Microsoft announced that starting with Windows 10, it will provide software support for the latest processors only on the latest Windows platform. This will further push users to upgrade their OS in order to use the newest generation of processor technologies.
Throughout the last years, when a new processor is released, Microsoft has released software support for it in every supported version of Windows on the market. These updates at times are extremely important to maintaining the smooth operations of the system with new hardware, such as the update that was released alongside the Pentium 4 Prescott processors to view Hyper-Threaded cores differently than full fledged CPU cores. A more recent example is the update for AMD’s Bulldozer CPUs that marked half of the cores in a similar way as Hyper-Threaded cores, so that Windows more evenly distribute tasks among the available MCMs.
“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,” said Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President at Microsoft, in a blog post.
SImilarly, Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows 10 all received updates related to Intel’s new Skylake processors, but when Skylake’s successor, Kaby Lake, and AMD’s Bristol Ridge processors are released, Microsoft will update only Windows 10 to support them. If you are still using an older Windows OS, you might be able to use these processors, too, but you may encounter instability, increased power draw, and lower performance relative to Windows 10.
Even with updates to extend Skylake Support to Windows 7, Microsoft claimed that negative side effects of using an older OS over Windows 10 are already quite tangible.
According to Myerson, “Compared to Windows 7 PC’s, Skylake when combined with Windows 10, enables up to 30x better graphics and 3x the battery life – with the unmatched security of Credential Guard utilizing silicon supported virtualization.“
This also extends to SoCs from companies such as Qualcomm and Samsung that are placed into Windows-based devices. Microsoft said that users on older OSes that currently have Skylake support should plan to move to Windows 10 in the near future as well, as Microsoft will stop supplying updates related to Skylake to these operating systems on July 17, 2017.
It is interesting to see that Microsoft opted to make this change of policy starting with Windows 10. Although there may be some tangible benefits to upgrading to Windows 10, Microsoft appears to want everyone to move to Windows 10 so badly that it is giving the OS away. We previously commented on the amount of data Windows 10 gathers from its users for the purpose of advertising, and it seems that this move by Microsoft is just another way of pushing users on to Windows 10.
If you want to get the full performance out of your Skylake, Kaby Lake, or AMD Zen system, it looks like you will need to make the move to Windows 10.