Get ready to overhaul your desktop fleet – or love Linux: Microsoft has revealed it will stop supporting Windows 10 in October 2025 and that could leave many large organisations needing to do some shopping.
As Microsoft’s Jason Leznek put it this week, from that date “Microsoft will no longer provide bug fixes for issues, security fixes for vulnerabilities, time zone updates, or technical support for problems that might occur.”
(Statcounter data shows that 68.8% of desktop machines globally running Microsoft are on Windows 10, versus 18.1% for Windows 11…)
Many large organisations have made the switch to Windows 11 smoothly.
The OS’s hardware requirements do mean that any aging desktops may need a replacement however. Organisations like healthcare and manufacturing that often find themselves with machines running on older OSs that are hard to update will need to take appropriate security measures post-Microsoft 10 end-of-support if they are unable to make the shift.
Like its Windows 7 Extended Security Updates, Microsoft will offer an equivalent for Windows 10, with a yearly subscription to patches, renewable for three years, at a currently unknown cost.
Leznek added that another option is to shift Windows 10 users to Windows 365: “Subscriptions will include Extended Security Updates (ESUs) at no additional cost for Windows 10 devices that access Windows 365.”
(The “cloud desktop” offering can, of course, cost upwards of £70/user per month and it may make more sense for most to simply refresh laptops.)
A leftfield option, of course, for those for some reason fundamentally allergic to Windows 11, is to consider going open source. April 2023's release of Ubuntu 23.04 saw it add the ability to connect natively to Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory for centralised user authentication and identity management – a desktop Linux distribution industry first.
(Ubuntu support for Azure AD, the cloud version of Microsoft’s identity and access management suite, follows April 2021’s release of Ubuntu 21.04, which shipped with traditional non-cloudy Active Directory integration.)
The release of Ubuntu 23.04 April 20 also saw it ship with a new unified Ubuntu server and desktop installation engine, Subiquity, that “supports the same auto-install configuration workflows for both desktops and servers" and with 10-year support packages available under Ubuntu Pro, it's worth considering for those not averse to some wrenching.