Microsoft is stepping up its efforts to push the world onto Windows 10 by revising its support policy in a way that means newly purchased PCs will no longer support older editions of its operating system.
The new rules will mean that anyone who buys a PC powered by one of Intel’s, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD)’s or Qualcomm Inc.’s next-generation processors will be forced to run Windows 10 (unless they want to install a Linux-based OS, of course).
Essentially, Microsoft is saying that it’s no longer going to put in the work required to ensure that new hardware works with its older operating systems. It would still be possible to install an older version of Windows on a new machine of course, but it would be impossible to update them, and in some cases the software may not function properly.
“Going forward, as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support,” said Microsoft in a blog posted last Friday. “Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel’s upcoming ‘Kaby Lake’ silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming ‘8996’ silicon, and AMD’s upcoming ‘Bristol Ridge’ silicon.”
Microsoft will still continue to support Windows 7 through to January 14, 2020 and Windows 8.1 until January 10, 2023, but updates will only be available if your system is running older hardware compatible with the software.
So those who’re looking to go shopping for a new PC need to be aware that any machine packing one of Intel’s current sixth-generation Skylake processors won’t be able to support older versions of Windows.
However, a loophole does remain for Microsoft’s all-important enterprise customers. Microsoft desperately wants them all to install Windows 10 as soon as possible, but realizes it can’t shove them too hard for fear of pissing off a lot of IT people. For that reason, Microsoft says a number of approved Skylake systems will continue to receive Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support through to July 17, 2017. In other words, companies have 18 months before they have to update their latest hardware to Windows 10.
Once that grace period ends, Microsoft says that only “the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.”
Companies and consumers alike can still avoid all of this pushing by Microsoft by purchasing older PC hardware that doesn’t use the latest CPUs. Intel’s previous generation chips, known as Broadwell, are thankfully, still widely available and deliver more than enough punch for most people’s needs.