Windows 7 was a hit and Windows 8.1 a flop, but Windows 10 is the future. However, the Windows 10 adoption rate has been a little sluggish. Now, Microsoft has announced that the latest hardware will not support older versions of Windows, which will probably increase adoption rates to the Windows 10 platform.
So what this means is that Microsoft is no longer going to provide longer-term support for earlier Windows platforms. No longer will you be able to combine older versions of Windows with the latest hardware. Earlier versions of Windows will no longer get the latest updates with new hardware, and might not even work correctly.
Microsoft’s new policy has stated that Windows 10 will be the only Windows platform compatible with upcoming hardware. That doesn’t mean that Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7 and 8.1, just that users can only expect updates for those platforms with more antiquated hardware.
Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said, “Going forward, 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. For example, Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” silicon, Qualcomm’s upcoming “8996” silicon, and AMD’s upcoming “Bristol Ridge” silicon.”
Intel’s Skylake chipset will be among the first not to support both Windows 7 or Windows 8. However, Microsoft is introducing a phasing policy for Skylake that will give companies an 18-month period to upgrade to Windows 10.
“Through July 17, 2017, Skylake devices on the supported list will also be supported with Windows 7 and 8.1. During the 18-month support period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. After July 2017, the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices,” Terry Myerson said of the phasing policy.
There are advantages and disadvantages for the shift in policy. Hardware partners will probably welcome it as they will no longer need to develop software updates for earlier Windows platforms. However, no longer can you upgrade hardware with earlier versions of Windows.