How much will it cost to keep Windows 10 alive next year? You’ll have to wait to find out

Microsoft is keeping its cards close to its chest regarding how much consumers will need to pay if they want to keep Windows 10 support alive when it officially runs out in October 2025.

Windows Latest noticed that Microsoft penned a blog post detailing the options and costs for businesses looking to have extended support in terms of security updates being piped through into 2026 and potentially beyond.

This is nothing to do with consumers, however, although everyday users of Windows 10 will also have a choice to pay for extending security updates should they want to keep the OS after October 2025.

Microsoft has clarified that point in an update to the post, stating that: “The details and pricing structure outlined in this post apply to commercial organizations only.”

So when will we find out about the cost for consumers? We don’t know is the short answer – you’ll have to wait. Microsoft wrote: “Details will be shared at a later date for consumers on our consumer end of support page.”

Note that even with paying for extended support, this is just security patches you’ll be getting, and Microsoft won’t be developing or applying any new features to Windows 10.

Analysis: Should you pay for extended Windows 10 support?

Windows 10 Logo on Laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock – Wachiwit)

To be fair to Microsoft, we are still a year and a half away from support expiring for Windows 10, so it’s not exactly a surprise that pricing options aren’t worked out fully yet. Although if Microsoft has managed to count the relevant beans and do the math for business customers, hopefully consumers won’t be left in the dark for too much longer. It's a little frustrating to see pricing for some customers, and not for others.

As to the wider issue of whether you want to pay for extended support for Windows 10, well, there are some folks in the unhappy position of not being able to upgrade to Windows 11 due to the hardware requirements. If you’re in that boat, then it might be worth exploring the options available to make your PC compatible and then migrate to Windows 11 – depending on what that entails.

If it’s a matter of adding a TPM (trusted platform module), that wouldn't be very expensive compared to the ongoing cost of subscribing (on a monthly or perhaps yearly basis) to post-support security updates for Windows 10. You could even pay a computer repair shop to help with the upgrade, as that’ll likely still work out cheaper than a support subscription in the longer run.

On the other hand, if you'll likely need to upgrade much of your PC to be able to install Windows 11, that would be more challenging (both financially and practically). For example, you may have an older unsupported CPU, which would likely requite a new motherboard or RAM. That being the case, staying on Windows 10 could make sense until you can afford a new Windows 11 PC – or indeed a Windows 12 device by that time, no doubt.

The other alternative is to shift away from Microsoft completely to one of the best Linux distros, which won’t cost you a penny – and you can always choose a distro that’s a fair bit like Windows in its interface. Although bear in mind that you’ll still face a lot of limitations using Linux rather than Windows.

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Nvidia’s GeForce Now’s free tier will soon show you up to two minutes of ads while you wait to play – proving nowhere is safe from commercials

Nvidia’s free tier of GeForce Now, its cloud gaming service, will soon run up to two minutes of ads before you play, according to Nvidia spokesperson Stephanie Ngo.

GeForce Now is a service offered by Nvidia that allows you to connect to digital PC game stores and stream games you already own across a multitude of different devices – including Macs, Windows laptops, iPhones and iPads, Android phones, and more.

It offers three membership tiers, with the free membership offering a queue system with an hour-long gaming session length that will then bring you back to the start of the queue once your time is up. It’s in this waiting time that the ads will be shown, so while it could be a little annoying, your actual gameplay time won’t be interrupted. 

The ads will help pay for the free tier service and keep it free, with Ngo adding that the change is also expected to reduce wait times for free users in the long run – though it’s not entirely clear at this point how that’s going to work. Perhaps Nvidia is expecting the arrival of ads to push users to pay for the premium tiers or simply drive some users away from the platform entirely – either would, in theory, help reduce queues for the free tier.  GeForce Now users should expect an email on 27 Feb to let them know about the changes. 

 Major inconvenience or just … meh?  

I’m not a user of Nvidia’s game-streaming service myself, but I reached out to GeForce Now Members within the TechRadar team and learned that wait times currently fluctuate between five to fifteen minutes – and scrolling through the GeForce Now subreddit proves that wait times can go on even longer. 

Most people who use the free tier of GeForce Now go in aware that they will be spending a not-insignificant amount of time in a queue, so in reality, two minutes of ads when you know you’re likely going to be waiting for longer anyway isn’t much of an inconvenience – it might even help kill some time. Many users are likely to simply do something else while queuing for their free hour timeslot anyway, so why shouldn’t Nvidia get some extra ad revenue from it?

That being said, it is a gloomy example of the inescapable modern torture of being advertised at non-stop. Almost every facet of the internet is packed with ads at this point (this article included – sorry about that, but we’ve got to eat!) and while a lot of platforms offer ad-free paid tiers, it seems like that isn’t enough anymore. 

Amazon Prime has received a lot of (well-deserved) flak for slapping ads onto paid memberships, and Netflix’s ad-supported free tier wasn’t very well-received either. While Nvidia’s latest move seems fairly innocuous right now, who’s to say the ‘up to two minutes’ won’t extend further in the future, until you’re sat watching a full ten minutes of commercials to play an hour-long session of your current favorite game? Do you just give in and buy a paid membership? I just might, personally – but I wouldn’t be happy about it.

Via The Verge 

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A new, much more convenient way to join Wi-Fi networks may be coming to Windows 11 and I can’t wait

Microsoft could be releasing a new feature for Windows 11 that would make connecting to Wi-Fi networks so much quicker and easier. Users may soon be able to join new networks by scanning a QR code with the camera app, eliminating the need to muck about searching for (or remembering) complicated passwords and keeping track of which password belongs to each network. 

According to MSPoweruser the feature is part of the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26052. The Windows Insider program is a community that allows Windows enthusiasts and developers to get early access to potential new features and give feedback before they make these features available to regular Windows 11 users. 

The build was made available to the Dev Channels in Preview Build in early February, which demonstrated how users can point their phone camera at a QR code displayed on a laptop or PC already connected to the Wi-Fi, and a pop-up will appear on their phones that will let them connect to the Wi-Fi network without having to enter in any passwords.

This also works with the Camera app in Windows 11, allowing you to connect new Windows 11 devices to the wireless network (either via a QR code displayed on a connected device, or be scanning the QR code that is sometimes included with new routers and printed in their manuals). Of course, those devices will need a camera, which won't be too hard for Windows 11 tablets and laptops, though maybe a bit cumbersome. Desktop PCs will be harder, but you can add a camera to your computer – check out our best webcams guide for our top picks.

Sharing is caring

The feature should also work for mobile hotspots, so you’ll be able to share your connection a lot quicker when you’re working on the go with other team members, or collaborating on group projects for school outside of the classroom. One of my least favorite parts of setting up a new device or working outside is fiddling with the Wi-Fi, so I’m pretty hyped about this feature.

We do have to keep in mind that often some of the features that are put in the Dev Channels don’t actually make it to the public. 

That being said, we do hope the feature does come to regular Windows 11 soon, because it’s an incredibly convenient way to make Wi-Fi sharing much easier and make sure other people can connect to your network without actually having to be given the password, which means this method is more convenient as well. And, if you want to give your wireless network an upgrade, check out our picks for the best Wi-Fi routers.

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Apple Vision Pro gets new mixed-reality weather forecasts as we wait for more apps

Apple’s Vision Pro is just a couple of days away from launching, and while Apple has highlighted some astonishing apps that are coming to the device, there have also been questions over how many apps will be available for users upon release. Well, we now know that one of the best iPhone apps will be among that number, and it could provide you with a great way to use Apple’s mixed-reality headset.

