An ecological catastrophe? Why Microsoft could send millions of computers to the trash – Tech & Co

To speed up the adoption of Windows 11, Microsoft plans to end free Windows 10 updates in 2025. A decision that is likely to turn many computers into garbage.

If your computer is running Windows 10, your days are most likely numbered. From October 14, 2025, it will no longer be possible to benefit from free updates for these devices.

As Microsoft announced at the beginning of December, Windows 10 updates will be billed at an as yet unknown rate from this date. This strategy should allow Microsoft to introduce the new version of its operating system: Windows 11.

But for the analysis firm Canalys, this choice could lead to immense waste. According to a study discovered by Clubic, more than 240 million computers are at risk of ending up in the trash once the measure is passed.

One in five devices is outdated

This number includes devices that are already in circulation, but also models that have already been built and can no longer be sold. Because if the transition from Windows 10 to 11 can be done free of charge, the new version of the operating system requires that the computer has a specific chip (TPM 2.0) on the motherboard to be updated. A component that is missing from many configurations and should therefore make them obsolete.

A computer that is not up to date opens the door to numerous security gaps. To guard against this, Microsoft has already guaranteed that Windows 10 updates will be available to subscribers of a paid annual subscription – at an unknown price – until 2028.

Canalys regrets that one in five devices is at risk of becoming unusable in the next two years. Above all, the risks that arise from not updating Windows 10 prevent devices from being donated to clubs. So functioning computers have to be scrapped.

To illustrate the coming environmental catastrophe, Canalys states that 240 million laptops, folded and stacked on top of each other, represent a stack 2,500 miles high. That’s about 600 km more than the diameter of the moon.

However, the IT industry is expecting a good year in 2024. The analysis house predicts growth of 8% for the PC market next year, after sharp declines. Initially, the release of Windows 12, which could launch in summer 2024, was expected to drive the market. But the end of Windows 10 support could also boost sales.

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