Microsoft announced some time ago that new silicon as the company called it back then would not be officially supported on Windows 7 or 8.1.
This meant basically that only Windows 10 would support Intel's, AMD's and Qualcomm's new processors, while Windows 7 or 8.1 would not.
This does not mean that Windows 7 or 8.1 won't install on machines running these new processors, but that Microsoft (and the manufacturer) won't offer any form of support for those devices.
A new support page on the Microsoft website suggests that users who run an unsupported processor on an older version of Windows -- read Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 -- won't be able to scan for or download Windows updates anymore.
Users will get the following error message when they run the scan:
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.
Microsoft notes that users may see other error messages when they use Windows Update, including:
Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.
The cause, according to Microsoft, is that "new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support". Microsoft mentions seventh generation Intel processors, AMD "Bristol Ridge" and Qualcomm "8996" processor families specifically on the support page.
The company has a solution for users affected by the issue: upgrade to Windows 10:
We recommend that you upgrade Windows 8.1-based and Window 7-based computers to Windows 10..
Is there another option besides upgrading the operating system to Windows 10? Updates that are released for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 are also made available on the Microsoft Update Catalog website.
I don't have access to one of the processors mentioned on the support page, but it is possible that manual installation of updates released for Windows 7 or 8.1 still works. While this means more work for the user, as it is necessary to monitor update releases to run searches on the Microsoft Update Catalog whenever they are released, it may be an option to keep on using the older version of Windows.
Microsoft does not mention this explicitly on the support page, but it does not deny it either.
Because of how this support policy is implemented, 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.
Blocking Windows devices from using Windows Update is certainly an anti-consumer friendly move with the aim to get users to upgrade to Windows 10.
Now You: Do you think Microsoft is going too far with this policy?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.