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The writing is on the wall for Windows 10; are you ready?

Windows 10 End-Of-Life
October 15th, 2025 – Save the Date.

Remember the warnings of impending doom when Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7? Well, standby for a healthy dose of déjà vu, as we’re now in the ‘sunset’ period for support of Windows 10.

The final Windows 10 version (22H2) was released on October 18th, 2022, and Microsoft will continue to issue security updates and patches until October 15th, 2025. That means that we’re already almost halfway through its projected lifespan.

In practical terms, what impact will this have on UK business owners?

Windows 11 was initially released in October 2021, and Microsoft has heavily encouraged Windows 10 users to upgrade (free of charge) to Windows 11, providing their hardware complies with the Windows 11 technical requirements.

This is where things get slightly interesting. Microsoft has so designed it that, officially, Windows 11 can only be installed on PCs with a main processor manufactured after October 2017. (Please note that this is a simplistic explanation and not definitive.)

 

It’s a bit like the 2021 change in the UK’s standard unleaded petrol from E5 to E10. Vehicles produced after 2011 could all use E10 without issues, whereas owners of older vehicles were warned that these may be incompatible.

For business owners, this means that any PCs that are incompatible with Windows 11 are likely be at least 8 years old when Windows 10 support finally ends in October 2025. At this point, these PCs would be getting a bit old in the tooth anyway and be due for replacement.

 

So, what happens to PCs that are still running W10 when support ends? Well, not much actually, at least initially.

The computer will continue to work as before, and all programs will run as previously. But without regular security updates, systems will become more vulnerable to malicious software attacks, and business applications will be unable to upgrade to their latest versions.

Given the current economic climate, being ‘forced’ to upgrade equipment might be a challenge for some business owners. However, by planning ahead and budgeting for upgrades, they should be able to minimise the impact.

Remember, replacing hardware doesn’t automatically mean brand-new products; refurbished equipment offers an excellent alternative. For more information, you can refer to our earlier blog post, where we explored the refurbishing process and the pros and cons of purchasing refurbished equipment for your business.

 

In some situations, for a multitude of reasons, businesses may be unable to meet this deadline; for these situations, Microsoft has advised that they will provide an ESU (Extended Security Updates) program, similar to that offered for Windows 7, where customers can pay to receive critical security updates for a further three years.

Although the exact pricing and terms will only be confirmed closer to the October 2025 deadline, early indications are that it will be a per-device licence with a base cost of ca. £50 (USD $61) for Year 1, and subject to sharply increasing costs for Year 2 and 3

Per W10 Device – Year 1 (Oct 25 – Oct 26) : £ 50.00

Year 2 (Oct 26 – Oct 27) : £100.00

Year 3 (Oct 27 – Oct 28) : £200.00

Total 3-year ESU Cost : £350.00 per device

Overall, unless absolutely unavoidable, it will be more cost-effective for businesses to plan ahead now and replace hardware.

 

Additionally, in the UK at least, various taxation relief schemes can be applied to capital equipment investment and upgrading. This means that the overall impact on your business finances may be softened considerably. Perhaps this is worth discussing with your accountant or tax advisor.

We hope you found this useful. If you’d like to understand more about Windows 11 compatibility or explore how you can best plan and budget for making this change, then please get in touch for a 15 minute, no-obligation conversation with our team today.

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