Is Windows 10 too popular for its own good?

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    In a recent public document, Microsoft said there are about 1.4 billion Windows PCs worldwide. Of those, he says, three-quarters are still running Windows 10, which translates to about a billion PCs, all of which will reach the end of his life operating system within two years. is running.

    SOPA Images/Getty Images

    Windows 10 is about to expire.

    In just over two years, Microsoft’s most successful operating system release in history will reach its end-of-life Monty Python’s Norwegian Blue, will push up the daisies. It will be limping from mortal coils, running down curtains, and joining an unseen choir!

    again: When will Microsoft end support for your version of Windows or Office?

    How is that possible? It seems like just yesterday, but in fact Windows 10 officially opened to the public eight years ago this month, July 2015. After the ill-fated Windows 8, Windows 10 was an unqualified success among consumer and enterprise customers. similar.

    That’s good news, right? Well, not exactly.

    Microsoft faces major challenges in the next two years. It’s about convincing its huge installed base to leave the beloved Windows 10 behind and move to its successor operating system, Windows 11.

    As the end date approaches, I’m sure many of you are wondering. So I did some digging.

    Like all modern versions of Windows, Windows 10 adheres to a 10-year support lifecycle. This means that most editions of Windows 10 (Home, Pro, Pro Workstation, Enterprise, Education) will reach their end of support date on October 14, 2025 (for more details on how that date is calculated, see See when). Will Microsoft end support for your version of Windows or Office?”)

    So what will happen when that day comes? none. Honestly, nothing happens that day. PCs running Windows 10 will continue to work as they always have and will do so indefinitely. However, after that date, these PCs will no longer receive security updates. These PCs are even more vulnerable to online attacks as any security flaws found after that date will not be patched.

    again: Is Microsoft cracking down on Windows 11 updates for unsupported hardware?

    There is at least one exception to this deadline, applicable to PCs running Windows 10 Enterprise Long Term Servicing edition. Microsoft has released a total of four of these editions. The 2015 Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) will reach end of support on October 14, 2025 along with the aforementioned editions. The 2016 LTSB release will reach end of support one year later on October 13, 2026. Starting in 2019, the name was changed to Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC). Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 end date is January 9, 2029. Confusingly, the support lifecycle for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021 is only 5 years. That means support ends on January 12, 2027.

    If someone says they know the answer to this question, can I stop asking?

    Microsoft can probably make a solid guess based on telemetry, but the rest of us are forced to guess based on piecemeal third-party metrics.

    again: How to record screen on Windows 10 or Windows 11

    One of my go-to sources over the years is the US government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP). DAP includes Post Office, National Weather Service, IRS and NASA.

    When I visited DAP last week, I was able to download the last 90 days of data without issue. This summarizes his over 1.6 billion visits to these his websites by people using his Windows-based PCs around the world. Here’s what the data told me:


    Can you see what this table is missing?


    Did you notice anything missing in that table? Yes, Windows 11 isn’t mentioned, but Microsoft’s OEM partners have built hundreds of millions of PCs with Microsoft’s latest operating system over the past two years. This seems a little strange, considering that they also sold the units. problem? Windows reports itself to analysis programs using the same identification string as Windows 10. So, as far as most web analytics measurements are concerned, Windows 10 and Windows 11 are the same operating system.

    For those who run the official website of the US government, this question is mostly academic. It’s probably enough to know that a good percentage of your visitors are using Windows PCs, and only a small percentage of them are using older versions.

    again: With Windows 10, a security catastrophe awaits. How will Microsoft clean up that mess?

    But for people concerned about the security of the internet as a whole, the idea that so many devices will soon be running unsupported and increasingly insecure operating systems is… well, yeah. let’s call Become anxious.

    StatCounter, another widely used measure of web traffic, claims to be able to classify traffic from PCs running Windows 10 and Windows 11 well. Here is that graph. Web traffic from Windows PCs within the network in the past year


    Statistics counter/ZDNET

    The purple line at the top of the graph is Windows 10, and the blue line far below is Windows 11. Now, I have a problem with StatCounter metrics, a subject I’ve unashamedly debated over the years. But I think the rough content of this data is probably accurate. The current installed base of Windows PCs consists of almost three times as many PCs running Windows 10 as their successors.

