Microsoft ended support for the original release version of Windows 10 in May, and now it's doing the same for the first major update to hit the OS. As of October 10, Windows 10 version 1511 will no longer receive any more security or quality updates from Microsoft. This applies to Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Enterprise editions. Version 1511 was first released to PCs in November 2015.
While Windows 10 version 1511 will continue to run if you have it installed, a lack of security updates will mean leaving yourself open to some potentially nasty threats. The simplest solution, and one Microsoft recommends in a support document, is to update to the latest release version, the Creators Update. At the very least, moving up to the Anniversary Update should ensure you continue to receive security updates until support for it is dropped in the coming months.
The move is part of a larger "Windows as a Service" (WaaS) push Microsoft undertook with the release of Windows 10. Under this model, new feature releases are pushed out to the general public at a more rapid pace than in previous versions of Windows. As a result, each new major release is only supported for a limited time. As Microsoft explains:
Since version 1511 was released in November 2015, Microsoft has released additional feature updates that build upon each other, delivering the newest features and more comprehensive security. Windows 10 was designed as a service, whereby feature updates are required a couple times a year. For most consumers, both quality and feature updates are delivered automatically according to their Windows Update settings.
If you need to find out which version of Windows 10 you're running, you can do so by typing "winver" into your taskbar search and opening the "About Windows" box. If your version number is listed as 1511, you'll want to update. You can manually initiate the update by heading to Microsoft's software download page and grabbing the Update Assistant. And if you're looking to be on the absolute latest, Microsoft is preparing to release the Fall Creators Update to everyone on October 17.
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