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Microsoft's Windows 10 support end could turn 240 mn PCs into e-waste

Microsoft's Windows 10 support end could turn 240 mn PCs into e-waste
Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows 10 could turn 240 million personal computers into e-waste, leaving those to end up in landfill, a new report has claimed.

Microsoft's Windows 11 will help support a struggling PC market as customers prepare for another refresh cycle -- but the termination of Windows 10 support could prevent hundreds of millions of devices from getting second lives, according to Canalys research.

Canalys estimates that in the nearly two-year period until Microsoft's official end-of-support date for Windows 10, which is October 14, 2025, roughly a fifth of devices will become e-waste due to incompatibility with the Windows 11 OS.

"This equates to 240 million PCs. If these were all folded laptops, stacked one on top of another, they would make a pile 600 km taller than the moon," said the report.

Most of these 240 million PCs, if in good condition, could at least be recycled, but their incompatibility with the latest supported version of Windows massively reduces their value for refurbishing and reselling.

"Many of the 240 million PCs will still be usable for years to come, but demand for devices no longer supported by Microsoft will be minimal -- even companies with the tightest of IT budgets will be deterred by the lack of free and continued security updates," the report mentioned.

In early December, Microsoft issued a statement announcing that Extended Security Updates for Windows 10 will be available until October 2028 -- albeit for a currently unspecified annual fee.

This approach is not new for Microsoft, which also offered paid Extended Security Updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 until January 2023.

"Though the provision of extended support can prolong the lifespans of Windows 11-ineligible PCs, the cost of these security updates will likely be a barrier for many users," according to the report.

The pricing plans for Windows 7's extended support began at $25 per PC for the first year of support, quadrupling to $100 annually in the third and final year of Extended Security Updates.

If Microsoft pursues a similar pricing structure for Windows 10's extended support, the more cost-effective option will be migration to newer, Windows 11-capable PCs -- forcing older PCs onto the scrapheap, the report noted.

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