Back in January, Microsoft made a rather surprising announcement that it was changing the support model for older operating systems running on the latest Skylake hardware. As part of the announcement, going forward, the latest processors and chipsets would only be supported on the current version of Windows. As of now, and for the foreseeable future, that means new chips will only be supported on Windows 10.

This was a surprise because both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are still in their “extended support” phase, and generally that means the operating system is left as is, but security updates are done until the end of extended support. For businesses especially, many had just finished their Windows 7 upgrade and there was not necessarily a big push to start over again. But at the same time, workstations need to be replaced. As a slight reprieve, Microsoft said in January that they would provide a list of computers that would have support for Skylake until July 2017. Since then, the list has been made available here:

There was some ambiguity about the initial notification though. After July 2017, patches that are found to cause an issue with Skylake systems would be excluded from certain security patches. But what that meant exactly wasn’t stated. Today Microsoft has both extended the diary date for the end of support, as well as provided a bit more clarity on what will happen after.

First, the new end of support for the listed computers is now July 17, 2018. That is a one-year extension over the initial date. The initial 2017 date was so short that I’m sure Microsoft got some not so friendly responses from their largest enterprise customers who are most certainly going to have Skylake systems running Windows 7. July 2018 should be enough time for actual planning and testing to be done.

Second, all critical patches will be addressed for Skylake systems until the end of mainstream support for the operating system, which is January 2020 for Windows 7, and January 2023 for Windows 8.1. This clears up the odd wording previously announced, and means that if you have to continue running Windows 7 on the approved machines after July 2018, you won’t be left vulnerable to a security issue that is already patched.

What is not changing is the stance on future hardware. When the latest AMD and Intel processors are released, they will only be supported on Windows 10. But at least this policy is laid out ahead of time, instead of them changing the policy half way through support. Pray they don’t alter it any further.

There’s a big difference between something capable of running Windows 7 and something that is supported running Windows 7, especially when you have critical infrastructure. Future hardware may run just fine on Windows 7 if you can put up with issues like Ian had installing Windows 7 on a new Skylake system when he was forced to use an optical disk. For business, they likely want to stick to the supported methods unless they have ambitious IT departments.

Source: TechNet Blog


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  • damianrobertjones - Monday, March 21, 2016 - link

    Good lord man... the moment MS released UAC the internet decided to turn it off! The world would crumble if MS did such a thing.
  • Sivar - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    That doesn't work. I merely to choose a nearby restart date, or have it decided for me if I do not.
    If I have a 15 day render, what does it matter if I get to reboot tomorrow or next Monday if the render's progress is lost either way?
  • r3loaded - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    It doesn't automatically restart anymore unless there's no one logged in. It'll simply put up a message saying "Updates have been installed, restart when possible".
  • inighthawki - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    That's definitely not true for me. My surface, which is on insider builds, has installed entire OS flights and rebooted when even in connected standby before. It's the worst experience ever to open up my device and find out its 42% through an OS install... I had not configured the device, though, so it may have been with "automatically install updated" instead of "notify to schedule"
  • jardows2 - Monday, March 21, 2016 - link

    The difference is that you are on the insider builds. As an insider, you are under different rules, and should expect things like this.
  • 06GTOSC - Monday, March 21, 2016 - link

    You've been able to do this for a long time in Windows and 10 is no different. You simply tell it to notify you and it doesn't automatically install them.
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    Win10 still has a newer version of the kernel and it's not worth updating Win8 for a number of reasons. You can still use Skylake on such a system if you really want. More importantly, how many new/upgraded Skylake systems are getting built/upgraded with Win8.x? They need to focus on Win10, and they want Win8 users to get on board. Adding support for new processor features and instructions is counter-productive in addition to being a waste of resources.
  • e36Jeff - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    You can access the control panel by right clicking the start button and selecting control panel. literally the same number of clicks as 7 & 8.
  • Krysto - Sunday, March 27, 2016 - link

    > But at least now they're making sure to keep Skylake systems up to date in terms of security patches.

    Except only until for another year or so.
  • ChefJeff789 - Friday, March 18, 2016 - link

    I like Windows 10, but MS is pushing too hard for Windows 10 on every system. The obnoxious upgrade reminders, the telemetry reporting, and the occasional forced upgrades to Windows 10 are really starting to grate on a lot of people.

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