Microsoft has named the day on which it will end paid downloads of Windows 10 Home and Pro from its website: January 31, 2023.
Microsoft launched Windows 11 in October 2021, and for months offered free upgrades to that OS for users whose PCs pack enough punch to run it. For those who prefer to retain Windows 10 - either out of nostalgia or due to PCs lacking the oomph to upgrade - Microsoft has pledged security updates will continue until October 14, 2025.
The software giant hasn't offered a reason for ceasing paid downloads for the OS, but as it launched in July 2015 and Redmond likes to keep its customers on an upgrade treadmill, this is almost certainly Nadella's minions shunting users towards Windows 11 on grounds that it's better for users (and for Microsoft).
The end of paid downloads appears only to impact buyers who shop on Microsoft's website: the documentation for enterprise Windows 10 licenses does not include warnings of download deadlines. We've asked for clarification and will update this story if any is forthcoming.
We've also checked other Windows 10 download pages, and they make no mention of going offline as of January 31.
For what it's worth, a very short time using a search engine will produce options to purchase the OS on physical media. Another thing to note: when your correspondent built a PC last year I was able to acquire a Windows 10 license for much, much, less than the $139 and $199 its maker charges for the Home and Pro cuts of the OS.
Microsoft will also likely keep Windows 10 alive beyond October 2025 for enterprise customers. It ended Windows 7 updates in January 2020, but kept them coming for Windows 7 VMs until January 10, 2023.
The software leviathan has also offered extended support for its server products if you run them in its Azure cloud.
The end of paid downloads is, however, a bit of a moment. According to StatCounter, Windows 10 dominates the desktop OS market: Windows owns 75 percent of the desktop, and Windows 10 is present on 68 percent of PCs that StatCounter sees when it goes looking for the OS used on 1.5 million websites. ®
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