Discontinuing Windows 10 could generate 37 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent

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Ditching Windows 10 Could Create a Lot of E-Waste

Ditching Windows 10 Could Create a Lot of E-Waste

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Your PC is not compatible with Windows 11 and you don't want to use an operating system at the mercy of viruses? Buy a new computer! Here is in essence the message that Microsoft seeks to convey via its web page dedicated to the end of life of Windows 10. Posted online a few days ago, the mini-site presents all the new features of Windows 11gives advice on how to migrate your data easily and even offers a buying guide to help you choose the best machines compatible with the latest Microsoft OS.

If Microsoft specifies that Windows 10 “will still work“despite the fact that the system will not receive”no more security updates or technical supportfrom October 14, 2025the incentive for premature renewal of perfectly functional machines is ecologically very questionable.

4.7 million trips around the world in CO2

In an article posted at the beginning of January 2024, the site specializing in digital sobriety Green IT claimed that abandoning Windows 10 could generate up to 37 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. A print similar to “4.7 million world tours“, according to Frédéric Bordage, creator of the collective which publishes the site. Manufacture and sell 240 million PCs to replace “those that worked very well under Windows 10“would be equivalent to”186 billion km in a thermal car” Or “10% of France's annual greenhouse gas emissions“, underlines the site.

Equivalent to “186 billion km in a thermal car”

Green IT, January 2024

Obviously, talking only about CO2 emissions does not take into account other issues such as resource extraction, soil exhaustion or the use of liters of water necessary for the manufacture of new processors. Just with regard to the depletion of abiotic resources (metals and minerals), this would represent “14 billion tons of excavated earth“, points out Green IT.

A Windows 11 that is too greedy

Of course, not everyone will buy a Windows 11 machine to replace their aging Windows 10, and maybe even some PCs will find a second life under Linuxbut the abandonment of Windows 10 (which still runs on 70% of computers in circulation) could have serious ecological consequences at a time when software sustainability is a hot topic in France and Europe.

In Brussels, discussions concerning directives on the sale of goods and on digital content and services indeed evoke the ecological impact of software obsolescence. In France too, we are interested in the question since an information mission on the impact of the Agec law proposes stricter supervision of “cultural and/or technological obsolescence“.

It's obviously difficult to ask a software maker to keep a code behemoth like Windows up to date for decades, but Microsoft could have at least not lock the update to Windows 11 by brandishing harsh technical requirements. Many processors, far from being outdated today, are simply not compatible with Windows 11, which will create vulnerabilities to attacks of all kinds from the end of 2025.

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