Microsoft announces paid subscription for Windows 10 users who want OS updates beyond 2025

Windows 10 Update
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has announced an "extended security update" (ESU) program for Windows 10.
  • The ESU program will allow users to pay for monthly security updates beyond Windows 10's end of support date.
  • Windows 10 will reach end of life in October 2025.
  • For the first time ever, both commercial and consumer customers will be able to subscribe to Microsoft's ESU program.

Microsoft has today announced that it will be launching an extended security update program for Windows 10 when the OS reaches end of support in October 2025. Similar to the Windows 7 ESU program, Microsoft will continue to support the OS for three years beyond the 2025 cut-off date for customers who are willing to pay for it.

Previously, the ESU program was limited to Microsoft's commercial customers, but for the first time ever the company is opening the program to everyone. This means people who use Windows 10 on their personal machines will be able to pay for continued support beyond October 2025 if they don't want to upgrade to Windows 11.

The company hasn't revealed pricing information yet, but a support document published today says both individual consumers and organizations will be able to sign up for a subscription that will be charged annually:

"If you are an individual consumer or an organization who elects to continue using Windows 10 after support ends on October 14, 2025, you will have the option of enrolling your PC in the paid Extended Security Updates (ESU) program. The ESU program enables PCs to continue to receive Critical and Important security updates through an annual subscription service after support ends. More details including pricing will be provided at a later date. The ESU program provides individual consumers and organizations of all sizes with the option to extend the use of Windows 10 PCs past the end of support date in a more secure manner."

Microsoft says it's remaining committed to the end of support date for Windows 10, with no plans to extend it beyond the current date of October 14, 2025. This means Windows 10 users will need to pay for monthly security updates starting November 2025, or risk exposure to unpatched vulnerabilities and bugs that are discovered after support ends.

Security updates only

Windows 365 will help transform older enterprise PCs into newer Windows 11 ones. (Image credit: Microsoft)

The company is clear that the ESU program is for security updates only, meaning Microsoft won't be delivering new features to Windows 10 beyond October 2025. The ESU program exists primarily for commercial customers who are unable to upgrade their fleet of PCs from Windows 10 before support ends. 

Of course, users will not be forced to pay for this subscription. Windows 10 will continue to work as normal beyond October 2025, it just won't get any more security updates unless you subscribe to Microsoft's extended support program. 

In addition to the ESU program, Microsoft has announced that enterprise customers will have the option to "transform" Windows 10 PCs that are ineligible for Windows 11 into a Windows 365 machine that can stream Windows 11 from the cloud. These devices will be automatically enrolled into the ESU program at no additional cost as part of the Windows 365 subscription.

This option is only available for commercial customers, as Windows 365 is currently not available as a consumer subscription service.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads