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Why won’t Windows 10 updates be free after 2025?

Answer: Because Microsoft is phasing out Windows 10.

A person standing on a stage at an event speaking. They are silhouetted against a large blue screen displaying the Windows 10 logo and the text "Redmond, WA / January 21, 2015 / #windows10."
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Microsoft doesn’t want to keep supporting its old operating systems as it moves on to new ones. All tech companies do that, and Windows 10 is almost a decade old. But the company has come up with a new way to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 11.

Starting Oct. 14, 2025, Microsoft will charge a fee for security updates to Windows 10. Upgrading to Windows 11 is currently free, so Microsoft may be hoping that an impending fee versus a free upgrade will entice many users. The company announced the move in a blog post this week, although it did not provide information on how much the upgrade fee might be.

If the rumor mill is to be believed, Windows 11 may be the only free update you’ll get. Windows 12, which might be released in 2024, could come with a charge, though that’s all still speculation at this point. It is worth noting, however, that the potential AI capabilities that will likely come with Windows 12 could be worth coughing up some cash.