Skylake and Later Will Be Withheld Windows 7 / 8.x Support

Subject: Processors | January 17, 2016 - 02:20 AM |
Tagged: Windows 8.1, Windows 7, windows 10, Skylake, microsoft, kaby lake, Intel, Bristol Ridge, amd

Microsoft has not been doing much to put out the fires in comment threads all over the internet. The latest flare-up involves hardware support with Windows 7 and 8.x. Currently unreleased architectures, such as Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Bristol Ridge, will only be supported on Windows 10. This is despite Windows 7 and Windows 8.x being supported until 2020 and 2023, respectively. Microsoft does not believe that they need to support older hardware, though.

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This brings us to Skylake. These processors are out, but Microsoft considers them “transition” parts. Microsoft provided PC World with a list of devices that will be gjven Windows 7 and Windows 8.x drivers, which enable support until July 17, 2017. Beyond that date, only a handful of “most critical” updates will be provided until the official end of life.

I am not sure what the cut-off date for unsupported Skylake processors is, though; that is, Skylake processors that do not line up with Microsoft's list could be deprecated at any time. This is especially a problem for the ones that are potentially already sold.

As I hinted earlier, this will probably reinforce the opinion that Microsoft is doing something malicious with Windows 10. As Peter Bright of Ars Technica reports, Windows 10 does not exactly have an equivalent in the server space yet, which makes you wonder what that support cycle will be like. If they can continue to patch Skylake-based servers in Windows Server builds that are derived from Windows 7 and Windows 8.x, like Windows Server 2012 R2, then why are they unwilling to port those changes to the base operating system? If they will not patch current versions of Windows Server, because the Windows 10-derived version still isn't out yet, then what will happen with server farms, like Amazon Web Services, when Xeon v5s are suddenly incompatible with most Windows-based OS images? While this will, no doubt, be taken way out of context, there is room for legitimate commentary about this whole situation.

Of course, supporting new hardware on older operating systems can be difficult, and not just for Microsoft at that. Peter Bright also noted that Intel has a similar, spotty coverage of drivers, although that mostly applies to Windows Vista, which, while still in extended support for another year, doesn't have a significant base of users who are unwilling to switch. The point remains, though, that Microsoft could be doing a favor for their hardware vendor partners.

I'm not sure whether that would be less concerning, or more.

Whatever the reason, this seems like a very silly, stupid move on Microsoft's part, given the current landscape. Windows 10 can become a great operating system, but users need to decide that for themselves. When users are pushed, and an adequate reason is not provided, they will start to assume things. Chances are, it will not be in your favor. Some may put up with it, but others might continue to hold out on older platforms, maybe even including older hardware.

Other users may be able to get away with Windows 7 VMs on a Linux host.

Source: Ars Technica

January 17, 2016 | 02:32 AM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

Microsoft's saying "not supported". Not supported doesn't mean "won't work".

I don't think old versions of Windows will have issues with newer x86 processors. Intel and AMD just about never break backwards compatibility with a new processor release.

A better interpretation is that new processor features (additions to the instruction set) won't be supported in newer Windows versions. So, they won't be backporting Skylake speed shift to Win7. And if Skylake's successor adds HSA support or more hardware crypto functions, whatever they add to use that in Win10 also won't be backported to Win7.

That also doesn't stop programs from taking advantage of new instructions on Win7 and older. In theory, new user mode instructions should just work (because no intervention is needed from the OS).

January 17, 2016 | 02:36 AM - Posted by Scott Michaud

Microsoft said that they plan to withhold patches, including security fixes. It may work (which will be interesting to keep watch over) but it could be beyond what the hardware vendors control.

Edit: Relevant snippet from Ars Technica

Microsoft announced today that after July 17, 2017, only the "most critical" security fixes will be released for those platforms and those fixes will only be made available if they don't "risk the reliability or compatibility" of Windows 7 and 8.1 on other (non-Skylake) systems.

January 17, 2016 | 04:54 AM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

Hmm, I'm not sure if that's the right interpretation either.

