Windows 10 will continue to be supported by Microsoft until October 2025, but you’ll need to update some older versions much sooner. In fact, the next deadline is fast approaching: devices running version 20H2 (late 2020) will need to upgrade before 10 May 2022. After that date, none of Microsoft’s security updates will be compatible.
Continuing to use this version will leave your device vulnerable to any bugs, viruses and malware that emerge. Without any official patches, there’s no guarantee any issues can be solved. With so much important data stored on many people’s PCs, it’s not worth taking the risk.
The deadline is relevant to four of the most popular editions: Windows 10 Home, Pro, Pro Education and Pro for Workstations. Fortunately, checking and then taking the necessary action is simple.
How to check which version of Windows 10 you’re running
This is easy. Just head to Settings > System and choose ‘About’ from the left pane. Then scroll down to ‘Windows specifications’ and see what it says next to ‘Version’.
If you see 21H1 or 21H2, you’re good for at least a few more months. But if 20H2 is displayed, it’s time to update. If you see anything else, such as 2004 (May 2020) or anything beginning with a 1, update as soon as possible. These versions are no longer supported by Microsoft, so your device is exposed and vulnerable.
How to update your Windows 10 device
Once you’ve established which version you’re running, head back to the Settings home screen. Choose Update & Security, which should load into Windows Update by default. Complete any outstanding updates, then click ‘Check for updates’.
After a few seconds, the 21H2 update should begin downloading automatically. You can usually skip straight from version 20H2, but your device may install 21H1 first. Once complete, you’ll usually be prompted to restart in order to complete installation.
Which other versions of Windows 10 will stop being supported soon?
There are two newer versions of Windows 10 currently supported, but both will stop receiving security updates within the next 15 months. Here are the deadlines to be aware of:
- Windows 10 version 21H1 (May 2021) – 13 December 2022
- Windows 10 version 21H2 (November 2021) – 13 June 2023
Windows 10 has now shifted to annual feature updates, meaning version 22H2 is on the way. Judging by previous years, expect this to arrive in either October or November 2022. We’re then expecting 23H2 and 24H2 updates, before overall support for Windows 10 ends on 14 October 2025.
But despite its name, new features in the next three years are expected to be few and far between. Windows 11 is Microsoft’s main focus these days, so you may decide that now is the time to take advantage of the free upgrade from Windows 10.