Microsoft is curtailing hardware support for older versions of Windows. The Redmond, Washington company has announced that moving forward new processors from major chipmakers will only support Windows 10. This is company’s newest move to push users to make the switch to Windows 10, limiting their OS of choice when buying new hardware.
Essentially, all new desktops, laptops, and tablets that come with the latest processors – whether it is from AMD, or Intel, or Qualcomm – won’t support Windows 7, Windows 8 or any version of the operating system other than Windows 10. Users of current generation Intel Skylake hardware will also be affected.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Windows chief Terry Myerson announced that Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lakeprocessor lineup (based on Intel’s next gen 14nm SoCs), Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, and AMD’s Carrizo will only support Windows 10, the desktop operating system Microsoft released to public on July 29. But why? Here’s how Microsoft explains it.
“Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SoCs existed. For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states – which is challenging for Wi-Fi, graphics, security, and more,” Myerson wrote. “As partners make customisations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing.”
Microsoft said it will only support select desktop versions of Intel’s 6th-generation Core processor – better known as Skylake – until July 17, 2017. Post that date, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users on Skylake will only receive security and other critical updates for their “on previous generation silicon.” The company said that after July 2017, it will seed most critical updates to these owners provided the update doesn’t risk the “reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.”
The company hopes that users would utilise the 18-month period to switch to a newer version of Windows. Intel and Microsoft said the Skylake platform were designed for each other, and certain features can only be supported on the new hardware. Microsoft has previously committed to support Windows 7 until 2020 and Windows 8.1 until 2023. This means that users, and most especially enterprise users, will be forced to switch to the Windows 10 ecosystem ahead of these deadlines that they might have planned for, if they intend to use new hardware within the next 4-7 years. It could certainly be seen as a rude shock to enterprise users, who may now be forced to stick to older hardware just to run their chosen operating systems.
This wouldn’t affect most average consumers as they are happy with running whichever operating system that ships with their computer. However, many will find this as disheartening. The change in company’s support policy means that users wouldn’t be able to test Windows 7 or Windows 8 – their existing setup – on the newest chipsets.