Microsoft blocking new security patches and updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users running the latest processors from Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and others.
Don’t panic, this new policy doesn’t mean that all Windows 7 and 8.1 users will not be able to receive latest updates in general because Microsoft has promised to support Windows 7 until 2020, and Windows 8.1 until 2023.
But those who have upgraded their machines running older versions of Windows to the latest processors, or manually downgraded their new laptops to run Windows 7/8.1 would be out of luck.
Last week, Microsoft published Knowledge Base article, with the title “‘Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows’ error when you scan or download Windows updates”, suggesting that the restriction was now being enforced.
In the article, Microsoft describes the “symptoms” of the error as:
When you try to scan or download updates through Windows Update, you receive the following error message:
Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.
Additionally, you may see an error message on the Windows Update window that resembles the following:
Windows could not search for new updates
An error occurred while checking for new updates for your computer.
Code 80240037 Windows Update encountered an unknown error.
The “cause” of the error being:
This error occurs because new processor generations require the latest Windows version for support. For example, Windows 10 is the only Windows version that is supported on the following processor generations:
- Intel seventh (7th)-generation processors (“Kaby Lake”) or a later generation
- AMD “Bristol Ridge”
- Qualcomm “8996”
Because of how this support policy is implemented, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.
Users would require upgrading their systems to the newest version of Windows, i.e. Windows 10, despite Windows 7 being supported to 2020 and Windows 8.1 to 2023.
Microsoft announced this limitation in January 2016, when the company said making Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 OSes run on the latest processors was “challenging.”
“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 Wi-Fi, graphics, security, and more,” Terry Myerson, VP of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said last year.
The initial announcement also included PCs that use 6th-generation Intel processors (“Skylake”), but Microsoft backed off on its plan and released a list of Skylake-based systems that will be fully supported to receive security updates through the official end of support phase for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, i.e. January 14, 2020, and January 10, 2023, respectively.
This end of updates for new devices doesn’t come as a surprise to some PC owners, as Microsoft is making every effort to run its latest Windows on all Windows computers since the launch of Windows 10.
An alarm for those still running Windows Vista on their machines: The operating system will no longer receive security updates, non-security hotfixes, paid assisted supports, or online technical updates from Microsoft beginning April 11, 2017.
So, it’s high time for Windows Vista users to upgrade their PCs to the latest version of Windows operating system in order to protect your devices from malware or other security threats.