How long Windows 10 will last before you need to replace it: 3 facts to know
Windows 10 has been around for five years, but it's only now that Microsoft's support for Windows 7 is dead and gone that the question arises: How long will Windows 10 last before Microsoft replaces it with Windows 11 or whatever comes next?
Luckily, we know the answer. Microsoft has a long-established Fixed Lifestyle Policy for many of its products, which begins when a product is released and ends when it's no longer supported. Knowing these dates can help you decide when you want to update, upgrade to a new device, or make other changes to your software or machine.
Windows support lasts 10 years, but...
For each version of its OS, Microsoft offers a minimum of 10 years of support (at least five years of Mainstream Support, followed by five years of Extended Support). Both types include security and program updates, self-help online topics and extra help you can pay for.
Windows 10 was released in July 2015, and extended support is slated to end in 2025. Major feature updates are released twice a year, typically in March and in September, and Microsoft recommends installing each update as it is available.
The latest Windows 10 version to come out was the November 2019 update, which added some new productivity features, like the ability to create events directly from the Calendar flyout on the Taskbar, without having to open the Calendar app.
Here's how Microsoft breaks down its updates:
* Windows 10, version 1703 for Enterprise, Education, and IOT Enterprise editions were released on April 11, 2017.** Serviced for 30 months from release date per policy updated in September 2018.
Should I upgrade to Windows 10 now, or wait?
Some people have hesitated to make the Windows 10 upgrade, as several bugs were reported in earlier versions. But Microsoft has slowed down its update schedule, giving the company more time to test, pause updates, and disclose problems.
Your experience updating to Windows 10 should be fairly smooth at this point, and will let you take advantage of Microsoft support. This is particularly important for the security of your device -- without Microsoft's security upgrades and patches, your computer is at greater risk of malware taking hold through a loophole.
We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 as soon as possible. However, if you're still running Windows 7 and don't want to upgrade, these 7 Windows 7 security tips will help protect your laptop until you make the switch.
To start your upgrade, you could buy and download Windows 10 through Microsoft's website for $139. But you can try this free method, too. While Microsoft technically ended its free Windows 10 upgrade program in July 2016, CNET has confirmed as of January that the free update is still available for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to upgrade to Windows 10 free. Once you've upgraded, you can also check out 11 easy Windows 10 tricks you didn't know about.
When will Windows 8.1 support end?
If you're a Windows 8.1 user, extended support for that OS will end in January 2023.
For more Windows 10 help, we show you how to customize 13 Windows 10 settings to your liking, and six simple security changes that all Windows 10 users need to make.