June 12, 2024

Microsoft's Windows 10 Phase-Out Sparks E-Waste Crisis, Raises Environmental Concerns

In an alarming revelation, Canalys Research has raised alarms about the decision of Microsoft to end its support for the Windows 10 OS, with around 240 million PCs heading to landfills.

Even after Microsoft ends OS support for PCs, the devices may remain functional for years. However, Canalys issued a warning that the demand for PCs without security updates may not be too high.

Microsoft’s move can lead to an unprecedented surge in electronic waste – around 480 million kilograms of it – equivalent to as many as 320,000 cars.

Recently, the tech giant revealed its plans to continue offering security updates till October 2028 for devices running on Windows 10 OS. However, the catch lies in an undisclosed annual fee, which might prompt users to upgrade their systems by shelling out hundreds of dollars.

Microsoft Schedule Discontinuation of Support for Windows in October 2025

Microsoft has remained silent regarding inquiries about the environmental impact of discarding old devices.

Microsoft has scheduled the imminent discontinuation of support for Windows 10 in October 2025, which is a crucial moment in the tech industry.

Windows 11, the next-generation OS, will revolutionize PCs, integrating them with AI features. These technologies are likely to boost the PC market in the coming years.

However, experts, tech enthusiasts, and environmentalists have raised questions about the sustainability of the decision and the overall impact on the environment as a result of this transition.

Exploring Alternative Paths for Sustainability

In PCs, integral components like hard drives and servers storing data are often disposed of prematurely. However, Peter Afiuny, the Chief Commercial Officer of Noveon Magnetics has stated a possible workaround.

Turning end-of-life computers into the magnets that power sustainable technologies like electric vehicles and wind turbines will help meet the rising global demand for electricity.Peter Afiuny, CEO, Noveon Magnetics

Redwood Materials, a battery recycling firm, also focused on the potential of recycling batteries. It suggested that it is possible to infinitely recycle batteries to recover essential metals such as copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium.

All in all, a few alternative approaches have surfaced that reflect the scope of managing electronic waste responsibly and extracting necessary resources from discarded PCs.

With ongoing sophistication transforming the tech industry, the corresponding environmental consequences cannot be overlooked. The decision of Microsoft to phase out Windows 10 has led to concerns that deserve serious attention. Both consumers and industry leaders need to act responsibly to mitigate the adverse impact on the environment.

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