The app is the ever-popular Carrot Weather. As the name suggests, this app provides you with forecasts, weather warnings, and everything in between. It’s known for its caustic sense of humor – your reports are delivered by a robot whose outlook ranges from gentle to misanthropic – and that’s helped it stand out among a slate of other excellent weather apps.

On the Vision Pro, though, Carrot Weather is going to do something a little different. According to screenshots posted by the M1 Astra account on X (formerly Twitter), Carrot Weather will come with a floating planet Earth that shows the weather at whatever global location you select, as well as mini-games you can play via an tool at the bottom of the app window.

That comes in addition to the range of weather data you’d expect from an app like this, including temperatures, wind speeds, sunrise and sunset times, and more. That information will be displayed in a large floating window that shows far more data at a glance than the Carrot Weather iPhone app is able to do.

As spotted by MacRumors, Carrot Weather developer Brian Mueller said the floating globe would be the “marquee feature” of the app and that “it's just really cool being able to look at a globe floating in your living room.” It shows one of the ways the Vision Pro may let apps do things they never could on an iPhone or iPad.

Is the Vision Pro selling well?

The Carrot Weather app shown in augmented reality using Apple's Vision Pro headset.

(Image credit: Grailr)

It comes as news emerged that Apple has reportedly sold around 200,000 Vision Pro headsets in the first 10 days since pre-orders opened on January 19 (via MacRumors). Given pre-release predictions, that seems like an impressively high figure, but there is a caveat to those numbers.

Analysts had previously predicted that Apple would sell about 400,000 headsets in the entire first year of its availability. Apple tipster Ming-Chi Kuo, meanwhile, forecast that Apple would produce between 60,000 and 80,000 units for the device’s launch, suggesting that even Apple was unprepared for the level of demand.

That said, Kuo also claimed in a later report that Apple sold between 160,000 and 180,000 headsets during the pre-order weekend. That suggests that demand might have slowed in the days since then, as Apple has now apparently hit 200,000 units sold after 10 days.

The big question is whether Apple can sustain Vision Pro demand throughout the year. A large number of those 200,000 sales would likely have come from developers, hardcore Apple fans and early adopters. Will Apple be able to sustain this level of sales going forward, or will interest slowly die off over time? We’ll be watching closely.

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Want an Apple Vision Pro and you’re not in the US? Trust me, you’ll want to wait

Apple's been clear since the start that its Vision Pro mixed reality headset is launching in the US first and there are still no details about an international launch. Now, with Vision Pro preorders live, people are wondering if they can order in the US and then bring the spatial computing platform to their home in, say the UK. The short answer is yes but there are significant caveats.

For those unfamiliar with Apple's newest wearable, Apple Vision Pro is a mixed-reality headset that can provide a full-immersion VR experience, as well as an augmented reality one. 

Vision Pro ships on February 2 when there should be thousands of platform-ready apps, as well as some written specifically to take advantage of its cutting-edge features.

The good news is that Vision Pro is a travel-friendly device. It has that battery pack, after all, and Apple is selling a $ 200 carrying case. In addition, there's a Travel Mode setting that will counter the motion of the airplane. 

I'm not certain what would happen if you wore the headset on an airplane without the mode enabled, but while in flight, everything that works (or plays) at home in your Vision Pro, should work.

Limitations abound

If all of that sounds good to you and you live outside the US, there are some things you need to consider.

Ordering from outside the US, or even as someone who is visiting the US or VPN-ing into the US Apple Vision Pro pre-order site, may find it impossible to get hold of a headset.

Your Apple ID region must be US-based and all the app purchases you made must be through that ID.

If you wear glasses and need the $ 149 Zeiss inserts, you can't present an eyeglass prescription from outside the US, and Zeiss won't ship lens inserts to international customers.

