Individuals will now have the option to pay for extended security updates for Windows 10, even after it reaches the end of support. After October 14, 2025, Windows 10 will no longer receive free updates, including security fixes. However, users can purchase up to three years of Extended Security Updates (ESUs) for their Windows 10 PCs.
ESUs provide monthly security updates from Windows Update, focusing on critical or important vulnerabilities as classified by Microsoft. They do not include bug fixes, new features, updates for time zone or daylight savings changes, or technical support. ESUs are available for three years after the end of support.
Previously, ESUs were common for Windows Server and server products, as well as desktop versions of Windows like Windows 7. However, this is the first time that individuals will have the option to buy an annual ESU subscription for their Windows 10 PCs.
For large organizations, ESUs can be obtained through existing volume license systems. As for small businesses and home users, Microsoft has not announced the pricing or sales mechanism for ESUs, but it is likely that they will be sold through the Microsoft Store.
ESUs are activated on the day that a version of Windows reaches the end of support. Windows 10 users with ESU subscriptions will receive updates through Windows Update, similar to the monthly security updates.
Not all versions of Windows 10 require ESUs. The last version for Enterprise, Education, Pro, and Home editions is Version 22H2. However, specialized editions for devices like ATMs and medical equipment continue receiving updates.
For users running older versions of Windows and Windows Server in the cloud, ESUs have been made free for virtual machines running on Azure, including Azure Stack. This also applies to Cloud PCs running Windows 10, depending on the cloud virtualization service used.
While Microsoft encourages users to transition to Windows 11, the adoption rate for Windows 11 is slower compared to Windows 10. ESUs offer breathing room for Windows 10 users who prefer to continue using the OS or are not ready to migrate to Windows 11 yet, allowing them to stay reasonably secure.