Microsoft Makes Windows 10 the Only Choice for New CPUs
Tip: this support policy change is much related to Intel Skylake buyers as well as users who have a plan to upgrade their CPUs or buy new PCs, so these people should pay particular attention.
Recently, Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President for Windows and Devices Group, disclosed their new Windows support policy in a blog post, which mainly includes 3 points:
1.Windows 7 running on old versions of CPUs (older than Skylake but not include this processor) will continue to be supported for security, reliability, and compatibility until its extended support time (January 14, 2020) ends, and Windows 8.1 running on previous generations of CPUs will receive the same support through January 10, 2023.
2.Through July 17, 2017, Skylake (the six generation of CPU from Intel) devices on the supported list will be well supported with Windows 7 and 8.1. But after this date, only the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be made available only if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices. If these users want to get continuous support after the date, they need to upgrade to Windows 10 before the 18-month support period ends. In addition, Windows 7 and 8.1 running on Skylake devices which are not on the supported list will not be supported even during the 18-month support period. For continuous support, they also need to upgrade their system to Windows 10 or downgrade CPUs.
3.New silicon generations (CPUs), such as Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming “8996” silicon, and AMD’s upcoming “Bristol Ridge” silicon, will require the latest Windows platform for support, which means new CPUs will support Windows 10 platform only, and you cannot downgrade the system to either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
A part of supported Skylake devices: Dell Latitude 12, Dell Latitude 13 7000 Ultrabook, Dell XPS 13, HP EliteBook Folio, HP EliteBook 1040 G3, Lenovo ThinkPad T460s, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and Lenovo ThinkPad P70. For more supported Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices on Skylake platforms, please see Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Check whether your computers are supported by Microsoft with operating system. Actually, even if your device is now not on the list, don’t worry and keep a watchful eye on your OEM’s website, because they will periodically update their list of supported systems when new supported models are released. However, if your device is finally proved to be not supported, upgrade to Windows 10 or downgrade CPU before the deadline.
From what Terry Myerson said in this blog we know both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have to gradually give place to Windows 10 though Windows 8 was released just for 3 years and has similar kernel to Windows 10, and Windows 10 will be the only system working on new CPUs.
Well, why Microsoft made such an unbelievable support policy change? What influences the change will bring? And what countermeasures can we take? Next, let’s answer these problems in detail.
Why Microsoft Makes Such a Change
Microsoft may officially say doing this is to offer users better computing experience and take advantage of new capabilities in newly introduced CPUs. This is true to some extent. For example, Windows 10 has new biometric authentication features, which make it possible for users to log in to PCs through face or fingerprint detection, making Windows 10 more secure. And Windows 10 can also access Intel's depth-sensing RealSense cameras for biometric scanning, and tap into new sensor hubs and image signal processors in Intel's newer mobile processors, thus offering better performance. In addition, Terry Myerson also claims Skylake when combined with Windows 10 enables up to 30x better graphics and 3x the battery life, and with the Intel Skylake vPro, biometric authentication data is stored in firmware at the chip layer rather than the drive, providing high-level protection. Nevertheless, does this mean running Windows 10 on old versions of CPUs cannot bring users good computing experience? If so, why at the very beginning of time Windows encourage all Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users rather than those using new generation of CUPs to free upgrade to Windows 10? This is a question deserving our deep thinking.
Another reason from Microsoft is that Windows XP support has ended, and running Windows 7 on any modern CPUs, device drivers and firmware needs to emulate Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states, which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security, and so on. Therefore, Windows 10 is better for new CPUs. However, from this statement it is not difficult to see Microsoft didn’t mention Windows 8 or 8.1 intentionally, which still can be regarded as a new Microsoft operating system (released in October of 2012). So this does not explain why Windows 8.1 users also need to upgrade to Windows 10.
Actually the following 3 reasons for this change are more reliable:
- So far, lots of enterprise users decline or hesitate to upgrade to Windows 10 (due to company policies, upgrade schedules, legacy application, peripheral compatibility, security, etc.), so Microsoft hopes to drive this part of people to do the upgrade via this way.
- From a survey of NETMARKETSHARE we know till December, 2015, Windows 7 takes up the most market share, up to 55.68%, Windows XP follows with 10.93%, Windows 8.1 with 10.3%, and Windows 10 is just with 9.96%, located in the fourth place.
And another investigation indirectly shows only a small part of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have upgraded to Windows 10, and maybe lots of original Windows XP users contribute to the increase of Windows 10 market share.
