I have an old PC and am still happy running Windows 10 on it. Works fine. But I hear that Win10 is going to be cancelled by Microsoft after all these years! What are my options?
You are correct that Microsoft has announced that “Windows 10 will reach end of support on October 14, 2025. The current version, 22H2, will be the final version of Windows 10, and all editions will remain in support with monthly security update releases through that date.” Between now and then, you can likely keep using it without too much of an issue (as long as you follow good digital hygiene, as I’ll explain shortly). After that date, however, the biggest issue is that security updates are going to stop so whether hackers find an obscure bug that is present on 0.001% of Windows 10 systems or a gaping security hole that’s on 99% of systems, no-one’s going to be updating the system to patch that hole.
Shortcuts: Keep System Updated | Can You Run Win11? | Keep Win10 Safe | Vendor Updates | App Updates
If you never add programs and never go to strange or suspicious Web sites, you might be okay for even 6-12 months after that date (moving you into 2026), but eventually you’re going to be caught and have malware show up and/or ransomware or worse. Imagine turning on your computer and it won’t power up nor can you access any of your precious files, documents, or photographs. ¡No bueno!
The real solution is to upgrade to a more modern Windows 11 system in the next 18 months. Given that Windows 10 was released back in July of 2015, I’d say that OS had a good lifespan, an entire decade. The good news is that if you’ve been running that same PC for years, an upgrade will startle you with its dramatic performance boost, but it’s going to cost ya. Even a budget PC from Costco or Walmart is going to set you back a few hundred dollars minimum.
Then again, perhaps your PC can be updated to Windows 11. Let’s consider that possibility too.
CRITICAL: KEEP YOUR WIN10 SYSTEM UPDATED
The first and most important step for good digital hygiene is to make sure that you are constantly checking and installing updates. Got a lot of apps running? Save all your files, and be prepared for a restart. You can do it. On my older HP laptop, for example, when I went to check for updates (search “check for updates” in the search box on the Taskbar, or click on the magnifying glass icon on the Taskbar to search and you’ll get to the right spot):
Notice the version update listed in the “Feature update” line: Windows 10, version 22H2. That’s the same version that Microsoft has said is the last version of Windows 10 they’ll release. So this system is effectively already at its end of the road, though there are clearly lots of smaller updates and, most critically, security updates too.
These updates can take quite a while, so while that’s running let’s jump over to the Web browser…
CAN YOUR PC RUN WINDOWS 11?
Microsoft requires certain hardware criteria to be met for you to be able to run Windows 11, most notably something called a TPM, a Trusted Platform Module, which is some encryption hardware that’s either part of your computer’s processor or isn’t. If it isn’t, you can’t run Windows 11. But, as they say, there’s a tool for that!
Before you download it, however, it’s worth checking to see if it’s already just shown up on your PC from a previous update! Search for “PC health check” on the Taskbar search:
Ah! There it is. A click on “Open” and it’s ready to run. When I do run the program, however, the news is not good:
Well, I knew this was a pretty old HP laptop, but it’s disappointing to see that it’s just too darn slow to run Windows 11, even if I wanted to install it.
As I suggested before, my only real solution at this point to keep my PC safe and useful into the future is to replace it with something newer, ideally already running Windows 11. Que sera, sera.
In the meantime, though, there are some steps I can take to try and stay as safe online as possible.
KEEPING YOUR WIN10 COMPUTER SAFE
First off, let’s peek at the “Check for Updates” window and see how it’s doing!
Still updating! These updates can take a while. But here’s something to notice: The link “View optional updates“. Once in a blue moon it’s worth clicking to see if there are optional updates available for your computer. Mine tends to be focused on drivers:
Fortunately, there are none extant so I don’t have to worry about yet more updates. Still, worth checking every few months to keep your drives updated.
KEEP UP WITH VENDOR UPDATES TOO
Many PC vendors have their own system management utilities too, including Hewlett-Packard. In fact, it’s a tiny icon on my Taskbar so it’s really easy to launch. The program’s not very well written so the interface is a bit confusing:
It’s most unfortunate that many vendors see this as a channel to sell upgrades rather than help you maintain your computer, but here you can see my HP Pavilion x360 Convertible is listed on the left side. Makes sense, since that’s the PC I’m running! A click on “Updates” reveals that…
There are no updates available. Good. Generally this will be custom drivers for trackpads, mice, displays, printers, etc, but as with everything related to your Windows 10 computer, it’s smart to keep this all updated.
KEEP INDIVIDUAL APPS UPDATED TOO
Finally, there’s one last thing you can do to help ensure your security as you ride your Win10 pony into the proverbial sunset: Keep your apps updated. The more you use the program, the more this is important, and vendors keep offering updates so it’s worth figuring out how to check for updates in your favorite utilities. Like Google Chrome:
You can check for updates by going to the “•••” link on the top right, then choosing “Help” and “About Google Chrome”. If there’s an update, it will then apply it and while you’ll have to restart, it should reopen all your tabs without incident.
YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE UPDATE FOREVER
The long and short of it is that you can get another year or maybe two out of your old PC but at some point you need to budget for an upgrade. Much better to spend a few hundred dollars on a new computer than a few hundred dollars on having an expert try to salvage your hacked, locked, or encrypted files, folders, documents, and photos.
Pro tip: I’ve been writing about Windows for many years. Please check out my Windows help area for lots more useful tutorials while you’re visiting the site!