Microsoft: Windows 10 To Be The Only Supported OS On Modern CPUs

It's been a long time since we've had to worry about CPU / OS incompatibilities. In fact, the last time it was an issue was the shift from x86 to x64, but that was largely transparent to consumers thanks to AMD and its x86-64 specification, which was later adopted by Intel. Now, with Windows 7 having just entered its extended support phase, Microsoft has taken the opportunity to drop the news that only Windows 10 will be supported on upcoming CPUs.

Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive VP for the Windows and Devices Group, explained the move over on the official Windows blog:

Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SOCs existed. For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7's expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states — which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security and more.

Myerson goes on to mention that because driver vendors have to keep accommodating Windows 7 in updates and new software, it makes it difficult to push forward with improvements on the more modern Windows 8.1 and 10.

As such, the company has made the decision to distance itself from older processors and platforms. Intel's Skylake refresh "Kaby Lake" will mark the start of this transition:

Going forward, 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. For example, Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel's upcoming "Kaby Lake" silicon, Qualcomm's upcoming "8996" silicon, and AMD's upcoming "Bristol Ridge" silicon.

A list of supported devices will make an appearance in the near future and will help clear up what will work where:

In clarifying this policy, we are prioritizing transparency with enterprises on where to find the highest reliability and best supported Windows experience: Windows 10 on any silicon, Windows 7 on the down-level silicon it was designed for, or a device on the support list.

That doesn't mean Windows 7 will magically stop working on new CPUs and it's clear in the above statement Windows 10 won't suddenly explode on older hardware. It does however draw a line in the sand for Intel, Microsoft, AMD and other companies where we can finally make the proper transition to cutting-edge 64-bit silicon, rather than wallow with one foot in the 32-bit pool.

It was going to happen eventually and while it was a painful day when 16-bit applications stopped working in Windows, we all got over it eventually. And hey, there will always be Linux.




    So OSX, Linux, UNIX, BSD et al won't be supported on modern CPUs? Misleading title is misleading.

      Agreed. 99% of this article talked as if Unix-like OS' don't exist, pff...

        To plebs they don't exist. More treasure for us.

    Can somebody please make the Best of Windows Entertainment Pack (Tetris, Free Cell, etc) run on 64-bit Windows?

    The Linux kernel has patches for Intel's latest kit months before they are even on sale. Moral to the story, dont use Windows if you can help it

    So here's my problem, and the ONLY reason I have not swapped to Linux. I am a gamer. I cannot play the latest and greatest on my PC, because Linux doesn't support them out of box (or should I say the games don't support Linux).

    Yes there are windows executable emulators that run on Linux, but those emulators take time to catch up with the gaming market (e.g. Wine and DX11 support).

    As such, the only alternatives I have are to boot windows as a VM over Linux, dual boot Windows and Linux, or just friggin use Windows. As I am all about the path of least resistance, I have chosen the third option.

    Yes you can do everything else under the sun in a Linux environment. But the only thing I really want to do is only available in a Windows environment (well not only...I could go Mac.....but that's not gonna happen).

    As for Intel only supporting Windows 10. This means that out of box, they support Windows 10. But there will likely be software and packages you can use to get their CPUs running on earlier versions of Windows. Most hardcore game rigs and general Windows users still run Windows 7 (, primarily because of Windows 10 privacy and stability concerns.

    I mean IT'S FREE, they can't even give the OS away.....

      Yeah that's my reason to. My nas and laptop are Linux but the desktop will for ever be windows just for the gaming. I used to emulate with wine etc back in the day but with direct x and a like it's just getting to annoying or to hard.

      I game on Linux - we've had some amazing titles come out in the last 2 years. Shadow of Mordor, Alien: Isolation, GRID Autosport, a bunch of Saints Row titles, Planetary Annihilation is great. I've sunk huge number of hours into Cities Skylines. Sure we don't get games from EA, but most of them aren't worth playing, as much as I'd like GTA V, meh I can't be bothered tainting my machine with a Windows install just for that, when I have so many more games these days than time to play them!

        And yet, "for me", the problem remains that the games I want to play just aren't compatible with Linux ("Bethesda"). Note that this isn't a gripe about Linux, but about the game industry itself. They are missing an entire market by not developing for Linux, which I think is rather silly.

          ...and yet if you don't support Linux gaming, they won't see the market for it.

          We need more Linux machines in the Steam survey, to prove the market to get the likes of Bethesda (Protip: Wolfenstein: The New Order and The Old Blood works in WINE no hassle), EA, Blizzard on board.

            Here's what I would prefer. Rather than basing their survey off of actual usage for Linux, just enact an actual pop up survey (since they are already doing pop-up ads every time I open steam) that asks whether I would consider moving to Linux if all the games on Steam were available on Linux.

            I would vote yes. Many gamers would vote yes.

            They would cause such change to happen.

            At which point, I would switch...lots of gamers would switch.

            Linux would have a gaming community that increased in size dramatically.

            All the people who were on Linux before the survey could flaunt how they were "true" Linux gamers...the rest of use could ignore them :P

            HOWEVER, steam telling game developers to develop for Linux doesn't mean they would develop for Linux (just look at the disparity between iOS and Android). Most would, but there would still be some (AAA titles likely) that would only be available on Windows...and we are now back at square 1...the path of least resistance...

            All this being said, this entire topic has been beaten to death, brought back to life, coaxed into a false sense of hope, then beaten back to death again....about as many times as there are versions of OpenGL and D3D:

    Luckily for me, I stopped playing games years ago.

    The only reason I still need a Windows machine is primarily for iTunes and AnyDVD HD.

    I like to fire up a relic title and find DOSBox or a VM conducive for great game play.

    In circa of 2003 I ran Unreal Tournament on RedHat (port supplied on media) and performed marginally better on the same box. Quake III port was more or less the same.
    At the time I was confident that game titles under Linux would thrive, but seems they haven't as much as I anticipated.

    Last edited 21/01/16 7:51 am

      There are over 1800 Linux games on Steam since it launched in 2013

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