Update

Microsoft says it's blocking Windows 7, 8 patches on latest AMD, Intel chips

Microsoft hasn't altered its earlier position, but it all seems a little harsh.

windows 8 tiles
Credit: Microsoft

When Microsoft said last year that it would restrict the latest Intel Kaby Lake and AMD Ryzen silicon to Windows 10, enthusiasts wondered what would happen if they tried running those PCs using Windows 7 or Windows 8. Now we know: no new patches.

Word of a new Microsoft support document surfaced Thursday, applying the stick to those bold enough to try and pair an older Microsoft OS with the latest silicon. The upshot: Windows will block any updates from appearing on your PC until you upgrade to Windows 10.

Specifically, you may see one of two error messages, Microsoft said:

  • ”Unsupported Hardware: Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows  and you won’t receive updates.”
  • ”Windows could not search for new updates
    An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
    Error(s) found: Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.”

According to Microsoft, “This error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support,” the document says. As Microsoft has stated before, those processor generations include Intel’s 7th-generation Core chips, AMD’s Bristol Ridge, or Ryzen, processors, and the Qualcomm 8996. Windows 10 is the only Microsoft OS supported on those chips, Microsoft said. 

In explaining its move, Microsoft reiterated a Jan. 2016 statement that the latest silicon demands the latest software, and vice versa. “As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support. 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.” 

Why this matters: Unfortunately, Microsoft’s support document is entirely consistent with the stance the company has taken all along: that its most modern OS was built to go hand-in-hand with the capabilities of modern silicon. However, blocking Windows Update patches to those systems that use an older OS seems awfully draconian. Couldn’t Microsoft strive for some middle ground, such as a disclaimer that there might be some incompatibility?

Updated at 12:38 PM on March 17 with a statement from Microsoft.

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