Microsoft Is Winding Down Windows 10: Is It Time to Upgrade?
Right now, Windows users are living in a time of transition. For the time being, both Windows 10 and Windows 11 are available, and Microsoft is still supporting the older version even as it invests in the newer one.
However, Windows 10’s days are numbered, and Microsoft recently made a significant announcement: the tech giant will not be releasing any more major or feature updates for Windows 10.
This is big news, but it isn’t reason to panic.
In this week’s post, we’ll tell you:
What this announcement means
What it doesn’t mean in terms of device security
What the right move for your organization looks like
Let’s dive into what exactly “no more feature updates” means.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 Announcement Explained
Microsoft’s recent announcement means that 2H22 (the major update that came out in the second half of 2022) would be the last major release for the Windows 10 operating system.
What that means for you and your team is this: assuming you’re using that most recent update, if Windows 10 can’t do it now, it’s never going to be able to do it.
On the operating system level, don’t expect any new features, period.
Now, software makers are still innovating away, and various companies might still push out new features within their software. But at the operating system level, innovation is dead. (Rather, it’s being rerouted into Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 11.)
Why OS End of Life Matters for Security
At first this announcement sounds a little bit scarier than it really is. The end of life for an operating system is a very big deal because it means the manufacturer is no longer issuing security updates. Any flaws or vulnerabilities that are discovered after this point remain open and unpatched, ready to be exploited by any bad guys who go looking for systems still running the old OS.
That said, this wasn’t an end-of-life announcement. Microsoft has already told us when Windows 10 will reach end of life — and you’ve still got some time to prepare.
No Need to Worry About Security — Yet
Windows 10 may be approaching end of life, but it isn’t there yet. Microsoft plans to continue releasing security updates for the aging operating system for several more years — until October 14, 2025.
So while you won’t be getting any new features or functionality, your systems will still be protected for more than two years from when this post goes live.
The Right Time to Upgrade to Windows 11
So when is the right time to upgrade to Windows 11?
It depends. If you haven’t upgraded yet, check on two things before you do.
This new operating system did add some new security layers that will physically prevent some, mostly older, hardware from making the jump. So before you dive headlong into the upgrade, you should inventory your hardware to make sure everything is compatible (UEFI and secure boot capable).
If you’re not sure what that means or how to check, we can help.
If your business is running relatively modern PCs (say, anything purchased within the last two years), you are most likely safe to upgrade to Windows 11. Older hardware that’s still running well is also most likely safe.
Device and Peripheral Compatibility
Now that Windows 11 has been out a while and Microsoft has released its first two service packs, the OS is generally stable and most major hardware and equipment manufacturers (think printers and scanners) have had time to update their drivers.
That means most office-oriented businesses will be fine.
But if your business relies on niche hardware or equipment, you’ll want to make sure upgrading to Windows 11 isn’t going to create compatibility or functionality problems with those less common or industry-specific tools.
Got additional questions about the end of Windows 10 and the transition to Windows 11? We’re happy to help. Reach out to our team and we’ll guide you to the right choice for your business.