Windows 10 to retire in four years (or 52 Patch Tuesdays, in sysadmin years)

Windows 10 to retire in four years (or 52 Patch Tuesdays, in sysadmin years)

Microsoft will terminate support for Windows 10 Home and Pro on 14 October 2025, a decade after the original Windows 10 was brought to market. Although some may claim that a Microsoft document has been “quietly edited” over the weekend to reflect this “sudden change”, this reveal isn’t new. In fact, based on a Wayback Machine screen capture of the same page, Windows Central has pointed out that this reveal has been on the Microsoft page since September 2020.

Nevertheless, this renewed interest on Windows 10 has come almost three weeks after the Microsoft Build 2021 event in late May, where Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella teased of something big in the works: a “next generation of Windows” (Hint: It won’t be called Windows 11). Furthermore, this end-of-life cycle reveal has happened at least a week before a new Windows digital event on 24 June 2021.

And soon we will share one of the most significant updates to Windows of the past decade to unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators. I’ve been selfhosting it over the past several months, and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows. Our promise to you is this: we will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetize applications. We look forward to sharing more very soon.

Transcription of Nadella’s keynote, reproduced from Windows Central, during the Build 2021 event

Microsoft hasn’t hinted on when this new OS will be revealed to the public, much less made available in the market, but Nadella admitted that he has been testing it for months. We don’t know what it will contain, but Windows is still the platform of choice for most businesses, and therefore the platform of choice for most malware—including the most dangerous forms, like ransomware—so we’d be surprised if it doesn’t include something designed to tackle that head on.

The company also expects the transition from the would-be-retired Windows 10 to the new desktop OS would take around four years. History suggests that’s optimistic. Windows XP reached the end of its life seven years ago.

This matters, because the end of life means an end of patches, and a progressively worsening security situation for any organisations that don’t migrate in time. The time to start planning is now.

And if there is anything we’ve learned about end-of-life cycles and support, it’s this: Scammers and fraudsters have made it a point to use news like this to lure potential victims into either downloading malware disguised as a legitimate file or to steal pertinent information and credentials. So, while we prepare for this transition, let’s not forget to also keep our eyes open. Stay informed, and stay safe!