rounded edges and a more minimalist look than previous iterations of Windows. The new system also integrated Microsoft Teams as a taskbar focal point, a change brought in to reflect the dramatic rise in remote work triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new system introduces a widgets panel, and makes Android apps available through the Microsoft Store: a development considered long overdue by some.

The new OS also brought in uprated security capabilities, an upgraded touchscreen experience, and slicker support for virtual desktops.

“Sounds good, but I’m not in the market for a new operating system. I’m content with Windows 10.”

If this is how you feel, you’re in good company. Windows 11 adoption has so far been relatively slow, with only around 30% of businesses having made the switch to the new OS. However, that may be about to change in the coming months and years...

Microsoft is Withdrawing Support for Windows 10 – So What Does This Mean?

Back in April, Microsoft declared the end-of-life date for Windows 10: 14th October 2025. This was not unanticipated, as a 10-year lifespan (2015-2025) is par for the course with Windows operating systems.

So why is this a critical date for organizations that operate Windows 10? Here’s a little background to help you comprehend what ‘end-of-life’ means.

Windows operating systems are delivered under a support arrangement comprised of two distinct phases:

Phase 1 – Mainstream Support

Mainstream support is typically available for the first 5 years subsequent to the launch of a Windows operating system. During the mainstream support period, Microsoft continues to add new features and functionality to its products, in addition to any security updates, bug fixes and performance modifications that might be required. The Windows 10 mainstream support phase ceased in October 2020.

Phase 2 – Extended Support

The extended support phase is delivered in the ensuing 5-year period following the withdrawal of extended support. This support period consists almost exclusively of fixes and updates essential to delivering a reliable, secure and high-performing user experience, and rarely includes new features and functionality.

It is this support phase that will end in October 2025. From that moment onwards, there will be no-one tasked with developing security patches for Windows 10, and as a result, any vulnerabilities will be left fully exposed for hackers to exploit. In a similar vein, performance defects and bugs will go unremedied, which could leave users grappling with slow, unstable operating systems that impact business productivity.

For now though, Windows 10 remains supported, with updates available until the end-of-life deadline. You should ensure however, that your business is currently operating version 22H2 to guarantee ongoing compatibility with the updates being released.

If you’re a current Windows 10 customer, you should start thinking about your options now, and make preparations long in advance of the Windows 10 end-of-life deadline. A compelling option for many organizations is simply to make the transition to Windows 11. But should you do this now, or wait until further down the line? Here’s what we think…

Should I Convert My Business to Windows 11?

There’s No Time Like the Present

By getting started sooner rather than later, you give your business plenty of time to overcome minor obstacles that might crop up during the migration to Windows 11. You also preclude the real possibility of running an insecure and outdated operating system, which could jeopardize the security of your data and impact the productivity of your operation.

Avoid Compatibility Pitfalls

As Windows 11 adoption gathers pace, software developers will start to focus more heavily on compatibility with the new OS, and may even withdraw support for Windows 10 altogether. This could leave your business frozen out of access to some of the best enterprise software.

Prevent System Performance Penalties

It’s no secret that Microsoft is keen to see its users shift across to Windows 11, and with newer products vying for the time of its developers, it’s unlikely that the bosses at Microsoft view Windows 10 as a priority anymore. While security and performance updates will continue until 2025, performance may start to deteriorate in the coming years as the company shifts its focus elsewhere.

Avoid Missing Out on Exciting new Features

By delaying your migration to Windows 11, you run the risk of passing over innovative features and capabilities that your competitors have access to. Remember, there’s nothing new coming to Windows 10 now, with Windows 11 receiving the lion’s share of Microsoft’s innovation efforts. By migrating to Windows 11 now, you stand to benefit from new and exciting features that will boost your business efficiency and foster more effective collaboration.

Running an Unsupported OS is a Risk You Cannot Take

Beyond 25th October 2025, it’s open season for cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows 10 environments due to the fact that known vulnerabilities will go unresolved. This will quickly result in an unendurable level of risk for Windows 10 users, with hackers able to inject malware through weaknesses in the operating system’s armour.

Windows 10 Could Cause Compliance Issues

Data protection and security regulations such as the EU’s GDPR, demand that organization’s take risk-proportionate measures to defend personal information against unauthorized access, malicious infiltration, corruption, loss or unsanctioned editing. By running an unsupported operating system, you subject the data in your possession to a level of risk that is likely to be deemed unacceptable by regulators. Continuing to run Windows 10 after the support deadline could therefore result in your business becoming non-compliant.

What’s the End-of-Life Date for Windows 11?

Assuming Windows 11’s support will be consistent with Microsoft’s product support lifecycle, we can assume that extended support for the system will be withdrawn around late 2031. But at the moment, no definitive support withdrawal date has been disclosed.

Windows 11 remains in its mainstream support phase, which provides users with yearly feature updates that promise to introduce some exciting developments in the years ahead.

Will Migrating to Windows 11 Come with Costs?

Windows 11 is offered as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, but you may incur costs if your current devices and hardware fail to meet the new, more stringent minimum hardware requirements.

It has been surmised that the more demanding technical requirements of Windows 11 have been an obstacle to adoption for many users. It’s therefore worth taking the time to review the specs of your hardware to ensure your technology meets the required standard, otherwise you may run into features that fail to work as expected, and even the possibility of compatibility complications further down the line.

Review the minimum technical requirements for Windows 11 by clicking here, alternatively contact AsiaCloud today, we can audit your hardware against the minimum requirements of Windows 11, and draw attention to devices and components that may require an upgrade.

In Conclusion

With Windows 10 support ending in less than 2 years, businesses still using the aging operating system should start exploring replacement options now to avoid the dangers and pitfalls that come with running an unsupported system. For many businesses the most logical and convenient choice is undertaking a free upgrade to Windows 11. From inventive new features that promise to enhance workplace productivity, to support that extends into the next decade, Windows 11 offers an operating system that’s truly fit for the modern world of work. If you’re interested in switching to Windows 11, get in touch with AsiaCloud today. We can help you transition to your new operating system long before the Windows 10 support deadline, ensuring you have a modern, fully-supported system that defends your data and the interests of your business.

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