Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has established a regular 18-month period of support for each major version of its operating system. That gives people plenty of time to upgrade, especially considering Windows often installs the latest version automatically.
However, on 26 August 2020, it announced that some of these periods would be extended due to the coronavirus pandemic. This was primarily targeted towards business customers, who rely on Windows 10 for effective remote working.
Despite this, many older versions of Windows 10 are now reaching end of support:
- Version 1903 (May 2019 update) – will no longer be updated after 8 December across all editions
- Version 1809 (November 2018 update) – will no longer be updated after 10 November for Home and Pro customers. Enterprise and Education editions will continue to receive updates until 11 May 2021
- Version 1709 (October 2018 update) – has not been supported since 9 April 2019 for Home and Pro versions. Support for Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 10 ended on 13 October 2020
Microsoft publishes full information regarding end of support for all Windows 10 versions on its website. Version 2004, also known as the May 2020 update, is set to be supported across all editions until 14 December 2021.
Why should I update?
On the face of it, nothing will change if you continue using a version of Windows 10 that is no longer supported. Almost all the apps and features will continue working, and things may look normal for quite a while.
However, should any bugs arise, they will not be patched by Microsoft. This makes your device extremely vulnerable to viruses and malware, which means it’s only a matter of time before your device is compromised to some extent.
While the files on your PC are at risk of being tampered with or lost, this becomes an even more serious problem if you plan on connecting to the internet. Any online activity is likely to be exposed, putting your data and personal information at risk.
Assuming your PC is compatible (which will be the case for the vast majority of devices), just head to Settings > Update & Security to upgrade your software. You may need to install some smaller updates first, so leave it for a few hours or set to install overnight.
Microsoft is phasing out these older versions of Windows 10 as it prepares for the October feature update. Read all about it here.
A version of this article was originally published in German on our sister site, PC-Welt.