Even if you do manage to come to the US, buy Apple Vision Pro, and bring it back to another country, there are no guarantees that the content you downloaded in the US will work anywhere else (there are often region restrictions based on content licensing). The same goes for the music and Apple TV-based content you buy through the headset. If it's region-set to US, it won't work

Finally, if you just paid $ 3,4999 for Vision Pro, you'll want the best Apple Care available. Unfortunately, Apple Support for the Vision Pro is not available outside the US.

Put simply, it's probably best to wait to buy Vision Pro until it's officially on sale outside the US.

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Here’s your first look at Google’s new AI Assistant with Bard, but you’ll have to wait longer for a release date

2024 is set to see AI playing an increasingly prominent role in all kinds of tech devices and services, and Google is getting the ball rolling by enhancing Google Assistant with Google Bard features, having launched its AI chatbot last year. 

During its Made by Google event in October, Google announced that the new Assistant by Bard would blend elements of both tools to create a generative AI search powerhouse. Its Google Assistant search tool has been integrated across the company’s products since its launch in 2016.  

Google’s developments in AI are transforming the way users experience and interact with its repertoire of apps and services, with AI tools available in Gmail, YouTube, and Google Docs, among others. The merging of Google Bard and Google Assistant features marks the next big step in the company’s plan to integrate AI across all its products and services. 

While Assistant with Bard doesn’t have a confirmed release date just yet, images and video shared by 9to5Google give us an idea of how it will look and function. 

9to5Google suggests that Assistant with Bard will replace Google Assistant altogether across Google and Android devices. If this is true, it’s likely that you’ll access the new AI the same way as you would access Google Assistant; either by commanding “Hey Google”, or long-pressing the power button. 

Looking at the images, the Discover page in the Google search app appears to have received a Bard integration in the form of a slider toggle that enables you to easily switch between a standard Google search and the AI chatbot

Assistant with Bard first look

(Image credit: 9to5Google )

Other images show the pop-up that appears when Assistant by Bard is enabled, allowing you to ask questions by talking, typing, or sharing photos using the three options at the bottom of the screen. Google previewed this design during its October event, at which it launched the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro.  

Assistant with Bard first look

(Image credit: 9to5Google )

Assistant with Bard isn’t yet available to use, but going by the images shared by 9to5Google it appears that the rollout of Google’s next AI development is imminent.  

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Another 2-year wait is almost over for Windows 11 users, this time for Paint’s dark mode

Windows 11 users are finally getting a Paint app with dark mode, as first promised way back by Microsoft – albeit this feature is still progressing through testing for the moment.

Microsoft let us know that an updated Paint app – version 11.2304.26.0 – is now rolling out to testers in the Beta channel, as The Verge spotted. It carries the dark mode among other features.

The Beta channel is the step just before the Release Preview channel in Windows 11 testing, meaning that the dark mode is now coming close to release.

As well as the dark mode – which will automatically be employed if you’ve turned on dark mode in Settings for Windows 11 – the new version of Paint will have an improved zoom feature. The latter allows for finer zoom adjustments, and custom zoom values (alongside the existing preset levels of zoom). Furthermore, there’s a capability that fits the image to the size of the screen (and its resolution) with a click. Nifty.

Analysis: Some swift progress (finally)

The pretty swift progression of the dark mode for Paint in testing, going from the Canary channel at the start of June – which represents the very earliest test builds of Windows 11 – through the Dev channel, and to Beta now, gives us hope that the app will get this feature soon enough.

It’s been a long wait, though – a very long one – because Microsoft actually promised this feature before Windows 11 even arrived on the scene. Since then, there has been lots of clamor to get dark mode added for Paint, but it really has taken some time. At least it looks like Microsoft is sprinting as it nears the finish line.

This isn’t the only instance of a feature taking forever to arrive in Windows 11, of course. Just this week, 3D-style emoji arrived in testing (Canary channel), another feature that was promised for the launch of Windows 11. So, these are both capabilities we’ve had to wait the best part of two years for.

Paint fans should check out some of the mods which have been floating around for the app of late, too – they’re pretty nifty indeed.

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