Microsoft revealed late Monday that older versions of Windows will not be supported on the latest PC hardware from Intel and others.
The new rules mean that future PC owners with next-generation Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors will need to use Windows 10.
The way it’s always been in the past is that enterprises could buy today’s hardware, but put their current image on it, only upgrading when it made sense. But with this move, Microsoft changes everything—and with no warning!
In a blog post addressed to enterprise customers, Terry Myerson, executive vice president at Microsoft, explained that new processors won’t run older versions of Windows reliably, and won’t be supported.
“Going forward, as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support.”
That is to say, in the future you can’t use Windows 7 nor 8.1 on Skylake processors that are shipping in systems today, future processors will be supported on Windows 10 only.
The blog post added: “Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago, asserting that Windows 7 just doesn’t cut it anymore because the underlying “legacy” code is too burdensome to continue to support on new chips, particularly for businesses.
“Redesigning Windows 7… to embrace new generations of silicon would introduce churn into the Windows 7 code base.”
Explaining further, Myerson said that it’s difficult to keep older versions of Windows up to date with the latest chip technology.
However, the new policy won’t be enacting immediately, due to the company’s all-important enterprise customers, who often lag behind on hardware and software updates in order to guarantee stability, Microsoft says it will be maintaining a list of approved Skylake systems that are guaranteed to have Windows 7 and 8.1 support through July 17th, 2017. That gives companies an 18-month grace period to buy modern hardware for employees before committing and implementing upgrades to Windows 10.
After that date, 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.