Windows 10 End of Life Could Flood Landfills With E-Waste

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Microsoft intends to boost nan PC marketplace pinch artificial intelligence and Windows 11, but a collateral consequence of those moves could beryllium an early travel to a landfill for galore computers.

“Windows 11 itself does not straight lend to e-waste,” said Kieren Jessop, an expert pinch Canalys, a world marketplace investigation company. “However, owed to its hardware requirements, it tin indirectly summation e-waste,” he told TechNewsWorld. “A important stock of nan world installed guidelines is incapable to upgrade to Win11 because of nan TPM 2.0 chip, which contributes to Win11’s security.”

He noted that Canalys estimates astir 20% of nan world Windows installed guidelines can’t upgrade its complete 200 cardinal devices.

Most of those devices tally Windows 10, which Microsoft will extremity supporting successful October 2025. “Those devices don’t go obsolete aft Win10’s extremity of support,” Jessop observed. “And consumers are partially unbothered astir moving an obsolete Windows version. However, for businesses pinch older PCs, nan Win10 EoS will thrust galore to acquisition caller devices.”

240M PCs Headed to nan Dump

Jessop and chap expert Ben Caddy released a study successful December that estimated astir a 5th of nan world’s Windows 10 devices — immoderate 240 cardinal PCs — will go e-waste by nan clip Microsoft ends support for Windows 10.

Most of these 240 cardinal PCs, if successful bully condition, could astatine slightest beryllium recycled. However, nan study noted that their incompatibility pinch nan latest supported type of Windows massively reduces their worth for refurbishing and reselling.

Many of nan 240 cardinal PCs will still beryllium usable for years to come, but request for devices nary longer supported by Microsoft will beryllium minimal — moreover companies pinch nan tightest of IT budgets will beryllium deterred by nan deficiency of free and continued information updates, it added.

“Organizations pinch fleets of perfectly viable Windows 10 PCs will beryllium driven to prematurely discontinue their devices erstwhile nan OS vendor drops support — particularly continued information updates — for their devices,” Caddy told TechNewsWorld.

Although Microsoft is offering an Extended Security Updates programme for 3 years aft nan Win10 end-of-service date, Caddy said nan precocious value tag makes extending nan life of Win10 PCs moreover much unappealing.

The value for nan first twelvemonth of updates is US$61 per Windows 10 device. It goes up to $122 for nan 2nd twelvemonth and $244 for twelvemonth three.

Bonanza for Landfills

“Companies for illustration having their devices ever provided pinch nan latest information updates and features, truthful moreover if operational, older hardware is considered obsolete,” said Jacob Kalvo, co-founder and CEO of Live Proxies, a proxy solutions supplier based successful Studio City, Calif.

He explained that Microsoft importantly accrued nan hardware requirements for Windows 11 complete Windows 10. “That intends a ample number of PCs tin of moving each regular exertion but failing connected Windows 11 specifications are astatine consequence of being dumped,” he told TechNewsWorld.

The extremity of Win10 support will not only beryllium a bonanza for landfills. “Because of nan important request during Covid, galore business’ PC fleets are owed for a refresh,” Jessop explained.

That, coupled pinch nan extremity of support for Windows 10, will thrust PC income successful nan coming months. “A Canalys study of transmission partners recovered that 73% of partners expect nan Win10 EoS to effect their customers’ refresh plans successful nan adjacent 12 months,” Jessop said.

Even if Microsoft weren’t ending Win10 support, nan emergence of artificial intelligence is making Win10 hardware obsolete. “If AI-driven applications and features go nan norm, past older PCs will not beryllium capable to tally them efficiently,” Kalvo said.

That will beryllium progressively nan lawsuit arsenic much AI functionality moves from nan unreality to nan device. “The expertise for AI PCs to do on-device inferencing provides respective advantages, including little costs per query, reduced latency, unlimited personalization, improved readiness — nary net relationship required — and enhanced privateness and security,” Jessop noted.

He added that AI inferencing tin beryllium 75% much cost-effective erstwhile performed on-prem compared to nan unreality and that 83% of endeavor CIOs expect repatriating workloads from nan nationalist unreality this twelvemonth for AI purposes.

Cascading PCs

However, Russ Ernst, CTO of Blancco Technology Group, a world institution that specializes successful information erasure and mobile instrumentality diagnostics, maintained that companies are trying to get much mileage retired of their aged hardware, not less.

“There’s a push correct now successful nan firm endeavor to support machines for longer,” he told TechNewsWorld. “There’s a thrust to move distant from a strict three-year lifecycle and clasp connected to machines for four, 5 years aliases longer. Some OEMs, for illustration HP, are starting to deliberation of a seven-year lifecycle. That’s incredibly long.”

“Traditionally, if you had a three-year lifespan connected a machine, that’s each you looked at,” he continued. “Now organizations are going to beryllium challenged to look astatine strategy requirements beyond time.”

One measurement to widen nan life of hardware is done “cascading,” which requires knowledge of nan computing demands of nan various units successful nan business. “I can’t cascade a instrumentality from trading to engineering. The strategy requirements are incompatible,” he said. “But I tin cascade a instrumentality from engineering to marketing.”

Sustainability Lesson

The standard of nan e-waste produced by nan extremity of support for Windows 10 highlights nan domiciled of instrumentality vendors and OS vendors alike successful maximizing products’ usable lifespans, nan Canalys study noted.

To facilitate nan information economy, it added, OEMs must embed durability, repairability and recyclability into nan creation of their devices — and OS vendors must guarantee these devices are usable and unafraid for arsenic agelong arsenic possible.

“While vendors person a domiciled successful reducing e-waste, nan work is shared among manufacturers, consumers, and policymakers,” Jessop said. “Vendors tin lend by designing products for longevity, offering repair services, and providing package updates for extended periods. However, consumers besides play a important domiciled successful making informed acquisition decisions and decently disposing of devices.”

“AI PCs person prompted galore vendors to person multi-pronged trading campaigns that attraction connected AI, but besides nan sustainability of their caller hardware,” he noted.

Caddy pointed retired that nan lifespan of devices is taxable to nan buying and replacing cycles of consumers, arsenic good arsenic organizations’ ain IT procurement cycles. “But,” he said, “PC vendors person nan work of ensuring devices usability efficaciously for arsenic agelong arsenic possible. This involves designing devices to beryllium durable, easy to disassemble, and repair connected nan hardware side.”

“However,” he continued, “the lifespan of a instrumentality is besides heavy influenced by nan actions of OS vendors specified arsenic Microsoft and Apple. The extremity of support for an operating strategy tin unit robust, repairable, and functioning devices to beryllium prematurely retired, often owing to nan information concerns of utilizing an outdated OS.”

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