Microsoft To Limit Support For Upcoming Processors To Windows 10

Microsoft To Limit Support For Upcoming Processors To Windows 10

It’s been a long time since we’ve had to worry about CPU / OS incompatibilities. In fact, the last time it was an issue was the shift from x86 to x64, but that was largely transparent to consumers thanks to AMD and its x86-64 specification, which was later adopted by Intel. Now, with Windows 7 having just entered its extended support phase, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to drop the news that only Windows 10 will be supported on upcoming CPUs.

This post was originally published on Gizmodo Australia.

Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive VP for the Windows and Devices Group, explained the move over on the official Windows blog:

Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SOCs existed. For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states — which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security and more.

Myerson goes on to mention that because driver vendors have to keep accommodating Windows 7 in updates and new software, it makes it difficult to push forward with improvements on the more modern Windows 8.1 and 10.

As such, the company has made the decision to distance itself from older processors and platforms. Intel’s Skylake refresh “Kaby Lake” will mark the start of this transition:

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.

A list of supported devices will make an appearance in the near future and will help clear up what will work where:

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.

That doesn’t mean Windows 7 will magically stop working on new CPUs and it’s clear in the above statement Windows 10 won’t suddenly explode on older hardware. It does however draw a line in the sand for Intel, Microsoft, AMD and other companies where we can finally make the proper transition to cutting-edge 64-bit silicon, rather than wallow with one foot in the 32-bit pool.

It was going to happen eventually and while it was a painful day when 16-bit applications stopped working in Windows, we all got over it eventually. And hey, there will always be Linux.

Windows 10 Embracing Silicon Innovation [Microsoft]


  • I’d love to upgrade from Win7.
    The problem is that for productivity purposes, Win8 and Win10 are downgrades.

    Microsoft have decided to follow Apple’s profit model, deliberately gimping their OS to maximise profit from their app store.

    But I need the exact opposite, I need an OS which is optimised to provide an efficient platfom for running numerous pieces of serious engineering software simultaneously.

    • windows 10 is fine for that, PROVIDING that your software has been optimized to run on windows 10. its not really a fault with microsoft.
      i work for an oil and gas company with a lot of intensive software and we want to rollout windows 10, but at the moment we are holding back until the companies that make the software make sure its fully compatible for our engineers and geologist and geophysicists.

      so its not really that win 8 and 10 are down grades, its that your software suites are the weak link.

      ive been using windows 10 since the previews were released and i have not touched the app store once. i ignore it happily and use windows like you would have with win 7.
      if i want apps, ill use my android phone.

        • i work in IT, all us IT guys use windows 10.
          most of the admin people and non technical people like accounts, legal, corporate are also slowly being rolled out on windows 10.
          our geos and engineers are and arent depending on what software they need to run locally.
          we use a big virtual envornment too called Citrix. the VMs that people currently use in Citrix are win 7, but thats only because windows 10 isnt supported in the VM form as an OS (actually, i think they just realised an update on Monday to support Windows 10 VMs).
          but the main point i was making is, its not a fault of the OS, its a fault of the software engineers writing and upgrading the software for the various programs that are needed.

          • Well my main point is that win10 would have to much better than ‘fine’ to justify leaving win7 (which is outstanding).

          • i feel as though windows 10 is outstanding.

            but yeah – its much of a muchness when it comes down to personal preference.

    • Win 10 user here since release. I can’t even tell you how to get to the app store it’s that obtrusive.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!