    In a recent public document, Microsoft said there are about 1.4 billion Windows PCs worldwide. Of those, he says, three-quarters are still running Windows 10, which translates to about a billion PCs, all of which will reach the end of his life operating system within two years. is running.

    That’s the real question, isn’t it?

    After two years of booming growth due to the pandemic, the PC market is finally starting to slow down, but we believe over 200 million new Windows PCs will be sold each year for the foreseeable future. The most optimistic scenario is that all of these new PCs will be replaced by Windows 10 devices, then retired, and another 100 million or so will be replaced by Chromebooks, iPads and Macs. Maybe some old PCs are just pastured and left irreplaceable. Because consumers have decided to use mobile phones and tablets instead.

    again: Best Computers: Comparing Laptops, Macs, PCs and More

    In this best-case scenario, hundreds of millions of users will still be running Windows 10 as the October 2025 end of support date approaches. Who owns those PCs?

    • who cannot upgrade. Some people have older hardware that doesn’t meet Windows 11’s minimum hardware compatibility standards. This basically means PCs designed before 2018. Note that this category contains many low-cost PCs sold new in 2019 and 2020, with older designs and unsupported CPUs.

    • Corporate PC with Windows 10 installed as standard. A good number of enterprise IT administrators have just migrated to Windows 10 in the last year or two and probably don’t want to migrate again.

    • Big fan of Windows 10. After spending time reading the support forums, I’ve learned that there are many long-time Windows users who are unhappy with the changes in Windows 11. Some of them upgrade reluctantly, others don’t.

    It’s certainly possible, and the experience of Windows XP reaching end of support in April 2014, more than 12 years after its initial release, is a precedent. Windows XP users received critical security updates well after the official end date to address the 2017 WannaCry vulnerability and a similar flaw in 2019.

    Similarly, Windows 7 holders were given the option to pay for extended security updates for a full three years after the official end of support in January 2020.

    Of course, in both cases, customers running soon-to-be-retired versions of Windows had the option to upgrade to newer versions.In fact, this is Microsoft’s recommendation Official product end of life page:

    again: Best Windows Laptop Models: Compare Dell, Samsung, Lenovo & More

    Once a product reaches end of support or end of service, no new security updates, non-security updates, or assistive support will be provided. We encourage our customers to migrate to the latest version of the product or service.

    However, for Windows 10, that alternative may not be available. Devices that don’t meet the hardware compatibility requirements don’t have a migration path to newer Microsoft-supported versions. As I pointed out the last time I reviewed this issue, the owner of a fully functional PC (some of which is 5-6 years old to him) has the following alternatives:

    • Install a non-Microsoft operating system. Perhaps 2026 will be the year desktop Linux finally takes hold, but it’s unlikely. ChromeOS Flex could be another option, but it has its own features Hardware compatibility requirements So it may not be suitable for older hardware.

    • Ignore Microsoft’s warnings and upgrade to Windows 11 anyway. There is also the option to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, but that requires considerable technical experience. People who cling to their old PCs because they can’t afford a new one may not have such specialized skills. And I doubt many companies would be willing to risk the support issues that come with that approach.

    • Keep Windows 10 running and hope for the best. History tells us that this is the most likely option.

    Microsoft and its OEM partners want owners of these devices to dump them in landfills and buy new PCs running Windows 11. But my experience with PC owners, especially seniors with a fixed income, is that they will stick with these devices for the next period. they quit their jobs. These PCs will make use of cyberattacks like WannaCry, which wreaked havoc on many Windows 7 PCs still in use three years after end of life.

    again: From Microsoft to Windows 10 users: No more feature updates

    The incident has been a PR nightmare for Microsoft, and a repeat would be even more devastating to the company’s reputation. That’s why I suspect Microsoft will extend Windows 10 support for at least a year or two, especially for enterprise customers.

    Considering the basic similarities between Windows 10 and Windows 11, the technical burden is probably not too great, and the cost of doing nothing is simply too high.


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