From the Microsoft blog post:
"After July 2017, the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices"

My read is of that is after July 2017:
1. MSFT's not allocating dev time to Win7/8.1 except for critical security patches (kind of expected)
2. The only situation where a patch won't come out is if they can't do the update without breaking Win7/8.1 on other platforms (Sandy Bridge, Pildriver, whatever)
3. They're not going to bother validating Win7/8.1 (including updates) on newer architectures at all (Kaby Lake).

I'm still thinking this is overblown and that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will keep getting security patches as expected. I'm guessing most security updates don't require really "close to silicon" changes, so there's practically no chance that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will miss a security patch.

But that special mention of Skylake is interesting. Did they have a really hard time dealing with something Skylake specific?

January 17, 2016 | 05:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Heres how i read it. Microsoft is now producing spyware and the people theyre producing it for want everyone to use the one operating system with terms that require that the user AGREE to be spied on.

January 17, 2016 | 02:35 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

I don't agree with Microsoft collecting user data.

But on that note, Facebook and Google collect far more personal information, and sell that info to advertisers. Microsoft's hardly alone here.

January 17, 2016 | 05:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Then again Those 2 r not ur OS. U can use a PC (live) without them. In M$'s case we dont have any viable alternative for people without technical know how.

January 17, 2016 | 09:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Those are not OPERATING SYSTEMS. And Android, Apple and older versions of Windows do NOT have it in there terms where they say THEY WILL ANALYZE AND FORWARD ANY INFORMATION ON A WINDOWS 10 PC TO UNNAMED THIRD PARTIES.

10 is the FIRST operating system to do this.

Thats why its free and uses malware tactics to install itself like the rootkit that it is.

January 17, 2016 | 05:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

if you opened up moby dick, you'd read it as.. microsoft spyware omg windows 10, NSA, black trucks, they are watching me sleep.

all while you carry an android device in your pocket.

January 17, 2016 | 10:30 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

HSA and other features are implemented through drivers, and APIs so it won't be that OS dependent. You can bet that this move by M$ is to try to force users onto windows 10, because if M$ would charge extra for the support for windows 7 on the newer CPU SKUs there would be individuals, and businesses that would pay for the extra support, so M$'s argument that it's for cost savings is null and void. The same goes for OEM's and their costs for maintaining SOC/CPU compatibility with 7, or 8.1, some businesses would gladly pay for extended support for windows 7, considering the cost that many have incurred getting their mission critical software to work on 7 after just moving up to 7 from XP. The cost of an OS, or OS support does not compare to the much higher costs of developing and maintaining an enterprise's mission critical software. It looks like M$ is reneging on its commitment to 7 and 8.1 users support promises, but M$ has never been Known for that in the first place.

January 17, 2016 | 06:39 AM - Posted by Drazen (not verified)

When somebody is forcing something, there must be a reason behind. What MS is doing with Win 10, there definitely is a reason behind.
And the reason is, definitely, not what MS is telling us.
Nadella has experience with killing giant Nokia. Is now MS turn?
As usual in high management, billions will be lost but manager(s) will be awarded with 100s of millions!

January 17, 2016 | 10:53 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

M$ wants that valuable user metrics from its Spyware OS, and M$ wants everybody on its hooks for that valuable information. It's not about costs for support as M$ has in that past charged for extended support for windows XP, so it's not about M$ not being able to charge for extended support, it's about M$ creating an OS as a service ecosystem, and permanently having a way to charge for its OS use, I would expect that if M$ gets users forced onto its windows 10 cloud services ecosystem that many more software packages will be "declared' incompatible with windows 10 and be summarily removed from users computers!

The majority of enterprises have switched to using Linux based OSs on their servers, and I would expect that more are going to spend the necessary funds to get their enterprise PC/laptops running a Linux distro with the enterprise getting its mission critical software running on the Linux based PC, and most enterprises will have most of their services internally web/cloud driven anyways and the services will be delivered through a browser interface and cloud servers under the enterprise's control.