Under the situation where Windows 7 and Windows 8 take up more than half of the operating system market share, Microsoft has to take countermeasures to unify its ecosystems to Windows 10. After all, they hope at least one billion devices are running Windows 10 after 2016.
- Providing technical support and security updates for multiple older versions of operating systems would waste Microsoft much time and resources.
Well then, can this change bring expected effects? Or what possible influences does this change bring? We made the following guesses.
What Will Microsoft Support Policy Change Bring
Undoubtedly, there will be more and more Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users upgrading their system to Windows 10, and naturally Windows 10 market share will be increasing gradually. But as to how many market shares will Windows 10 take up in the future, it is difficult to say, which may disappoint Microsoft.
We have said lots of enterprise users (home users can also be included) haven’t upgraded or hesitate to upgrade their system to Windows 10 because of upgrade schedules, application/peripheral compatibility, security issues (Microsoft doesn’t do well in security updates and Windows 10 may leak users’ privacy), and more. For those who are using old CPUs, they would continue to use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 since these systems will be well supported by Microsoft until January 14, 2020 for Windows 7 and January 10, 2023 for Windows 8.1. But for those who are running Windows 7 or 8.1 on Intel Skylake, some of them choose to upgrade to Windows 10 before July 17, 2017 for continuous support, while others choose to downgrade CPU or cost extra money to get security support. Considering the fact that lots of Windows 7 and 8.1 devices are running old CPUs (Skylake was just released in August of 2015), we guess not so many users will upgrade to Windows 10.
In addition, Microsoft’s this new support policy change seems to force users to upgrade to Windows 10 , I think, so that some users may choose to run Linux or Mac OS X. Unquestionably, this will affect market share of Windows 10 or even Microsoft OS to some extent.
Now that there are a great number of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users even after the support policy change has been put into practice, Microsoft still needs to cost extra energy and resources to offer support until the extended support is expired.
Just as we said just now, a part of Skylake users choose to downgrade their CPUs for continuous Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support, which will definitely increase the sale of old versions of CPUs, like Brodway and Haswell, and reduce the sale of new generations of silicons.
In addition, if new laptops and desktops are pre-installed with Windows 10, users who are more willing to use Windows 7 or 8.1 would choose to build their own computer by choosing supported CPUs rather than buy new computers. As a result, sales of Lenovo, HP, Dell, or some other manufactures would be reduced.
For Windows Users
Definitely, users who have upgraded or plan to upgrade to Windows 10 could get promised security or technical support coming from Microsoft, as well as experience a lot of amazing features which are only seen in Windows 10, like biometric authentication, Cortana, Windows Hello, and Xbox Streaming, but they have to cost extra time to do the upgrade if they were previously running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. And during this process, they may meet different kinds of problems, for example Blue Screen Errors Appear during Windows 10 Upgrade, or important data get lost after the upgrade as they forgot to make a backup in advance. All these issues are troublesome.
Tip: if users decide to upgrade to Windows 10, please do the upgrade before July 29, 2016, because Win 10 was released on July 29th of 2015 and Microsoft only promises 1 year free upgrade. That is to say after this date we have to pay for it.
For those who are using Skylake but insist on running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, they have to replace the Skylake with older CPU, which is an unnecessary cost. In addition, once Windows 10 becomes the only choice for new CPUs, users who hope to run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on new computers have to turn to desktop and configure each part of the computer by themselves. However, we believe inexperienced people would have difficulties in configuring an excellent desktop.
Summary: it is believed that nobody is willing to be forced to do something, and we just hope Microsoft gives us chances to choose what we like. Do you have the same feeling? Now share your ideas.
Further reading: no matter which decision you make, upgrade to Windows 10 or continue to use Windows 7 or 8.1, here are some useful suggestions:
1.Prepare a data recovery software, which can help recover data lost due to different kinds of logical errors, such as mistaken deletion, accidental formatting, system reinstallation or upgrade, and virus attack.
2.Download a piece of free partitioning software, because it may help solve some upgrading problems, like Windows 10 Upgrade Couldn’t Update System Reserved Partition. In addition, it is also a tool that can do all Windows users a great favor on disk partitioning, including copy disk, convert non-system disk from MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, convert dynamic disk to basic, change partition size/location, align partition, check and fix file system, convert FAT 32 to NTFS, as so on.
Finally, we hope this post could be useful for those who are running Windows 7 or 8.1 on Skylake devices or planning to purchase new PCs or interested in this topic. Please leave your comments below to help us improve the post, and we will try our best to help you if a question is posted.