Skip to main content

The End of Windows 10 Support - What To Expect

04 June 2024
A man using a computer with Windows 10 operating system.

The end is near - Windows 10 is on its way out. Last year, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will stop receiving updates after October 14th 2025, meaning version 22H2 is the final operating system (OS) instalment. For many PC users, this won’t be an issue if they’ve already installed Windows 11. However, for those who are sticking with Windows 10, there may be a few questions about what happens next. 

In this article, we’ll answer those questions, helping you feel more prepared for the coming year. ReformIT is a Silver Microsoft Partner, so we’re equipped to deal with any Microsoft 365 issues you experience.

When Is Windows 10 Officially “Ending”?

Windows 10 will no longer receive updates after October 14th 2025, except for certain Long-Term Service Channels, known as LTSCs (licences designed for organisations that need a highly stable and long-lasting Windows environment with minimal changes). After this date, users can still operate Windows 10, but they will potentially be at risk of security breaches since new patches won’t be added to the operating system unless you pay for them (more on this later). This end-date announcement may be particularly significant for businesses that rely heavily on the services of Windows 10. Due to hardware requirements, not every PC will be capable of upgrading, and these businesses could be left potentially vulnerable after that date. However, all is not lost, and we’ll be addressing some of the ways to get around this. 

What Risks Are There If You Don’t Update?

For those who aren’t planning to update, or for those who can’t, it is useful to know some of the risks associated with running Windows 10 past the end date. Microsoft offers a solution to these risks, but they come with a price. 

The risks of using the free version of Windows 10 past the end date involve;

  • Security Vulnerabilities - Cyber criminals often target out-of-date software. With no new content updates provided for Windows 10, devices are at more risk of potential exploits, since patches for new threats and vulnerabilities won’t be accessible without paying. This could leave your PC susceptible to viruses, malware and other cyber threats. 
  • Performance Degradation - Over time, the lack of updates and support can lead to system instability, crashes, and decreased performance, affecting productivity and user experience. If you’re a business using Windows 10, you may find that routine tasks take a little longer than usual, affecting overall performance. 
  • Lack of Support - Microsoft will cease providing support for Windows 10, meaning you won't have access to official help for troubleshooting and resolving issues. As more users migrate to Windows 11, community and online resources for troubleshooting Windows 10 problems will become scarce, too. 
  • Software Compatibility - New software and updates for existing applications may not be compatible with Windows 10, limiting functionality and forcing you to use outdated versions of critical applications. This relates to the greater threat of security risks and may mean that usual applications become slower to use. 

Paying for the ESU Programme

Microsoft will be offering Extended Security Updates (ESU), where users can pay for security updates which will be available for up to three years. These updates will come in the form of three options -  an activation key for a base licence package, a special discount for businesses using a Microsoft cloud-based update management solution, or access through their current paid Windows 365 subscription. Microsoft has clearly stated that this ESU programme is not designed to be a long-term solution, but instead, more of a temporary bridge.

The ESU options available;

Activation Key

For the base licence package, known as a traditional “5-by-5” activation method, users can simply download the activation key and apply it to whatever devices they want to use Windows 10 on. This activation key will cost £48 for the first year but will double each year for up to 3 years, so this is potentially a costly route. 


For businesses who use a Microsoft cloud-based update management solution, such as Microsoft Intune or Windows Autopatch, a 25% discount is being offered from the £48 activation key price (taking this to £38) for up to five devices. This is designed to assist businesses who are looking to make the transition to Windows 11 but need more time, as opposed to being a long-term plan. 

Windows 365 Subscription

For those who already have a Windows 365 subscription, the good news is that you won’t be expected to pay extra to access the ESU services. Security updates will be activated without the need for additional steps, but Windows states that the licence is included at no additional cost with a one-year commitment.

What Should You Do Next?

For those who haven’t yet updated to Windows 11, there are several options as to what to do next. We appreciate not every option will apply to every business, so consider which are more realistic for your business’s needs. 

Upgrade to Windows 11

This is, perhaps, the most obvious choice to start with. Upgrading to Windows 11 is likely to be the best and easiest option for a large percentage of PC users. This ensures that your device is protected from online threats, using Microsoft’s latest security updates as and when they are released. 

Pay for ESU Services

Another option is to use one of the three ESU services (activation key, cloud-based or Windows 365 subscription). For those who are buying more time to transition to Windows 11, this could be the most viable option, especially through pre-existing Windows 365 subscriptions. However, as previously mentioned, the ESU services are not designed to be long-term solutions. 

Carry On With Windows 10 (Unprotected)

The third option - and one we certainly wouldn’t recommend - is to just carry on using Windows 10 as normal, without the protection that regular security updates provide you. We appreciate that paying for the ESU services is costly, and not every device can upgrade to Windows 11, but the potential risks involved with carrying on with an unprotected Windows 10 programme are hard to ignore. 

Purchase a New Windows PC, or Move to a Mac OS

This option might seem like a bit of an extreme “last resort”, but the latest Windows PCs will come with Windows 11 as standard, so for those who have outdated hardware this could be a genuinely viable choice for you, with long-term planning in mind. Alternatively, you could move to a Mac operating system instead, if the whole upgrading ordeal has changed your mind on Microsoft.

What Are the Key Benefits of Windows 11?

We’ve spoken a lot about Windows 10, but you may be left wondering “Why Windows 11?”. The new OS brings a range of benefits to the user;

  • Improved Performance - This OS has optimised coding and stronger resource management to make it the fastest Windows system to date, making your PC run smoother and quicker. 
  • Innovative User Interface (UI) - The Windows 11 UI has had a complete revamp, featuring a taskbar and start menu in the centre of the screen, new snap layouts (preconfigured ways to organise windows on your screen) and snap groups, and a generally more easy-on-the-eye design - functional elegance. 
  • Ideal for Hybrid Working - Windows 11 brings new features to the table for those who use hybrid working systems. The OS has seamlessly integrated Microsoft Teams, as well as offering new features for efficient multitasking and greater organisation. 
  • Integrated AI - A new feature for Windows 11, Microsoft has introduced the AI-powered intelligent assistant “Copilot”, which assists the user in generating information and ideas to fuel ingenuity. 

We’re Here to Support You With Any IT Queries

At ReformIT, we offer a range of IT-led services to help you overcome the technology troubles you may be facing. If you have further questions on how we can help you or you are interested in acquiring our services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Contact Us