Microsoft  pares support for certain Intel PCs

Microsoft pares support for certain Intel PCs

Microsoft has shortened its Windows lifecycle support policies for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on machines with Skylake processors.

Those Skylake-based machines that can run Windows 7/8.1 will have to upgrade to Windows 10 by July 17, 2017, or risk running "unsupported" Windows versions, the company said. That means the unsupported software will not get security patches or hotfixes from Microsoft, which is a potential security risk for individuals and organizations.

Skylake is Intel's processor technology found in machines with familiar Xeon, Pentium and Celeron processors that bear Intel's sixth-generation core branding. Microsoft's list of those Skylake-based computers affected by the new Windows support policy changes -- nearly 200 models from Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC -- can be found here.

The policy change could be a factor for organizations that exercise downgrade rights when buying new PCs. The truncated July 17, 2017, end-of-support date will have to be kept in mind.

That end-of-support date could be confusing because systems with older processors -- no newer than Intel’s fifth-generation Haswell processors -- will still get support. Microsoft's Windows lifecycle fact sheet shows Windows 7 Service Pack 1 with "extended support" through Jan. 14, 2020 and Windows 8.1 with extended support through Jan. 10, 2023. However, those support dates apply only to older processor technologies, not to Skylake and newer technologies.

For Skylake-based machines, Microsoft shortened its Windows lifecycle support policies by three years for Windows 7 and six years for Windows 8.1.

Microsoft's announcement indicated that, going forward, emerging new hardware technologies would be supported only for Windows 10. The company specifically pointed to Intel's "Kaby Lake," AMD's "Bristol Ridge" and Qualcomm's "8996" emerging technologies as having Microsoft's support only when running Windows 10.

A version of this article originally appeared on RedmondMag.com, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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