Why it matters: The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is a federation of US-Canadian non-profit organizations working to promote consumer protection, public health and transportation. The group is now asking the largest software company in the world to defer the end of official support for Windows 10.

The PIRG network recently opened a petition to Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella, asking his corporation to not "junk millions of computers" which are still using Windows 10. The operating system will continue to receive official, mainstream support and security updates until October 14, 2025, while the newer Windows 11 OS will be supported for the foreseeable future.

Microsoft's decision to end support for Windows 10 in 2025, ten years after the system's original release to manufacturing and retail channels, could cause the "single biggest jump in junked computers ever" PIRG's petition says. Microsoft would miss their self-imposed sustainability goals, the petition continues, and Windows 11's stringent hardware requirements could result in 40% of PCs still in use being left behind.

For the first time in Windows history, Windows 11 introduced unprecedented system requirements (like a functioning TPM chip) that forced many Windows users to avoid the (mostly free) upgrade. Even if they wanted to, they couldn't jump to the latest and greatest Windows version, which was released in 2021.

Windows 10 remains the most widely used operating system in the PC ecosystem, powering 71% of all Windows computers, whereas Windows 11 holds just 23% of the market share. Perfectly functioning, Windows 10-powered PCs are present in hospitals, businesses, and homes, PIRG's petition states, and Microsoft's decision to stop supporting them is a "raw deal" for customers who expect their expensive technology to last.

All software eventually reaches the end of its support period, PIRG concedes, but the Windows 10 situation is different. Hundreds of millions of PCs could potentially turn into "junk," the non-profit organization says, and the consequences to our environment are so grave that we "shouldn't accept it" yet.

Microsoft is planning to extend its exclusive, paid support for Windows 10 until January 13, 2032, at max. But the company would, of course, very much prefer customers purchase newer PCs to run Windows 11. The company was already forced to lengthen official support for extremely popular Windows editions (XP, 7) in the past, and market conditions could suggest a similar fate for Windows 10 as well.