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Microsoft ready to block updates for Windows 7 on latest PCs

Image: Microsoft

20 March 2017

Microsoft may be getting ready to enforce a new support policy for Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 that was announced last year, a recently-revised support document signalled.

Personal computers powered by the latest processors from AMD, Intel and Qualcomm will be blocked from receiving security updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, according to the support document. “Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates,” one potential message stated.

That message, and another that cited error code 80240037, will be triggered when attempts to retrieve updates are made from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 devices powered by seventh-generation processors from Intel and AMD – aka Kaby Lake and Bristol Ridge, respectively – or the next-generation Snapdragon 820 series mobile CPUs from Qualcomm.

Those processors will only be supported by Windows 10, the document said, adding that that meant, “Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.”

Microsoft announced the new-silicon support limitation in January 2016, when it said making Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 run on the latest processors was “challenging”. The company then decreed that Windows 10 would be the only supported edition on seventh-generation and later CPUs and simultaneously dictated a substantial shortening of Windows 7 support. That popular edition would be fully supported on six-generation processors – like Intel’s Skylake – until 17 July 2017. At that point, some Skylake-equipped PCs would continue to receive some security updates; other such PCs would get nothing after the deadline.

Microsoft later walked back the cut-off, first by extending the end-of-support date to July 2018, then by repudiating the entire Skylake proclamation for Windows 7 and 8.1.

The last move – which took place in August – meant that only seventh-generation and later processors from AMD and Intel were on Windows 7’s and 8.1’s no-support lists.

Windows 7 is to receive security updates until 14 January 2020, while Windows 8.1’s support is to end on 10 January 2023.

What’s unclear is whether Microsoft had pulled the trigger on the ‘no patches for older Windows’ rule and was showing users the messages outlined by the support document.

IDG News Service

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