As Computer World has pointed out, Microsoft is preparing to stop providing updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 to computers running on the latest hardware, specifically Intel and AMD 7th-Gen processors. While the intention was first announced at the beginning of 2016, only recently has evidence surfaced suggesting that the policy will soon be enforced. Those users running 7th-Gen processors will be forced to either upgrade to Windows 10, or forgo Windows updates entirely.
On March 9th, a support page appeared outlining the error message that users of 7th-Gen processors will receive when trying to update a copy of Windows 7/8.1. As the document explains:
This [update failure] error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:
- Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors
- AMD “Bristol Ridge”
- Qualcomm “8996″
Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.
Terry Myerson, Director of the Windows and Devices teams for Microsoft, first warned of this early last year in a company blog post:
“Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago…. 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… As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing.”
Older computers and chipsets running Windows 7 will continue to receive updates until the allotted date of January 14th, 2020, at which time all Windows 7 support will cease. Windows 8.1 support continues until January 10th, 2023, at which time it meets the same fate.