Tech

Microsoft petitioned to extend Windows 10 lifespan

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Microsoft’s plan to end support for Windows 10 in 2025 could render hundreds of millions of still-functional computers obsolete and create an environmental disaster, according to consumer advocacy group Public Interest Research Group (PIRG).

On Tuesday, PIRG delivered a petition with 20,000 signatures to Microsoft headquarters, calling on the tech giant to continue providing security updates for Windows 10 past its announced end-of-life date. If Microsoft does not extend support, up to 400 million of the 1 billion Windows 10 devices currently in use could be at risk, the group warned.

“Microsoft abandoning Windows 10 could cause the obsolescence of more computers than any single action ever,” said Lucas Rockett Gutterman, PIRG’s Designed to Last Campaign Director, in a statement. “Microsoft needs to rethink this decision and continue providing security updates for the millions of people who can’t upgrade their computers, for the sake of both their finances and the environment.”

The problem stems from Windows 11’s steeper hardware requirements, which render many older but still functional PCs incompatible with the newest Windows version. Without continued Windows 10 support, these devices will either become insecure over time or be discarded, adding to the growing e-waste crisis.

Windows 10 not supported? Bad for the consumer, really bad for the planet!

E-waste is toxic when dumped in landfills, PIRG noted. Only 25% of discarded electronics are currently recycled in the U.S., according to Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

In their petition to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the group argued that “Microsoft’s decision to stop supporting millions of functional computers in our hospitals, businesses, and homes is a raw deal for customers who expect their expensive devices to last.”

Gutterman accused Microsoft of backtracking on previous commitments to backward compatibility and longevity. The company supported Windows XP for 13 years and ensured most older PCs could run Windows 10 at launch. In contrast, immediately discontinuing Windows 10 support strands users who cannot afford upgrades or new devices, he said.

Microsoft has pledged to become carbon-negative by 2030. But PIRG believes this Windows 10 decision alone could generate 46 million tons of emissions by pushing new production. That’s equivalent to adding 9 million cars to the road for a year, according to their estimates.

“Given these past actions of Microsoft, it’s surprising that the company is forcing the transition to Windows 11,” Gutterman said. “Not only is this bad for consumers, it’s also bad for the planet.”

Featured Image Credit: Miguel Á Padriñán; Pexels, but additional text; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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