Microsoft retreated from an earlier retirement date for Windows 7 and 8.1 support on newer hardware, saying that it would now support those OSes on PCs running Intel’s Skylake silicon. The decision is a partial rollback of a January announcement that Microsoft called a “clarification” of its support policy. Under the January plan, Microsoft would have ended support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on July 17, 2017, if the operating systems were powering machines equipped with its now-current Skylake processor family.
At the time, Microsoft credited the decision to Windows 7’s age and the hassle that Microsoft and OEMs would have to go through to ensure the 2009 operating system runs on Intel’s latest architecture.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s top Windows and devices executive, said in blog post.
“As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing,”
Myerson’s solution: Shorten support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on the newest PCs by at least 30 months, and decree that, going forward, next-generation processors would require the “latest Windows platform at that time for support.” In other words, Windows 10.
The move was the first time Microsoft had mandated a broad restriction on what edition of Windows customers could run on which hardware. Some analysts saw it as yet another tactic in Microsoft’s strategy to coerce customers into adopting Windows 10.
Support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on certain Skylake PCs will now continue until July 17, 2018, a one-year extension from the original deadline. After that date, Microsoft and its computer-making partners will not guarantee that they will revise device drivers to support those editions of Windows on newer hardware.
Microsoft acknowledged that its change of mind had been driven by complaints from the firm’s most important customers.
Miller was referring to comments a Lenovo executive made last week during a call with partners. As reported by Channelnomics.com, Adrienne Mueller, Lenovo’s North America ThinkPad product manager, said Microsoft should back off the 18-month deadline of July 2017.Bottom of Form
“The thought here is that Microsoft is really just pushing customers to move to Windows 10,” Mueller said. “A lot of reactions from our customers … is, ‘Can we influence Microsoft and tell them they’re not ready to transition and try to get them to prolong support on that?’ We’ve tried, and Microsoft’s not really willing to do that.”