Earlier this year, Microsoft said it was extending end of support for some Windows 10 versions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the company has also done the same for Windows 10 version 1803, pushing back its end of support several months.
Last year's Windows 10 version 1803 was due to reach the end of support on November 10, 2020, just after the launch of Windows 10 20H2. However, Microsoft says the support is extending to May 11, 2021, giving users an extra six months or so.
If you're unfamiliar with end of support, it when Microsoft stops supporting Windows builds. This means all updates stop. Not just new features are cut off, but security patches are also no longer available.
It is Microsoft's way of nudging Windows 10 customers to the newest versions of the platform. While end of support and this extension affects regular consumer users, Microsoft's decision is more oriented towards businesses.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprise customers value continuity more than updating. Certainly, they don't want to feel they are forced into updating at risk of losing security. IT teams are operating with reduced manpower, so mass upgrade cycles are not viable during this time.
Microsoft reflects on this in its blog post confirming the decision:
“We have heard your feedback and understand your need to focus on business continuity in the midst of the global pandemic. As a result, we have decided to delay the scheduled end-of-service date for the Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise editions of Windows 10, version 1803. This means that security updates will continue to be released monthly until May 11, 2021.”
Earlier this year, Microsoft extended support for Windows versions that were due to expire with the launch of the May 2020 Update:
Windows 10 version 1709 (Enterprise, Education, and IoT Enterprise): Support extended to October 13
Windows 10 version 1809 (Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, Home, IoT Core): Support extended to November 10