The enterprise users are not about to be without hardware options to placate M$'s every whim, and excessive profit motivations. It would not be to hard for many small businesses to pool their resources and get a make and model/s of newer business PC/Laptop and pay as a group to have the devices certified to run under Linux, and that will be still more cost effective than being forced onto windows 10. Most enterprises want to get at least 5 to 10 years out of an OS before any major changes force the very expensive processes of getting the enterprises' mission critical software to run, and be certified to run with a new OS.

January 17, 2016 | 02:40 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

Where are you coming from with this?

Enterprise users can go ahead and upgrade their hardware, and stay on Win7 as long as they want. It's not like Intel and AMD make breaking changes to the x86 instruction set. And as others have pointed out, platform features (USB 3, Thunderbolt) can be supported through third party drivers. I don't think hardware manufacturers are going to stop writing drivers for Win7 anytime soon, as long as Win7 remains popular.

January 17, 2016 | 03:43 PM - Posted by Scott Michaud

You're seem to be thinking of Stephen Elop, not Satya Nadella.

Regardless, it's really rare for organizations to do things truly insidious, because the chance that it leaks grows immensely as the number of people involved increases. That doesn't mean that secret things don't happen, but it's usually mundane. It's a human trait to attribute intent to events, whether they're related or not. It's also, usually, where rational analysis breaks down.

January 17, 2016 | 09:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Been reading the news since 2013?

January 17, 2016 | 07:39 AM - Posted by Tralalak (not verified)

Nothing about VIA QuadCore CNR or incoming OctaCore CNR?
So I am OK. On the other hand, I am happy with Win 10...

January 17, 2016 | 09:36 AM - Posted by Rustknuckle (not verified)

I have this sinking feeling that this came about after Intel had a hizzy fit over Microsoft giving Win 10 away for free and thus not driving sales of hardware at all for them like in the past.

January 17, 2016 | 01:29 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

But this announcement will do nothing to drive hardware sales, if anything it will give people a reason not to buy newer hardware if they don't want to use Windows 10.

January 17, 2016 | 03:42 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

I think that's exactly why none of this matters.

Intel knows the importance of backwards compatibility. The one time they forgot (Itanium and IA64) they got their butts handed to them by AMD. If program A works on current x86 CPUs but doesn't work on a new one, people just won't buy the new chip.

Intel is not stupid enough to make a breaking change to the instruction set on a new x86 chip. I'll bet they're also not stupid enough to forget about writing Win7 drivers for new chipset features (USB 3.1, Thunderbolt). The same applies to AMD.

January 17, 2016 | 09:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Thats how you know their "reason" is a lie. The people who benefit from all the personal info Windows 10 collects want Microsoft to get as many installs as they can. All those documents, audio and video streams in the cloud and all the people AGREEING to be spied on is great.

January 18, 2016 | 02:28 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

But this isn't about changes to instruction sets, this is about things like how Microsoft recent back-ported updates to Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 to better support Skylake, going further back this is about how Microsoft released an update alongside P4 prescott's so Windows would treat Hyper-Threaded cores differently, or how in the past they released an update for AMD’s Bulldozer that marked half of the cores in a similar way as Hyper-Threaded cores.

Those are some examples of previous updates that have been issued to better support newer CPUs, there's not going to be a major shift like a change in instruction sets, this is about Microsoft refusing to support the features of newer CPUs on "older" OSs, not that there going to stop working.

January 18, 2016 | 06:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As for AMD, I can tell you that Windows 10 won't work on a lot of laptops I've tried to update.

The main reason seems to be a lack of driver support for dual-GPU systems.

(Windows 10 installs but then I get a driver error which won't disappear even if I disable the 2nd GPU in device manager, thus forcing me to rollback those systems to W7/W8).

January 17, 2016 | 10:21 PM - Posted by Rustknuckle (not verified)

Im thinking of it from the point of view of the base users I see around me. In the past the only time a lot of them got a new OS was when buying new computer since to them if feels cheaper getting a new computer. They feel the OS is "free" as the cost is baked into the cost and that lowers the threshold for purchase.

That thinking drove a lot of sales for Intel(and AMD). With the way Win 10 was released it removed a lot of that drive towards new hardware when you also take into consideration the slowdown in cpu progress in the last five years. People who mostly surf a bit and reads their email with a 4-5 year old pc will feel no need to upgrade hardware along with OS this time.

