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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  • doggface - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    There is so much wrong in this.
    First of all. The consumer market is a fraction of the money they make.
    Enterprise buy per seat licenses. Many of them are still on win7. But they could deploy win7->10 if they like as long as they pay per seat. The OS version number doesn't matter to the cost.

    Win10 is not about catapulting into another market. It is about keeping windows attractive for developers. That includes adding features that are generally found in mobile first OSs. Win8 was a miscalc but win10 is a very different beast. If you cant see that, I would suggest you haven't used it for a long enough period of time.

    It amuses me that people think MS should just add features to their OS forever for nothing. They have maybe the best LT support of all OSs and you still want more? Crazy.
  • Donkey2008 - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    "The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers"

    Having a MS account is optional with Windows 10 right now. Next week it may be mandatory. Who knows. Every Microsoft decision seems to be made with a coin flip these days. It is still the most dysfunctional management in the tech industry. So much wasted potential.
  • coit - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    I have 10 on 3 computers and I have no problems.
    On my workstation, I have tried 10 Pro twice. Everything's OK till I try to use IE.
    It crawls and is unusable and I hate Edge. No right click on the back button amongst other irritations.
    So I revert to 7 Pro, then you have to sort through the updates to see what crap they're going to dump on you to prepare and nag you to upgrade. Everyone keeps making excuses for Microsoft, but they committing the cardinal sin: telling the customer what they want.
  • damianrobertjones - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    Customers usually have no idea what they want until told by x or y.
  • Murloc - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    the average consumer is helpless, you know what a workstation is, you're not an average consumer.
  • Donkey2008 - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    "So I revert to 7 Pro, then you have to sort through the updates to see what crap they're going to dump on you to prepare and nag you to upgrade"

    No matter how many times I hide KB303583 it keeps coming back over and over.
  • spikey27 - Sunday, March 20, 2016 - link

    Through several forums, and keeping an eye on Microsoft's "sneakware", these KB's appear to be involved in the W-10 update (l doubt this is a complete list BTW):


    Best wishes on dodging the W-10 bullet.
  • Donkey2008 - Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - link

    I personally don't concern myself with updates that do pre-upgrade checks for compatibility. It is KB3035583 that installs the GWX nagware, so that is the one I try to avoid. I was primarily speaking about home users by the way. I just run a script to prevent the Win10 OS upgrade and if KB3035583 is installed, I just run a script to uninstall it. The problem is that I have hidden that update several times and it keeps getting put back into the update queue.

    At companies we just hide KB3035583 in WSUS or SCCM and it isn't an issue.
  • BurntMyBacon - Monday, March 21, 2016 - link

    @coit: "Everyone keeps making excuses for Microsoft, but they committing the cardinal sin: NOT BEING APPLE AND telling the customer what they want."

    Fixed That For You.
  • UltraWide - Saturday, March 19, 2016 - link

    It's time to move forward. Taking a page of the OSX playbook. ;)

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