Windows 10 is a security disaster waiting to happen. How will Microsoft clean up its mess?

oldschool

Level 66
Thread author
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Mar 29, 2018
5,589
In less than four years, Microsoft will draw the final curtain on Windows 10 after a 10-year run. That news shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. The end date is defined as part of Microsoft's Modern Lifecycle Policy, and it's documented on the Microsoft Lifecycle page: "Microsoft will continue to support at least one Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel until October 14, 2025."
When a Windows version reaches its end-of-support date, the software keeps working, but the update channel grinds to a halt:

[There] will be no new security updates, non-security updates, or assisted support. Customers are encouraged to migrate to the latest version of the product or service. Paid programs may be available for applicable products.
Ho-hum stuff, right? I mean, this sort of thing has happened before, and the world didn't come to an end. Windows XP got a multi-year support extension before it was allowed to die with dignity at the ripe old age of 13. Likewise, Windows 7 hit end-of-support at the start of 2020, mostly without incident. Microsoft's customers grumbled but found upgrade paths. Microsoft even offered free app remediation services for enterprise customers who encountered compatibility issues. But in both of those instances, Microsoft could implore its customers to fix the problem by upgrading to a newer version of the Windows operating system.

Read that part again: "Customers are encouraged to migrate to the latest version of the product or service." That's not an option for customers running Windows 10 on hardware that doesn't meet the stringent hardware compatibility requirements of Windows 11. When October 2025 rolls around, those devices will have no Microsoft-supported migration path to a newer version. The owners of those perfectly functional PCs, some less than five years old, will instead have the following options:

  1. Continue running the unsupported operating system and hope for the best
  2. Retire or dispose of the unsupported hardware
  3. Install a non-Microsoft operating system, such as Linux
  4. Ignore Microsoft's warnings and upgrade to Windows 11 anyway
Option 1 is unwise. Option 2 is unconscionable. Option 3 is unlikely.

That leaves only the fourth option, which comes with Microsoft's own supersized portion of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in the form of a support bulletin titled "Installing Windows 11 on devices that don't meet minimum system requirements."
That document packs a lot of FUD into just a few paragraphs:

Installing Windows 11 on a device that does not meet Windows 11 minimum system requirements is not recommended. If you choose to install Windows 11 on ineligible hardware, you should be comfortable assuming the risk of running into compatibility issues.
Your device might malfunction due to these compatibility or other issues. Devices that do not meet these system requirements will no longer be guaranteed to receive updates, including but not limited to security updates.
The following disclaimer applies if you install Windows 11 on a device that doesn't meet the minimum system requirements:
This PC doesn't meet the minimum system requirements for running Windows 11 - these requirements help ensure a more reliable and higher quality experience. Installing Windows 11 on this PC is not recommended and may result in compatibility issues. If you proceed with installing Windows 11, your PC will no longer be supported and won't be entitled to receive updates. Damages to your PC due to lack of compatibility aren't covered under the manufacturer warranty.
[emphasis in original]
When Windows 7 reached its end-of-support date in 2020, I calculated that about 200 million PCs were still running that operating system. When Windows 10 hits its end-of-support milestone in 2025, the number of newly unsupported devices is likely to be even larger.

Business customers might be able to pay for extended security updates for Windows 10, although that will be a bitter (and expensive) pill to swallow. But small businesses and consumers won't have that choice. What are the owners of those PCs supposed to do? Microsoft's bean counters would, of course, like them all to throw those old devices into the nearest landfill and replace them with shiny new hardware, but that's not going to happen. Instead, most of those customers are likely to do absolutely nothing and carry on with their unsupported operating system, endangering the entire PC ecosystem in the process. This mess is Microsoft's responsibility, and doing nothing to clean it up isn't an acceptable option.

There is an alternative, though: Microsoft could extend the support deadline for Windows 10 on hardware that isn't compatible with Windows 11. The company did the same thing, under similar circumstances, in the Windows XP era, and it's a perfectly appropriate solution here. The good news is that Microsoft's spinmeisters have three years to come up with a press release that makes it sound like they planned this all along.
 

Local Host

Level 25
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Sep 26, 2017
1,428
-Put your hardware in danger of being unusable in 2025. If you want to use windows, there is only one workaround. It's about investing more in new hardware.-💻

It's like a "ransom os" given a few years of grace.
Microsoft is not enforcing system requirements, same as always, they only won't take responsability for people using outdated hardware as they should.

