The end of life for Windows 10 – and much more besides
With the launch of Windows 11 in 2021, it is no surprise that the “end of life” is fast approaching for Windows 10. Microsoft has indicated that it will no longer support Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions after 14th October 2025, and is proactively encouraging organisations to migrate to its new operating system, Windows 11, as soon as possible. Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 could, however, have huge ramifications for many organisations.
The truth of the matter is that the end of life for Windows 10 could also herald the end of life for your end-user devices, your applications, your in-house developments, and much more besides.
The end of life for your devices?
Windows 11 will only work on desktop computers and laptops that support Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, a computing chip that improves data authentication and security. Windows 11 also requires the Secure Boot Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), another feature that helps computers to resist malicious attacks and malware infections. As TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot are rarely found in laptops and computers that are three or more years old, most organisations will find that they need to upgrade or replace at least some of their end-user devices.
In many cases, huge budgets will be required for hardware replacement, as routine device refreshes have decreased in frequency in the last decade. In the past, organisations used to replace desktop and laptop PCs every three to five years. However, across the board we have seen increased adoption of web-based applications and less demand for local processing power, this has enabled organisations to extend the life of their laptops and desktops up to five and in some cases seven years. Now, without the specification needed for Windows 11, these older devices will reach an abrupt end of life, very soon.
The end of life for your apps?
According to Microsoft, 99.9% of apps that currently work on Windows 10 will also work on Windows 11. However, in practice, our experiences with Windows 10 feature updates, it is likely that only 70-80% of apps will work straight away. Organisations must identify incompatible apps before making the switch to Windows 11; if they don’t, end-users could experience system downtime or performance issues that might ultimately damage business operations.
As part of the planning for Windows 11, organisations will need to evaluate all of the apps that are used within the business – a figure that could easily grow into hundreds if not thousands – and assess whether they will work. Then, when issues are identified with specific apps, organisations will need to decide whether they can upgrade them or whether it is the end of their life. For some organisations, the answer may be to move key applications to the cloud, bypassing Windows 11 altogether. Software-as-a-Service offerings have been available for many years, but with the approaching end-of-life of Windows 10, these services are now more relevant than ever.
The end of life for your bespoke solutions?
Despite the cautionary note above, most off-the-shelf, vendor-supported products will be adapted for Windows 11. However, many organisations rely on in-house developed or bespoke solutions, and these are not necessarily going to be compatible with a different operating system. Software engineering projects need to be launched as soon as possible to test, patch, and redevelop bespoke solutions in readiness for Windows 11, this is a process that could take months if not years.
Organisations in industries such as finance, legal, and defence, that have built dozens of bespoke apps to deliver competitive edge and innovative new services, could need to spend millions to get their proprietary solutions to work on the new operating system. There is always a place for internally-developed apps, so Windows 11 is unlikely to be the end of the road for in-house software engineering. Existing and future solutions will, however, need to be re-engineered to make them more robust and adaptable to change.
The end of life for Windows 7?
Windows 7, you ask?
It is a bit of a secret, but, yes, many large, respected organisations are still running Microsoft’s previous operating system, Windows 7, on some devices. A large professional services organisation recently approached Camwood for advice about Windows 11, revealing that it still had over 5,000 Windows 7 devices within its estate. This organisation and many others like it are paying hefty fees to Microsoft for its Extended Security Update (ESU) service to keep these old devices viable.
Certainly, the end-of-life of Windows 10 has acted as a wake-up call for this organisation and others in the same situation, prompting them to make what is now a leap from Windows 7 to Windows 11. It is all too easy to get left behind on an old operating system, and, inevitably, there will still be a lot of Windows 10 devices in use long after the end-of-life date. Security concerns will, however, force organisations to subscribe to the Windows 10 ESU service, after 14th October 2025, which will be at a high cost to the business and therefore an unsustainable backup option.
The end of life for Windows 10 features updates?
The imminent approach of the end-of-life for Windows 10 doesn’t mean that we can stop doing Windows 10 features updates – not yet at least. Organisations will need to keep their Windows 10 operating system up-to-date to avoid the risk of exposure to new security vulnerabilities right up until they are ready to migrate over to Windows 11.
Keeping Windows 10 going, however, while also planning for Windows 11 (and keeping other IT projects on track) is going to be a challenge. There is an incredible amount to do, even for small to medium-sized organisations. Camwood can help to relieve the stress through its Windows 11 Readiness service, which we offer direct and through key partners. We use automated tools to identify which devices and apps are and are not compatible, highlight which users are impacted, and recommend a plan for a smooth transition, to take some of the pressure from in-house IT teams.
Start planning now
Given the huge complexities involved in migrating to Windows 11, Camwood does not expect real enterprise take-up until this summer at the earliest. However, we are urging all organisations to start planning now and, at the very least, evaluate the ramifications that the impending operating system upgrade may have. Services like those offered by Camwood will show you exactly what you need to do and help you gauge the time, resources, and budget that you will need to achieve a successful migration to Windows 11.
The end of life of Windows 10 may ultimately mean the end of life for a sizeable percentage of your desktop computers and laptops, a few of your apps, an old bespoke software solution, and your forgotten Windows 7 devices. Yet, by planning ahead and seeking help, you can overcome all these challenges.
Don’t let the end of life for Windows 10 take you to the edge of despair, contact us today and we can assist you in navigating your Windows 11 migration.