Microsoft Offers Clarity on the Last Version of Windows 10
The last version of Windows 10 is the current 22H2 release, Microsoft explained, in a Thursday announcement.
Windows 10 version 22H2 will fall out of support on Oct. 14, 2025, and it will be "the final version of Windows 10," the announcement indicated. Microsoft wants Windows 10 users to switch to Windows 11 before that end date.
The end of Windows 10, which was first released on July 29, 2015, has been a long time in coming. Microsoft is just now giving the official word on its end.
"Finally, Microsoft officially announced that #windows10 22H2 is the last #windows10," noted Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Panu Saukko, in a Twitter post.
Microsoft MVP Susan Bradley commented in an AskWoody post that "[Windows] 10 is now entering into the 'most stable' version mode of its lifecycle." However, she added that organizations will still need extended security updates (ESUs) for Windows 10 because of Windows 11's stringent hardware requirements. Microsoft, though, didn't make any mention about possible Windows 10 ESUs in its announcement.
Out-of-support Windows clients will continue to run. However, they no longer get updates from Microsoft, including security patches, which can be a compliance problem for organizations.
Windows 10 LTSC Lives On
There will be one exception to this coming Windows 10 end-of-support date. Windows 10 LTSC (long-term servicing channel) will "continue to receive updates beyond that date [Oct. 14, 2025] based on their specific lifecycles," the announcement explained.
Releases of Windows 10 LTSC (formerly, "LTSB" for "branch") get 10 years of support. For instance, there's a Windows 10 2015 LTSB release that will fall out of support on Oct. 14, 2025. There's also a Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 release that's scheduled to lose support on Jan. 9, 2029, per Microsoft's lifecycle support page.
Microsoft had typically downplayed using the LTSC versions of Windows 10 for most organizations. It had suggested that LTSC releases were just designed for use in devices that can't tolerate change, such as medical devices and industrial machines. That's the argument in this Microsoft announcement from 2018, for instance.
Windows 11 LTSC
Microsoft also mentioned that Windows 11 LTSC products "will be available in the second half of 2024," namely:
- Windows 11 Enterprise LTSC
- Windows 11 IoT Enterprise LTSC
Details about those coming releases will be announced "as we get closer to availability," Microsoft indicated.
Microsoft added that organizations wanting to use a Windows 11 LTSC release can use the current Windows 11 version 22H2 product to test if their applications will work and if their devices will have the requisite hardware compatibility.
Microsoft recommends using its Test Base for Microsoft 365 service to check for app compatibility with Windows 11. Test Base is "a cloud-based testing solution that allows IT pros and developers to test your applications against pre-release and in-market versions of Windows and Office in a Microsoft-managed environment," Microsoft explained, in this March announcement.
About the Author
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.