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Microsoft Announces Extended Security Updates (ESU) For Windows 10

With support for Windows 10 ending on 14 October 2025, NZ businesses face significant security risks and operational challenges. Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates (ESU) programme offers a temporary lifeline by extending security support for three more years, impacting both business operations and the environment.

What Businesses Need to Know

Microsoft has announced the availability of Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 10, a crucial update for businesses worldwide. With support for Windows 10 set to end on 14 October 2025, this new offering provides an additional three years of security updates, available for purchase, extending through October 2028.

Impact of Windows 10 End of Life

Post 14 October 2025, devices running on Windows 10 will no longer receive security updates from Microsoft. This poses a significant risk of exposure to emerging security threats. To mitigate this risk, businesses must either transition to Windows 11 or opt for the Extended Security Updates (ESU) to maintain security compliance.

"The Extended Security Update (ESU) programme is an option for businesses to continue receiving support for Windows 10 past the mainstream end of support date. Our recommendation, however, is that this programme is only used as a last resort. Businesses should take advantage of the free upgrade path from Windows 10 to Windows 11 where supported by their devices.

Given that Microsoft has issued and extended an Application Compatibility Promise to Windows 11, it is rare for line-of-business applications not to function on Windows 11. If there is any uncertainty, we recommend completing discovery and testing well in advance of the impending deadline, so that a course of action can be developed." Jason Short, Technical Lead, Think Concepts.

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Why Does This Matter for the Environment?

Approximately 40% of PCs in use can’t upgrade to Windows 11. When Microsoft stops providing security updates for Windows 10 in 2025, those computers will either be insecure or pushed into the waste stream. Abandoning Windows 10 and rendering 400 million computers useless could result in the biggest surge of junked computers ever.

Extended Security Updates are not intended to be a long-term solution but rather a temporary bridge. ESUs do not include new features, non-security fixes, or design change requests. The ESU programme does not extend technical support for Windows 10 beyond activation of the ESU licences, installation of ESU monthly updates, and addressing issues caused by an update itself.

You can purchase ESU licences for Windows 10 devices that you don't plan to upgrade to Windows 11 starting in October 2024, one year before the end of support date.

Note: The price will double every consecutive year, for a maximum of three years. If you decide to join the programme in Year Two, you'll have to pay for Year One too, as ESUs are cumulative. This is not the cost for consumers, with Microsoft promising that pricing for the average Windows 10 user “will be shared at a later date.” However, we are likely to see the same pricing structure, with costs doubling each year to encourage users to switch to Windows 11.

Extended Security Updates (ESU) Costs

The ESU programme allows businesses and consumers more time to transition to Windows 11 while continuing to receive critical security updates. The pricing structure for ESU is as follows:

- First year: $61 USD per device

- Second year: $122 USD per device

- Third year: $244 USD per device

Steps for Businesses to Take

1. Evaluate Hardware Compatibility: Assess your current systems to identify which devices are compatible with Windows 11.

2. Plan for Necessary Upgrades: For devices not meeting Windows 11 requirements, plan for hardware upgrades or consider the ESU as a temporary solution.

3. Strategic IT Planning: Develop a comprehensive upgrade plan that aligns with your operational needs and financial constraints.

Don't be caught short. It's essential that businesses and consumers make a plan to either upgrade their PCs or purchase an ESU before the end of support for Windows 10.

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