Microsoft retreats, will extend Skylake PC support to normal support lifetimes

Customers cried foul, and Microsoft changed its mind.

On Thursday Microsoft completed its retreat from its controversial policy regarding support for Intel’s “Skylake” processors on its older Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. Now Skylake PCs running those OSes will receive the standard length of support.

In a controversial move, Microsoft had previously said this past January that it would only support Skylake PCs running its older operating systems for about 18 months. (Generally, mainstream support is five years and extended support is 10 years.) Support for Skylake would have run out in July 2017, far earlier than for older systems powered by Intel’s “Broadwell” processors.

Now, the support lifetimes for “Broadwell” and “Skylake” PCs are the same: Windows 7 support will expire on January 14, 2020, and support for Windows 8.1 will end January 10, 2023. Microsoft noted the changes in a blog post it published Thursday.

Why this matters: Microsoft originally pitched the changes to its support lifecycle as a positive: The older OSes were designed with older CPUs in mind. Thus Intel's Skylake was not only not optimized for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, but it also required special tweaks to ensure those OSes remain compatible. But customers latched on to the fact that Microsoft was ending support years early for Skylake PCs, and Microsoft has steadily backtracked since then. The dam started crumbling a month later, for example, when the Windows Server team publicly stated that it would not be enforcing Microsoft’s policy and it would support Skylake-based servers through the original support dates.

Still pushing Windows 10

Microsoft had originally set the early expiration dates for Skylake PCs to encourage users to move to Windows 10, a more modern OS with more advanced protections against malware and other threats. That’s still Microsoft’s stance.

“We recommend that customers upgrade these 6th Gen Intel Core systems on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 as soon as possible so that they can receive full support along with the great enhancements that come from running modern hardware with modern software,” Microsoft wrote.

Microsoft claimed that the changes would primarily affect commercial customers, though the list of affected PCs includes gaming systems from Dell’s Alienware subsidiary as well as other consumer notebooks. According to Microsoft, the change has been made possible by the PC OEMs and by Intel, which will themselves be performing security update validation testing and upgrade testing through the end of the support dates.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7Windows 8.1

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?