January 17, 2016 | 10:15 AM - Posted by CharlieHeelo

Windows has inspired me to build a linux box. There is a learning curve, but microsoft keeps making it more and more worth it to switch.

January 17, 2016 | 11:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There will be more Steam Machines and it will be easy to dual boot a Steam OS based PC with Linux Mint, with Steam OS doing the gaming and Linux Mint for the productivity software. I'm waiting for some Steam Machines able to run the latest AMD Polaris based GPUs! Remember that any hardware that is made to work with Steam OS(Linux Debian based) will work for Linux Mint(also Linux Debian based), most of the Linux based OSs trace their distros back to Debian for their upstream roots. Hopefully there will be a Steam OS based gaming laptop in the future, because I have been avoiding anything windows based that came after windows 7.

The one Thing that everybody needs to be worried about on the alternative OS side of the equation is M$'s windows secure boot on new OEM PC/Laptop that comes with windows 10 factory installed! The OEM's have the OPTION of not providing any method to TURN OFF windows secure boot in the PC's/Laptop's UEFI/BIOS. So those doing Linux based builds, including their own custom Linux based builds, could have some problems getting the secure boot Keys signed by M$, to be able to use their own OS on their own hardware, constant vigilance is required to keep an eye on OEM products that ship with windows 10 factory Installed, to make sure that third party OEM produced PC/Laptop hardware/firmware does not become locked in to the windows 10 ecosystem!

January 17, 2016 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Laying Low (not verified)

I sincerely hope the Justice Dept looks into this practice as it appears to be collusion between Microsoft & Intel to force consumers & businesses into a software & hardware upgrade cycle that has significant financially benefits for both companies. This is even more clear when compared to the end of life dates for Windows 7 & 8.1.

January 17, 2016 | 02:53 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

You'd have a good point if Microsoft is breaking Windows on older platforms (giving Intel business), but that's not happening.

If you have a seven year old Nehalem platform, you can put Win7/8/10 on there without a problem. No pressure to buy anything from Intel. Upgrading to Win10 is also free right now, so Microsoft isn't making any money there either.

I think everyone's missing one ridiculously simple point: nobody wants to spend their time propping up a six year old OS when they could be working on new stuff. Look at Google/Android: KitKat was released only two years ago, and Google isn't even doing security updates for it anymore, even though there are tons of devices still on KitKat. Only Marshmallow (6.x) is supported, and almost no one has a device running that.

And Google's definitely not going to validate KitKat or Lollipop on new devices coming out. Why is no one mad at Google?

January 17, 2016 | 07:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It's not relevant to the discussion. The talk is on Microsoft. If we're talking about Smartphones, especially Android based units, then yes.

It's also doesn't make the action any better when you say "Google is doing something crummy too". It won't make the bad thing Microsoft is suddenly doing good.

January 18, 2016 | 12:53 AM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

Moot point. Its not about the age of the OS - its simply a paradigm shift for the company. Emulate Apple (walled garden/ UX) and Google (big data) while hoping for some of their success.

Google still makes 95% of its money from ads and telemetry. Android is not being sold and only serves as a vector into telemetry. That is what Windows is supposed to be on all platforms going forward and Ms wants to recoup development and associated costs, and please investors sooner rather than later.

Their last OS (as well as some hardware) was not well received and there is lots of grounds to catch up. In their position, would you not do the same and shove Win 10 down everyone's throats?

January 18, 2016 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No, but even Apple does not force its walled garden on independently produced Third Party PC/Laptop hardware, M$ is only a supplier of the OS part to the Third Party OEMs! This control over the third party PC/laptop OEMs warrants Justice Department investigation! M$ should have never been allowed to bundle its OS with new PC/Laptop hardware in the first place, and Now M$ is continuing to abuse its monopoly market position to force a closed OS/software/Data Mining ecosystem on the users of third party PC/Laptop OEM produced hardware! M$ is abusing the end users rights to have OS choice, and OS version choice on their new Third party OEM produced PC/Laptop hardware, and the US Justice Department's Antitrust division just sits idly by while the antitrust laws go unenforced, and this has been going on for decades for M$ with OSs, and Intel with its CPUs/SOCs.