Windows hasn't changed Hardware Requirements since Windows Vista, so I have no complains either way.

They are more guidelines for OEMs than anything else.
 

The_King

Level 12
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Aug 2, 2020
560
Moving to Linux distros would be a good alternative, if you are not a gamer or a YouTube content creator.
What is the issue with Youtube content creators? Programs Like OBS even Davinci Resolve work in Linux.
I dont know of any issues That would prevent one from editing or making Youtube content on Linux.

Also Pop!_OS Supports some Steam games rather well.
 
Last edited:

JoyousBudweiser

Level 14
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Aug 22, 2013
672
What is the issue with Youtube content creators? Programs Like OBS even Davinci Resolve work in Linux.
I dont know of any issues That would prevent one from editing or making Youtube content on Linux.

Also Pop!_OS Supports some Steam games rather well.
No issues as such, but if you are a gamer there is no point in sticking to 7 or 8 year old pc in 2025 and for video content creators a MacBook air or pro would be more appropriate and would save a lot of time and effort.
 

wat0114

Level 6
Verified
Well-known
Apr 5, 2021
264
I've installed and updated Windows 11 earlier this morning on my Lenovo E580 laptop, with only an incompatible CPU, and so far so good. I ran Disk Cleaner then created an image backup.

Windows 11.png
 

RoboMan

Level 34
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Well-known
Jun 24, 2016
2,337
I know we all mostly disagree, but let's be honest. 90% of us, in 4 years from now, will probably have new hardware or PC's, even if Windows 11 didn't have hardware requirements.
 

RoboMan

Level 34
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Well-known
Jun 24, 2016
2,337
I think for the participants at MT the exact opposite is true. 4 years from now, 90% will still be, and have no intention of switching, from their 7+ year old hardware. In the enterprise space, 20 years from now the vast majority of hardware will still be in use.

Microsoft has always worked on 4 to 5 year hardware certification windows. It's not a new practice. But all it takes is some online click-bait articles bemoaning how much Microsoft is screwing everybody over to get lots of people riled up at places like this.
Not necessarily new hardware means switching. 4GB RAM was standard years ago, still many have today 4GB, and we can all agree it's not enough for most tasks. Take another 4 years from now, 4GB will be basically useless. People tend to update and move from old hardware because it gets outdated not only by operating systems, but because the newer technology implemented on apps require it. For example, back to the RAM, in Windows 7 we could live happily with 4GB of RAM, browsers wouldn't consume much. But after more and more updates, newer technologies for browsing and reading sites, the demand for better hardware increased, and try to use 4GB of RAM today and browse heavily, you'll probably end up frustrated after Chrome or Firefox eating it all up.

So, many people will not have touched their hardware from now till 4 years onwards? Maybe, all those who got new hardware reciently (new PC's, added RAM, change of GPU). Now if you tell me all those with a 2014 processor and RAM or GPU have not touched once their hardware, and won't do it for another 4 years, I'd not think it's possible.
 

show-Zi

Level 33
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Jan 28, 2018
2,274
Users who take good care of their old PCs for more than 10 years probably understand that they are not covered by their own responsibility or support.
I think the reason for the uproar this time was Microsoft's attitude, like the intimidating boss's instructions.

What I'm most interested in is the opinion of a small company using multiple Windows. Individuals can do whatever they want, but for those companies that use non-lease PCs, this seems like an annoying problem.
 

Vitali Ortzi

Level 22
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Dec 12, 2016
1,113
Not necessarily new hardware means switching. 4GB RAM was standard years ago, still many have today 4GB, and we can all agree it's not enough for most tasks. Take another 4 years from now, 4GB will be basically useless. People tend to update and move from old hardware because it gets outdated not only by operating systems, but because the newer technology implemented on apps require it. For example, back to the RAM, in Windows 7 we could live happily with 4GB of RAM, browsers wouldn't consume much. But after more and more updates, newer technologies for browsing and reading sites, the demand for better hardware increased, and try to use 4GB of RAM today and browse heavily, you'll probably end up frustrated after Chrome or Firefox eating it all up.

