Microsoft caused a huge uproar in January when it announced that Skylake systems running “legacy” Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems would no longer be supported come July 17th, 2017. In its ever-increasing campaign to migrate as many customers as possible over to Windows 10, Microsoft also said that it would only provide critical security updates to these affected customers “if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.”
Microsoft did, however, create an exemption (meaning full support from Microsoft including critical updates) for its valued hardware partners and provided a list of Skylake-based systems from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo that were to be supported through July 17th, 2017.
As you can no doubt imagine, Microsoft has heard an earful from customers about this new policy. But in a new blog posting today, Microsoft is trying to clarify a few things about its Skylake lockdown and provide ease up its restrictions a bit to help ease the transition to Windows 10.
“A key part of this update was our commitment to continuing to lead with a customer-first approach. Since then we’ve received feedback from customers at various stages of planning and deployment of Windows 10,” writes Microsoft in the blog posting.
Microsoft is making two notable changes to its approach, with the first being to provide full support for Skylake machines running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 by one year to July 17th, 2018. The second change is that ALL Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines running Skylake will receive critical updates until the extended support period ends. In the case of Windows 7, this ends on January 14th, 2020 while Microsoft is on the hook with Windows 8.1 users until January 10th, 2023.
Microsoft explains that these changes are “designed to help our customers purchase modern hardware with confidence, while continuing to manage their migrations to Windows 10. As our customers upgrade to Windows 10 on Skylake devices, they can benefit from the latest capabilities that come from modern hardware and software.”
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft ends the blog post by giving a bit shout out to Windows 10 and its undeniable superiority over legacy operating systems, including enhancements to battery life, graphics performance, and security.