Microsoft is blocking Windows 7 and 8 updates on Intel's seventh generation Core i3, i5 and i7 (Kaby Lake), AMD's Ryzen (Bristol Ridge) and Qualcomm's 8996 processors. Devices powered by these processors must update to Windows 10 in order to receive updates from Microsoft.
The problem will manifest only when you try to run Windows Update, when you'll see an error message: "Windows could not search for new updates" and "Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error".
Responding to a request on the subject, a spokesperson said "As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon".
And this does, in fairness to Microsoft, make some sort of sense. It wants to make sure Windows runs as well as possible on new silicon. It can do that on Windows 10 because it's a current product, and it will be installed on most new-build PCs running these processors. It makes less sense to go back and optimise Windows 7 and 8, especially as the former is now officially in "extended support", which will end in 2020. Windows 8 support ends in 2023.
Additionally, while Intel Skylake processors are currently supported on Windows 7 and 8, they won't be from July. So users with those operating systems will also be forced to upgrade in order to keep updates coming. Microsoft didn't explain to me how it would charge users now the free Window is closed. That said, I understand you can still use Windows 7 and 8 product keys on fresh Windows 10 installs. But please check that before blindly wiping all your data on my say so.
However, there is something going on here I don't like. While it's certainly true that Microsoft will optimise Windows 10 continually, it doesn't need to pull support for Windows Updates on new processors. It is still, however it's spun, trying to get a greater number of people off Windows 7 and 8 and onto Windows 10. I understand the business objective, I'm just not fond of being held hostage over updates.
What's more, the wording is clear that this will be an ongoing thing. Of course Microsoft pledged that it would put an end big numeric updates to Windows. There will be, it says, no Windows 11. But instead users will be updated to new versions of what I expect will become simply "Windows" in the future. But what that does also mean is that if there are additional things added to Windows that you dislike, you won't have any option to use an old version of Windows instead. While there will be user benefits to this strategy, it also means that Microsoft is taking away a measure of control from users.
Some people have very real problems with Windows 10 too. For example it's currently being accused of switching background updates on for metered connections (in a beta only for now). People have reported adverts in Windows 10's explorer, and even I get constant hassle about OneDrive on Windows. There are also some who are bothered by Windows telemetry, which is said to closely monitor some on-PC activity and report back to base.
So I get where Microsoft is going with this. For many, Windows 10 will be their OS of choice anyway. But for others the whole thing will leave a new sour taste in their mouths. You can read the company's justification in detail on its Windows Experience blog.
Follow me on Twitter @IanMorris78 or Google+ and read all of my Forbes articles on my profile page. I also regularly appear on the Tech's Message Podcast which you can find on ACast.Read More...
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