So, many people will not have touched their hardware from now till 4 years onwards? Maybe, all those who got new hardware reciently (new PC's, added RAM, change of GPU). Now if you tell me all those with a 2014 processor and RAM or GPU have not touched once their hardware, and won't do it for another 4 years, I'd not think it's possible.
Install antix Linux it takes me less then 2 gb of ram opening a paint alternative libre office
a game and chrome with 20 tabs including one hd video
 

Vitali Ortzi

Level 22
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Dec 12, 2016
1,113
No issues as such, but if you are a gamer there is no point in sticking to 7 or 8 year old pc in 2025 and for video content creators a MacBook air or pro would be more appropriate and would save a lot of time and effort.
There are a lot of fun older titles
And nowadays you are in the margin of about 10 percentage of performance loss only
Running Windows games
Over native windows
 

Vitali Ortzi

Level 22
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Dec 12, 2016
1,113
While they will still use mostly the browser or work on office on the new system
I can't understand why people don't try to repurpose a computer then can run the software that most consumers will use anyway
you can make a decision environment look exactly like Mac os or windows if you wanted so people can literally not difference between a Windows or a Linux with that ui

you need to understand that an OS is the back bone not the UI
anyway a lot of stuff new in Windows 11 was for years in kde or other modern desktop environments

BTW
KDE is the most beautiful de in Linux
Fce / lxde for performance

and non DE (window managers )are for very low end hardware where DE may have a performance bottleneck
 

SpiderWeb

Level 9
Verified
Well-known
Aug 21, 2020
404
I don't see the issue. Microsoft will support computers for so long even the drivers are no longer supported. I think if your drivers don't get updates anymore, it's definitely time to upgrade.
 

Moonhorse

Level 32
Verified
Top poster
Content Creator
Well-known
May 29, 2018
2,151
Moving to Linux distros would be a good alternative, if you are not a gamer or a YouTube content creator.
You can install POP_OS! linux distro wich comes with nvidia drivers installed if you want so

I ran it one day, playing runescape & war thunder, with as good performance than on my windows 10 desktop. steam works decent aswell. Of course its not for high end gaming

windows just functions much better, so i dont see myself with linux again...i rather use windows 10 for 4 years as it works well without upgrading, and in 4 years we will see much happening on hardware market

Business computers will have longer lifetime for 10 anyway so it should not be problem at all
 

Marana

Level 1
Jan 21, 2018
37
Luckily also Windows 10 LTSC home users have time till January 2029. :)(y)

...and probably even somewhat longer in real life - I mean, before one has to start worrying about security. I hope that within the next ten years or so Linux will mature enough to make a smooth transition from Windows possible...
 

Vitali Ortzi

Level 22
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Dec 12, 2016
1,113
Luckily also Windows 10 LTSC home users have time till January 2029. :)(y)

...and probably even somewhat longer in real life - I mean, before one has to start worrying about security. I hope that within the next ten years or so Linux will mature enough to make a smooth transition from Windows possible...
Ltsc isn't for home users I bet you pirated it
 

Vitali Ortzi

Level 22
Verified
Top poster
Well-known
Dec 12, 2016
1,113
You can install POP_OS! linux distro wich comes with nvidia drivers installed if you want so

I ran it one day, playing runescape & war thunder, with as good performance than on my windows 10 desktop. steam works decent aswell. Of course its not for high end gaming

windows just functions much better, so i dont see myself with linux again...i rather use windows 10 for 4 years as it works well without upgrading, and in 4 years we will see much happening on hardware market

Business computers will have longer lifetime for 10 anyway so it should not be problem at all

Not exactly functions better
Just look at the amount of Linux computers and I think that the most powerful computers Microsoft owns run Linux as well
 

Marana

Level 1
Jan 21, 2018
37
Ltsc isn't for home users I bet you pirated it
I hereby accept your bet. An imperial pint of beer, wasn't it...? :cool:

I have downloaded the installation media and license key from Microsoft VLSC, so it's an organizational license, albeit this one installation in a home computer.

There are however completely legal aftermarkets for LTSC licenses, too, and the prices are not unreasonably high in my opinion (one example here). I have been running LTSC since 2017 (first 1607 and nowadays 1809) and have been very happy with it. The stability is decent, regular security updates and no problems with forced semiannual feature updates. Everything just works!