Microsoft has announced it will cease support for Windows 10 next year, with updates and patches for the hugely popular operating system coming to an end on 14 October 2025.

Once it reaches End of Life, Windows 10 will no longer receive updates for bugs or security fixes, nor time zone updates or general technical support. The operating system will still work, of course, but using it – especially for business-critical purposes – won’t be advised as there could be security vulnerabilities.

The Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise and Education platforms will all be impacted, although those who paid for the Windows 10 LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) will continue to receive updates.

Windows 10 was a hugely popular release and remains in common use today. A Statista report from November last year found the desktop OS still had a market share of 68%. This means many users will be looking at what to do next to keep their systems secure and updated before October 2025.

Desktop users running the older OS can update to Windows 11 free of charge, though there are certain system requirements in place (including processors/CPUs of 1GHz or faster with two or more cores, at least 4GB of RAM and more than 64GB of storage) which means it may not work on some older devices.

Whilst Microsoft advises users to wait until they receive a notification that upgrades are ready, it can be done manually, simply select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.

Windows 11 uses a similar functionality to its predecessor so will be familiar and easy to pick up for anyone who upgrades. What’s more, it comes with some additional features not present in Windows 10.

Alternatively, users can migrate to a Microsoft alternative, with Linux, macOS and ChromeOS among the most popular, although there will be more of a learning curve for these different systems.

Until then, users are advised to keep their devices updated regularly; back up files frequently to avoid data loss; begin exploring options and alternatives; and evaluate the compatibility of their own systems to check they’re able to be upgraded.