M$ is the dictionary definition of an illegal monopoly when it uses its OS market share to enforce a vertical market control over the Third Party PC/Laptop market with M$'s forcing/coercive market tactics on, and sometimes in consort with, the PC/laptop OEMs to Use/Bundle M$'s OS on the OEM's new PC/laptop hardware! PC/Laptop OEMs should be forced to provide driver packages for Linux/BSD based options at a fair cost to the end user, and be required to offer PC/Laptops without any OS bundling on new PC/Laptop hardware made by any third party PC/Laptop OEMs! I'd gladly pay $15-$20 for a disk with the proper Linux drivers for PC/Laptop hardware so that when I install my Linux Kernel based OS of choice all the PC's/laptop's hardware will work with the new the OS. M$'s secure boot key signing authority needs to be placed with and independent impartial industry standards origination, and the UEFI/BIOS hardware/firmware on all third party OEM produced PC/Laptop hardware needs to be out from under M$'s direct control!

No M$/OEM/Third party spy-ware should be allowed to be placed in any PC's/laptop's UEFI/BIOS firmware or hardware. Secure Booting should be under the control of the entire industry, with anyone able to choose to turn it off for alternative OS loading ability without having to get any keys signed by M$ just to use any PC/laptop hardware that M$ did not directly manufacture/Brand, so that means hands OFF M$ for new third party manufactured PC/Laptop hardware!

January 18, 2016 | 02:42 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

If Microsoft didn't want to spend their time propping up a six year old OS then they shouldn't have offered an industry leading support life cycle.

The simple matter is that Microsoft offered a 10 year long support life cycle as they wanted to attract plenty of corporate customers, i even remember at the time people questioning how Microsoft could afford such a generous support life for their OS, i think it was Windows 95.

January 18, 2016 | 02:21 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

True, but that was then; they couldnt see this far into the future and did not anticipate the vast changes in the tech landscape. Im sure the old farts (Ballmer, Jobs, et al) thought that their software model would rule forever.

Today the writing is on the wall - 'evolve or die,' and looking at Palm, HP, RIM and others before them, they know its real. Win 10, a panic mode of sorts, is a manifestation of that.

January 18, 2016 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

The when of it is irrelevant, if you buy something with a 5 year warranty you expect the company to honor it no matter how much it maybe costing them, that 5 year warranty could have been the reason you choose their product over their competitor who only offered 3 years, you'd be rightfully very angry if what you bought broke 6 month before the warranty expired only to be told their not going to fix it because it's going to cost them more than they anticipate.

The simple matter is Microsoft have reneged on their promise to offer mainstream support for Windows 8.1 six months early.

January 17, 2016 | 12:32 PM - Posted by neuromancer74 (not verified)

Here's the thing. Love how everyone is eager to jump the critic train. Microsoft can support of not support any version of their operating system for new architecture mobo/cpu !!! if it makes sense financially or out of loyalty to their partners or customers. it's completely up to them. if anyone has a problem with that they can ...well create their own operating system, switch to linux. see ! lots of options :)

January 17, 2016 | 01:34 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

The problem is that Microsoft are perfectly within their rights to do this for Windows 7 as it's left mainstream support, the same cant be said of Windows 8.1 as mainstream support for that end six months after the time they plan to stop supporting new hardware, Microsoft have gone back on their word that they would update Windows 8.1 with new "features" to support new CPU's six month before they previously said they would.

January 23, 2016 | 03:01 PM - Posted by sakra (not verified)

neuromancer74 writes:

> they can ...well create their own operating system

They already have done so:

Now that the WinAPI compatible OS is created, it's being enhanced and bug-fixed daily.

January 17, 2016 | 12:47 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

Well guyse, it looks like it's finally the time.
First it was #F*cKonami, now it's #ScreWindows.

January 17, 2016 | 01:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The only reason I even have a Windows partition anymore is to play games that either don't run well/at all through Wine or don't have a native linux port.
I guess I'll be learning how to run a VM soon since Microsoft really doesn't want me using their product(s).

