Microsoft Backtracks On Draconian Skylake Support Restrictions For Windows 7 And Windows 8.1

Microsoft set off a nuclear blast in the PC enthusiast community this past January when it announced that it would cut off support for Intel Skylake-based machines running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on July 17th, 2017. This was ostensibly a move to force more users to upgrade to Windows 10, or else face the possibility of losing access to security updates.

The folks in Redmond, Washington justified the move at the time, citing the “advanced” age of the operating systems. Microsoft did, however, give some of its top OEM partners a reprieve, exempting select machines from its banhammer. Needless to say, reaction from enthusiasts came swiftly and viciously.

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Microsoft backpedaled a bit two months later, extending the cutoff date for full support to July 17th, 2018. Microsoft also at the time announced that Skylake users would receive critical updates through the end of the extended support period for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, which ends on January 14th, 2020 and January 10th, 2023 respectively.

Microsoft is now cutting through the confusion surrounding Skylake support, and is declaring that ALL Skylake machines running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be FULLY supported until the extended support period ends for each operating system.

Shad Larsen, Microsoft Director of Windows Business Planning, writes:

We recognize that, in some instances, customers have a few systems that require longer deployment timeframes. We listened to this feedback and today are sharing an update to our 6th Gen Intel Core (Skylake) support policy. We have extended the support period from July 17, 2018 to the end of support dates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1; and we will provide all applicable security updates.

So not only will Skylake machines running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 receive critical updates, but they will receive ALL applicable security updates going forward. According to Microsoft, this change was made possible due to “the strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel who will be performing security update validation testing.”

However, Microsoft customers will need to be aware that newer Intel and AMD processors (i.e. Kaby Lake and Bristol Ridge) will only be supported on Windows 10. Microsoft goes on to state that “all future silicon releases will require the latest release of Windows 10.”