In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced that it will offer consumers the option to pay for Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 10 even after the official end of support date in 2025. This decision marks a departure from the company’s usual practice of providing paid security updates primarily to organizations needing to maintain older versions of their operating systems.
Microsoft, in a recent blog post, stated that the ESU program for Windows 10 will now be available to individual consumers through an annual subscription service, extending security updates beyond the end of support date on October 14, 2025. The ESU subscription will include critical and/or important security updates, emphasizing that it will not encompass new features, non-security updates requested by customers, or design changes. Additionally, technical support beyond the ESU period will not be available.
Windows 10, launched just over a decade ago, will reach its end of support date on October 14, 2025. This announcement has surprised many in the tech community, as there was speculation that Microsoft might extend support for Windows 10, given its continued widespread usage and the considerable time gap (almost six years) between the releases of Windows 10 and Windows 11.
While Microsoft is encouraging users to transition to Windows 11, it acknowledges that certain circumstances may prevent the immediate replacement of Windows 10 devices. As a solution, Microsoft is introducing the ESU subscription program for consumers. However, the company has not yet disclosed specific pricing details for these extended security patches.
On a FAQ page, Microsoft stated, “If you are an individual consumer or an organization who elects to continue using Windows 10 after support ends on October 14, 2025, you will have the option of enrolling your PC in the paid Extended Security Updates (ESU) program.” More information, including pricing, is expected to be provided at a later date.
This move towards consumer-focused Extended Security Updates follows Microsoft’s recent announcement of revisiting its approach to Windows 10. In addition to the ESU program, Microsoft is introducing an AI-powered Copilot to Windows 10, enhancing the user experience with the integration of artificial intelligence. These updates reflect Microsoft’s commitment to addressing user needs and potential security concerns.
Windows 10 remains a widely used operating system, and the decision to offer extended security updates to individual consumers suggests Microsoft’s recognition of the diverse circumstances users may face in upgrading to newer versions. It remains to be seen how this decision will be received by the user community, and whether Microsoft will face challenges in maintaining security for an older OS.
Given the evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, there is also speculation about the possibility of Microsoft being compelled to offer free Windows 10 security updates beyond the official end of support date, akin to the unusual patch released for Windows XP in 2017, three years after extended support ended, to prevent a significant ransomware attack.
Microsoft’s decision to extend the ESU program to individual consumers underscores the company’s commitment to providing continued security for Windows 10 users. As the tech giant continues to make updates to its operating systems, the introduction of an AI-powered Copilot and ongoing support for Windows 10 highlight Microsoft’s dedication to meeting user needs in an ever-evolving digital landscape.