January 17, 2016 | 02:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Microsoft windows users are like drug addicts. A drug addict can not function without daily doses of drugs. Windows users are slaves to Microsoft propaganda, lies and deceits.

Today all computer users have choices. There are many different OSes out there. I have Firefox, Chromium, chrome, Opera, Midori, Vivaldi and Pale Moon browsers. I do not have Microsoft browsers.

I am runnimg Manjaro Deepin 15.12 and Manjaro Cinnamon 15.12. I do not need an anti-virus because Linux has very few viruses. In most cases, Linux performs better than Windows 7/8.1/10.

Now I do not get the Windows 7/8.1/10 dreaded message:

"Your PC ran into problems and needs to restart..."

You can test your hardware by downloading an ISO file and creating a bootable USB flash disk.

Linux also has many Window managers. You can also use Mac but that is another OS controlled by Apple. You can copy or modify Linux, and you can even sell Linux to other users and make money.

So free yourself from Windows addiction. Please do not blame others for your addiction. Every one has to accept Microsoft EULA before installing Windows.

January 17, 2016 | 02:41 PM - Posted by El_Gato (not verified)

I'm trying to open my mind to the possibilities of using Linux but I like the ease and functionality of Windows. Gaming of course is a factor but the older I get the less of a factor that is. Someone really needs to make a version of Linux that is as user-friendly as Windows. Let's be honest, most people are NOT going to do ANYTHING from a command prompt.

January 17, 2016 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Hakuren

Exactly. I was using Linux for many years. It's tough when you're living in the middle of Microsoft Monopoly Sea.

At some stage I just got fed up with tinkering and forcing (VM or emulators are not perfect solution in every case) things to work under Linux. C'mon command prompt/shell whatever that belong to the 80's. I'm not anti command prompt by any stretch. Just not permanently. Even with the most trivial things, that's stupid.

I will move back to (interaction-wise) antiquated *nix platform if M$ decides that users are bane of their existence. At some stage every corporation just becomes blind, greedy and retarded forgetting that there's huge chunk of PC users which couldn't care less about (in this case) new OS.

January 17, 2016 | 03:29 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

Text based commands aren't antiquated - there are plenty of scenarios on both Linux and Windows where cmd/bash/tcsh/zsh/sh/powershell does things more efficiently. For example, if you want to delete tons of files using wildcards, doing it with cmd/bash will get the job done MUCH faster.

January 17, 2016 | 03:23 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

I wouldn't say that - Linux really isn't there yet in terms of being a second desktop OS. The desktop interfaces are there and look pretty good (I used Cinnamon on Mint for a while and liked the UI), but dealing with applications is a total pain.

If you want the latest version of a program, and the one in the package repositories (Debian or RPM) is ridiculously old, you'll have to pull the sources and compile it yourself. Then, you end up needing updated versions of 20 other libraries, several of which are HUGE. Now, you need sources for all those libraries, and everything they depend on. Suddenly, a simple software install takes a whole weekend of Makefile editing and compiling, if you're lucky. (If not, you spend days tracking down compiler/linker errors before giving up)

Even staying totally within the confines of the package manager, I've managed to hit broken packages, dependencies that can't be resolved without uninstalling half the software in the system, and all sorts of messy stuff. And don't even get me started with graphics drivers for the few games that do run on Linux.

Don't get me wrong - Linux is fun. But there are too many cases where average users are going to find Linux downright frustrating.

January 17, 2016 | 03:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

'Average' uses need their productivity software, and a browser. Linux is fine for them. Geeks are fine, too. It's those in between who struggle.

During the year of 'Linux on the Desktop' (ie 2006), sound, WiFi, graphics - everything worked great (for me). Since then it's gotten harder again. ITunes and Netflix were significant pain points that cropped up since then.

If Adobe CC and 'gamez' would run natively in Linux, I'd head back there in an instant.

January 17, 2016 | 04:33 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

Windows RT was based on the idea that 'average' users would be fine with just a browser and productivity software. Microsoft bundled Office hoping average users would find everything they needed right out of the box.

But WinRT flopped horribly because almost everyone needed some specialty x86 software, for work or otherwise. It seems like way too many people land in the 'in between' area.

Linux - I don't think anything got harder again. The target just moved. I had no trouble getting WiFi drivers for Linux with my 2013 laptop (in 2006, it was a nightmare hunting down drivers and firmware). On the other hand, that 2013 laptop had an optimus config, and I couldn't use the Nvidia GT 740M in Linux for anything (CUDA or gaming).

January 17, 2016 | 05:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

do you ever see windows users coming out of the woodwork to bash linux any chance they get....?


Linux users on the other hand are on the constant hunt to find and comment on ANYTHING windows related. You probably have a text file on your desktop filled with comments ready to copy and paste.

The second anything windows hits this site if fking BLOWN UP before the page gets done refreshing.

Remember the apple ads?

One thing PC users can do that mac users can't

... linux users are now those people.

January 18, 2016 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Couldn't agree with these comments more. I've switched to was actually very easy. Now...I'm building a Steam Box. You CAN load Origin and GOG games through the SteamBox too...using PlayonLinux.

Linux has opened up a whole new world to me, I'm actually having fun with my computer again.

Windows is Sooooo....yesterday.

Linux and DRM Free is the least my future!

January 18, 2016 | 06:10 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Steam Machines not only support less games (especially major titles) but the games run a lot worse. Several have been tested and 70% of the performance seems fairly common.

I'm rooting for Linux and tried a few distros in the last year, but it just couldn't do what I wanted it to. Heck, I couldn't even play a BluRay movie (I know some can but it's not simple).

January 17, 2016 | 03:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You are talking about Linux of a decade ago.

Today Linux has about a dozen GUI windows managers vs MS Windows few user interfaces.

Please go to Google+ or or Linux is all about choices and freedom from Microsoft and Apple.

You can dual boot your PC. Linux bootloader grub is able to boot your windows.

Today 100 of millions of users are using Linux as their primary OS and most of them are very happy. Of course, Linux has some hardcore ideologists/fanatics.

January 17, 2016 | 05:04 PM - Posted by chlamchowder (not verified)

'Linux is all about choices and freedom from Microsoft and Apple' - that's just the platform. You can install anything you want on top of Windows or Mac OS. In fact, I'd argue Windows gives you more freedom because things are easier to install.

In Linux, you're limited to what's in the package manager repositories, unless you compile from scratch (IMO totally impractical, can take hours to days of constant attention). That makes getting the newest version of many programs a total pain. Adding additional sources for software not in the default repositories is also troublesome - I've totally screwed up my package manager with additional sources before.

Linux is more free if you intend to mess with code, since you can find sources for almost everything. It's also easier to compile/run simple programs on Linux. But for the average user, Windows offers more useful freedom. Being able to pick from a dozen window managers isn't useful to most people.

January 17, 2016 | 06:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I use Linux every day. I have tried more than 50 distributions of Linux in the last 10 years. Before that I used Xenix/Unix.

The problem is drivers. Linux does not have drivers for all the devices. Although the new Linux kernel 4.4 is working great for me.

There are more than 300 distributions of Linux. Too many choices confuse the new users.

The major distributions like Ubuntu, OpenSuse, Fedora, Debian, and Manjaro are all binary distributions for the 32-bits and 64-bits X86/X86-64 architectures.

The source distributions like Gentoo, Funtoo and Arch are not for the new users.

January 17, 2016 | 05:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Got drivers? ok you don't have an issue.

So MS is going to detect you are running skylake on windows 7 and not send you some patches? woooo, I see that as a BONUS.

January 18, 2016 | 05:00 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Drivers can't makes changes to the way the underlying operating system works, all they can do is interact with what the OS presents to them, if changes need to made to the way the OS works only Microsoft can do that.

January 18, 2016 | 04:03 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wow, what a pathetically underhanded way for Micro$oft to force people onto Windows 10.

January 18, 2016 | 01:09 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

this is totally blown up bigger then what it needs to be by anti-ms nerds.

win 7 or 8.1 is NOT going to miss a security patch, they WILL NOT get patches that might break windows on skylake and newer processors.

this is a NON-ISSUE , keep beating your keyboards though.

