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Windows 10 Support Ending Soon: Here’s How to Get Ready

Windows 10 Support Ending Soon: Here's How to Get Ready
Xiaomi laptop running Windows 10. | © Panos Sakalakis.

In this article...

If you have a device with older hardware that won't support the TPM 2.0 that Windows 11 needs to get installed, here's what you can do before the end of support for Windows 10, and the two top choices that you have as of this moment.

Windows 10 Home and Pro will reach the end of support on October 14, 2025. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support, and users will find themselves unsafe and risk their online security and privacy.

There’s one big issue with Microsoft’s decision to end the support of its most favourable operating system; Millions of devices won’t be able to upgrade to Windows 11 or Windows 12 (when they come out), leaving a huge amount of users with an unsafe operating system. While this is because of safety measurements, supporting only those who have a motherboard that supports the TPM 2.0 technology, there are still lots of people unable to upgrade or buy a new modern device.

So what do you do in a situation like that? Well, thankfully, there are two options for your older hardware, and you keep it alive and well.

Backup everything you have on your device

Let’s start from the basics; You’ll have to backup all of your important files. This is crucial because you’ll never really know how safe are your files in an unsupported operating system, and you’ll need them if you want to upgrade or replace your operating system.

The best way to backup your files is on another disk, but you can also use any cloud service, including Microsoft’s OneDrive and Google Drive. You may also need more storage space if you have many files, so choosing a subscription plan for at least a month of use may also come as an extra.

Apart from copying and pasting your files to another drive, you can also keep a backup through the operating system’s settings, but that will keep many more files that you may not need. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Control Panel: You can do this by searching for “Control Panel” in the Start menu.
  2. Click on the “Backup and Restore” setting under the “System and Security” section.
  3. Click the “Set up backup” option on the right.
  4. Select an external drive to store the backups.
  5. Choose the “Let me choose” option under “What do you want to backup?” to ensure everything you want is backed up.
  6. Check the items under “Data Files” and include the Local Disk (C:).
  7. Click “Next” and set up the backup schedule.

Once you’ve done this and you have a backup with all of your important files, you’ll then have to decide what will happen to your devices. There are two options when it comes to changing your operating system; You’ll either stay with Windows 10, which is unsafe, force-upgrade to Windows 11 with a little trick, or replace them with Linux.

Force-install Windows 11 on older hardware

This is not the safest option, and you may experience issues in the near future, but if you really want to keep Windows installed, installing the latest version is as crucial as it gets. While Microsoft is not supporting older hardware with Windows 11, that doesn’t mean that users can’t install them, as there’s an easy way to get around this problem.

Create a bootable USB with Windows 11 using Rufus

Rufus, a free tool for creating bootable USBs, is a great solution to this issue, as it lets you create a bootable USB with Windows 11 that can run on older devices that are not supported, and it even lets you adjust the operating system for PCs and laptops with less than 4GB of RAM.

  1. Head over to Microsoft’s official website and grab the latest Windows 11 ISO file. Anyone can download the operating system for free.
  2. Download Rufus from its official website or find it through the Microsoft Store.
  3. Get a USB device with at least 8GB of free storage space, and make sure you’ve kept a backup of the files it has (as they’ll also be deleted).
  4. Once done, open Rufus, click on “Browse”, select the ISO file that you downloaded earlier, and make sure you’ve also selected the USB device.Rufus - Manjaro Linux - Bootable USB
  5. Click on “Start” and wait until Rufus has extracted and imported all the files to your USB device.
  6. Open the Settings in Windows 10, scroll down and click on Update & Security. On the right pane, click Recovery.
  7. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now. Wait for a few seconds, and you’ll access the Boot Options Menu.Advanced Startup - Windows 11 Settings
  8. You can now proceed with installing Windows 11 on your PC or laptop, which means deleting all disks and replacing everything there is on them.

Installing Windows 11 on older hardware

While the installation of Windows 11 is pretty easy and straightforward, if you need more help, follow the steps provided below:

  1. Click on the “Install now” button.Installing Windows 11
  2. Choose your preferred language, time and currency format, and keyboard and input method. Once done, click on “Next“.Installing Windows 11
  3. In the next step, you can add your Windows license so you can activate them. If you don’t have it, don’t worry, simply click on the “I don’t have a product key” option. You can add it later, or Windows will automatically get the key that is already registered in your device.Installing Windows 11
  4. Select which version of the operating system you want to install, such as Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, etc.Installing Windows 11
  5. Accept Microsoft’s applicable notices and license terms and click on “Next“.Installing Windows 11
  6. Select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)“.Installing Windows 11
  7. Choose on which disk you want to install Windows 11. If you have one disk but you’re seeing many partitions, simply delete them all until they become one partition. Be careful though, as it will show any disk that you have connected to your PC, and if you have an external disk that has important files, make sure it’s unselected.
  8. Wait until the installation is done, and proceed by following the next simple steps, including connecting to your Microsoft account, setting up your operating system, choosing more input methods for your keyboard, etc.

Based on your hardware and how fast is your disk, it may take several minutes until Windows 11 are installed, and your device will restart a few times.

Replace Windows 10 with Linux

How to setup XAMPP and WordPress on Manjaro Linux (2024)
XAMPP running on Manjaro Linux (KDE Plasma)

What’s better than using an unsupported or incompatible operating system? Use something faster, that keeps getting updated, has a huge community of people, and still supports your older hardware. Yes, that’s Linux, and it’s pretty easy to install and configure any Linux distro that you may like.

The best thing about using Linux is that you put an end to the endless installation of AntiVirus software, you won’t have to pay a dime, and you have lots of options when it comes to customizing it and making it your own.

Installing Linux is the same as Windows, you can use Rufus to create a bootable USB device with the Linux ISO that you’re going to download. So follow the steps provided above. But first, you’ll have to decide which Linux distro is best for you, here’s a quick look at the graphical environments that exist as of this moment of writing:

Need even more detailed instructions on how to install a Linux distro alongside Windows or by completely deleting anything in your disk and simply installing your favourite distribution? Here’s a great tutorial to get started easier and faster than ever before:

In this guide, I am installing Manjaro Linux, which is my top choice when it comes to distros, but you can follow the same steps with any other distro (well, apart from Arch Linux, which is another story).

Conclusion: The end of Windows 10 is not the end of older hardware

While it’s unsure how good and smooth Windows 11 will run on an incompatible device using Rufus’s options, there’s always Linux as a great, faster, and safer alternative. There are many Linux distributions that support – and will continue to support – older hardware that can’t run any of the newest versions of Windows, and it can keep them alive and well.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any news on Windows 12, but something tells me your PC or laptop won’t be able to run the operating system if they do not support the TPM 2.0, which is the case for Windows 11 too. If you don’t like running incompatible or customized versions, again, Linux remains the only top alternative choice.

Sure, you can try Chrome OS Flex too, and you can easily install it by following the guide on, but Linux is far more robust and you can customize it accordingly if you want it to look and behave more like Windows or even macOS.

Panos Sakalakis

Meet Panos Sakalakis, a web wizard, blogging buff, podcasting pro, and SEO sorcerer with over 15 years of enchanting experience. When he's not weaving digital spells with his keyboard, you'll likely spot him conquering mountain trails with his trusty Hard-Trail MTB bike, in hot pursuit of the ultimate adrenaline rush and the perfect blog post inspiration.

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