Ending support for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system could lead to 240 million personal computers (PCs) ending up in landfills, according to a report by Canalys Research. The combined weight of computers, desktops and laptops is approximately 480 million kilograms of e-waste, equivalent to 320,000 cars.
While many computers can continue to work for several years after an operating system is no longer supported, Canalys warns that demand for devices without security updates may be low. Microsoft has announced plans to offer security updates to Windows 10 devices until October 2028 for an undisclosed annual fee.
If the Windows 10 support extension fee structure follows past trends, it could make the transition to new PCs more cost-effective and increase the number of old PCs sent to the landfill. Microsoft plans to end support for Windows 10 by October 2025. The next-generation operating system, which is expected to bring cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to PCs, could boost the sluggish PC market.
Microsoft was not available for comment on the environmental impact of disposing of non-Windows 11 devices.
Hard drives used in personal computers and storage servers are being recycled to collect materials for electric vehicle engines and renewable energy production.
By turning old computers into magnets that power clean technologies like electric cars and wind turbines, we can help meet the world’s growing demand for electricity.
Hard drives are often thrown away before they reach the end of their useful life, creating an excess of waste rare-earth magnetic materials.
Redwood Materials, a battery recycling company, said batteries can be recycled almost indefinitely by recovering metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper.