What happens if I don’t upgrade to Windows 11?

With Windows 11 here and Windows 10 support ending in 2025, you may be wondering what will happen to your PC if you don’t upgrade. We explore the possibilities.

Should I upgrade to Windows 11?

Although Windows 11 was released in Fall 2021, Microsoft says: you don’t need to upgrade your Windows 10 installation to Windows 11. Like previous major “feature updates” to Windows 10, you can decline or delay any offer Microsoft makes to upgrade your system by not starting the upgrade process in Windows Update .

You will have no problems continuing to use Windows 10 until October 14, 2025. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 until that date, and you can still use it securely on your current PC, while expecting critical security updates to arrive when needed.

But after October 14, 2025, running Windows 10 will become a lot more risky. Microsoft will stop releasing new security updates for Windows 10 on that date. If someone discovers a new exploit or vulnerability in Windows 10 after that date, Microsoft will not release a Windows 10 update to fix it.

Will Windows 10 Stop Working When Windows 11 Launches?

Windows 11 was released in Fall 2021 and you can still use Windows 10 like you did before it was released. It does not stop working automatically.

Whenever Windows 11 launches, Microsoft will likely offer Windows 10 users the chance to upgrade to Windows 11 for free from Windows Update in Settings. If you decline the update, you may still see pop-up reminders asking you to upgrade to Windows 11 unless your PC doesn’t support it.

After Windows 10 support ends in 2025, Windows 10 will still work. You just run a greater security risk.

What if I can’t upgrade to Windows 11?

You may have already checked your PC and realized it can’t upgrade to Windows 11. If so, you have a few options. The safest option is to buy on a newer PC some time before that 2025 cut-off date. That way you use the latest, most secure Windows operating system. The other option is to continue using Windows 10, which comes with significant security risks.

RELATED: How to Make Sure Your Windows 10 PC Can Run Windows 11

What happens if I continue to use Windows 10?

Every time a Windows upgrade comes along, there are always people who would rather stick with an older version of Windows, even if it’s no longer supported. Even today, some holdouts still use Windows 7, Windows 8, or even earlier versions like Windows XP every day. But those people take dramatically greater security risks.

What could go wrong? Many things. Running an unsupported version of Windows 10 makes you more susceptible to malware that will spy on you or damage your data, ransomware that will hold your data hostage, RAT software that will compromise your webcam, and more.

After a few years, some applications may drop support for Windows 10, leaving you vulnerable to other types of security attacks if you can’t keep them up to date to their latest versions.

What’s the safest way to keep using Windows 10?

First of all, we do not recommend using Windows 10 after October 14, 2025. It’s just not worth the risk, and basic PCs (even used PCs) that can run Windows 11 should be cheap at the time. But we know that reality doesn’t always match the ideal, so here are a few tips.

There is no doubt that, even with the risks, people who practice good security hygiene will have a better chance of using Windows 10 without major problems after the 2025 closing date. Here are some sensible things anyone can do, even now, to stay safe online:

But let’s face it: How many people brush their teeth twice a day and floss after every meal as dentists recommend? Some people do, but not everyone. So for the average Windows PC owner, it’s best to upgrade to the latest version of Windows and stick with it – while also practicing everything listed above – to reduce your chances of getting hit by malware, ransomware, or significantly reduce another security exploit.

In the end it’s best to upgrade

When Windows 11 launches, Windows 10 will begin to fade into the sunset, whether we like it or not. You may feel the pressure to make an upgrade decision immediately, but that’s not necessarily the case. At the time of writing, you have more than four years to plan ahead before Windows 10 support ends, which is a long time in the tech world.

But take the time to plan ahead so you can make a smooth transition to Windows 11 when the time comes. (Or there’s always another option: install Linux on your PC when Windows 10 support expires.) Good luck and stay safe out there!

RELATED: Don’t Panic: You Can Keep Using Windows 10 Until 2025

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