“Gordon Kelly, Contributer, Forbes Tech”
Think your copy of Windows 7 is supported until 2020? Think your copy of Windows 8 is supported until 2023? You might want to think again because Microsoft has just announced radical changes to how it will treat users of both operating systems…
Talking on its Windows Blog, Microsoft has announced it will now stop support for installations of Windows 7 or Windows 8 if they are on new or upgraded computers running the latest chips from Intel, AMD or Qualcomm.
In fact Microsoft is going even further than this by also refusing to support Windows 7 and Windows 8 on Intel’s current generation ‘Skylake’ processors, with the exception of a “list of specific new Skylake devices”.
Yes, you read this right: Microsoft is breaking from 31 years of Windows history by refusing to honour its promised Windows lifecycles unless users stick to old hardware. Upgrade your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer to these chipsets or buy new hardware and install Windows 7 or Windows 8 on it and the official Windows Lifecycle dates don’t mean a thing.
Why Is Microsoft Doing This?
In its blog post Microsoft makes the argument that it all comes down to the effort required to keep Windows 7 (released in October 2009) running well on the latest hardware.
Who Is Affected By This?
Perhaps surprisingly Microsoft is initially going after businesses with these changes first. In justifying this the blog post states:
“In clarifying this policy, we are prioritizing transparency with enterprises on where to find the highest reliability and best supported Windows experience: Windows 10 on any silicon, Windows 7 on the down-level silicon it was designed for, or a device on the support list.”
So should consumers be worried? I’d say yes. Whereas Microsoft has previously admitted to using Windows 10 consumers as guinea pigs for business when it comes to security, here businesses are guinea pigs for consumers with regards to upgrade pressure. It’s a strange tactic given businesses are usually tougher to push upgrades on than consumers, but there seems little reason the tactic won’t be expanded to consumers should it prove successful.
As such we find ourselves in a familiar situation. Those with the technical willpower to move to Linux and replace their essential programs will promote this route and those with the financial means to move to Apple and replace their essential programs will promote that route. But for everyone else Microsoft has a captive audience and it is becoming clear that a future on Windows means Windows 10…