Microsoft has been upfront about its plans to block Windows 7and Windows 8.1 updates on systems with Kaby Lake or Ryzen, but it's never been clear exactly when. Now it is—reports are coming in from all over the web that Microsoft is actively blocking updates to older OSes on PCs with newer processors.
Users who try to fetch an update on an unsupported system are met with an error message.
"Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows. Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version you are currently using, your system will miss important security updates. Please select the 'Learn More' link to address the situation," the message reads, according to Arstechnica.
Microsoft first announced its revised update policy way back in January 2016. At the time, Microsoft was focused on blocking updates to Skylake systems, though this was later revised. As it stands now, some Skylake systems are still being supported in Windows 7 and 8.1, while others are not.
With Kaby Lake and Ryzen, there is no such distinction—it does not matter which processor SKU you own, if you're not running Windows 10, you will not receive updates.
Microsoft's reasoning is that older versions of Windows could not have anticipated the features and capabilities of newer processors. For example, Windows 7 does not natively support USB 3 or NVMe. Obviously that more of a hypothetical problem than a show-stopper, as previous generations of Windows have used drivers to add support for things like TRIM, USB 2.0/3.0, and more, but Microsoft is taking a different tactic now.
"As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support,” a Microsoft spokeswoman told PCWorld last September. "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."
Ryzen and Kaby Lake system owners running Windows 7 and 8.1 already began receiving update warnings last month, though Microsoft was not actively blocking updates. Now there's an interesting situation where businesses that haven't upgraded their infrastructure to Windows 10 yet will have to do that before purchasing any current generation PCs.
Meanwhile, both of the older OSes are still generally supported by Microsoft. Windows 8.1 will continue to receive mainstream support until January 2018, while Windows 7 has entered the extended support phase, which runs until January 2020.