Microsoft will no longer sell Windows 10 licenses — what you need to know

Windows 10 logo
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft will stop selling Windows 10 licenses by the end of the month. As PCWorld (opens in new tab) reports, Microsoft has posted notices in multiple places online notifying users that it will end digital downloads of Windows 10 on January 31, 2023. If you want to buy a Windows 10 license after that date, you’ll have to get it from places other than Microsoft.

Though Microsoft will stop selling Windows 10 licenses, the operating system will continue to receive support for the next couple of years. "January 31, 2023 will be the last day this Windows 10 download is offered for sale,” says Microsoft’s Windows 10 Home product page (opens in new tab). “Windows 10 will remain supported with security updates that help protect your PC from viruses, spyware, and other malware until October 14, 2025.”

A Windows 11 laptop, demonstrating how to run Android apps on Windows 11

Windows 11 will soon be the only version of Windows you can officially buy. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

What does this mean for people interested in building a Windows 10 PC? The only recourse will be to purchase existing Windows 10 licenses from third-party retailers. If you or someone you know wants or needs a Windows 10 license, you can find OEM (original equipment manufacturer) copies on places like Amazon.

Microsoft’s decision to stop selling Windows 10 licenses isn’t all that surprising. A few short weeks ago, the Redmond-based company pulled the plug on the last remaining support for Windows 7. It also ended support for Windows 8 and 8.1. It’s not hard to deduce Microsoft’s goal here, namely to make Windows 11 the only Microsoft operating system you can officially buy.

Windows 11 has seen much improvement since it launched at the end of 2021. It’s still not perfect, but it’s become a better and more stable operating system for most users. With that said, there are still a fair amount of folks who may not want to upgrade to Windows 11 or can’t due to Microsoft’s stringent Windows 11 PC requirements. If you’re not ready to leave Windows 10 behind, it might not be a bad idea to buy an extra license or two before OEM copies eventually become difficult to find.

You can also read our complete guide on if you should upgrade to Windows 11 in case you are still on the fence between Windows 10 and Windows 11. 

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.