January 18, 2016 | 01:21 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

That depends on what your opinion if of a company going back on a previous promise is wrong or not doesn't it? This has nothing to do with "anti-ms nerds" and it seems by framing it as such you're attempting to distract people.

Microsoft are perfectly within their rights not to issue updates for Windows 7 to support newer CPUs, it is after all in the extended support phase when normally only security related patches are released.

However the same can't be said of Windows 8.1 that Microsoft have stated is in mainstream support until 19th January 2017, mainstream support being the time when Microsoft say they add new features to an OS, new features such as support for newer CPUs that this recent announcement has withdrawn six months early.

January 18, 2016 | 06:17 PM - Posted by Speely

Ad hominem.

January 18, 2016 | 01:31 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Who is going to believe Microsoft BS? Windows users, of course.

Microsoft is ready to steal money from the windows 7/8.1/10 users. Now Microsoft is stalling malware on all Windows 7/8.1/10 PCs under the disguise of security updates.

Windows users should read Microsoft EULA. Blame Linux or devil for your problems.

January 18, 2016 | 03:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

do you ever see windows users coming out of the woodwork to bash linux any chance they get....?


Linux users on the other hand are on the constant hunt to find and comment on ANYTHING windows related. You probably have a text file on your desktop filled with comments ready to copy and paste.

The second anything windows hits this site if fking BLOWN UP before the page gets done refreshing.

Remember the apple ads?

One thing PC users can do that mac users can't

... linux users are now those people.

January 18, 2016 | 03:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can not handle the truth.

You have no idea what is going to happen to windows users in the next 2 years.

It is very easy to blame the Linux and Apple users for windows problems.

January 18, 2016 | 06:59 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Well i think it's safe to say, based on a long list of Microsoft going back on their word, that anything Microsoft says can't be trusted.

January 18, 2016 | 03:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Some of these responders to this thread have to be Microsoft employees, or I just don't get it. How can you sit there and allow a company to spy on all of your information 24/7 and then defend the company that is doing so? Something isn't right here?

Anyone using Apple, Google, or simply out of their damn minds.

January 18, 2016 | 04:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Today I used Windows 8.1 for a few minutes. Then I re-started my PC. I get the message:

"Your PC ran into problems and needs to restart..."

A re-start loop. There are so many issues with Windows OS that Windows lovers will find out sooner or later.

These Microsoft employees will be like Kodak employees no where to be found in 10 years.

Days of Wintel duopoly are coming to end.

January 18, 2016 | 05:11 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

I don't see anyone blaming apple or linux for anything.

All I see is a huge long thread of windows bitching, run whatever OS you want to run. Why you feel the need to bang on your keyboard about an OS you don't like or run is beyond me.

Do you yell at people who drive other color cars? eat other kinds of food?

People can do whatever they want, and they can run whatever OS they want to run.

Don't like windows 10, don't like MS, don't use them.

Done, end of story.. why do you just keep rambling on and on and on everyday non stop.


January 18, 2016 | 07:06 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

That's because last time i checked Apple or Linux don't have a near monopoly market share on desktop computers, Apple or Linux hasn't promised to support their OS for 5-10 years only to withdraw that support halfway through, Apple or Linux isn't the focus of most hardware, software, or games developers (yet), and lastly this article isn't about Apple or Linux, it's about Microsoft choosing not to honer the contract that people signed when they install Windows 8.1

January 18, 2016 | 08:33 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

and posting comments on PC per , does ZERO.

rabble rabble rabble rabble.

Go start a business, only sell and market systems with your favorite flavor of linux and support your users.

January 18, 2016 | 09:25 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Then why are you posting comments? Especially ones that add nothing to the discussion other than false equivalence.

January 18, 2016 | 10:40 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

There is no discussion, just rabble rabble rabble.

Fact of life, they chose to make this call. You don't like it, thats fine... go run linux.

Look at how dirty and under handed intel is and what they do to OEMs to keep amd down...since FOREVER. Hell they are even subsidizing celeron chips to board markers.

and i bet every system in your house is running an intel chip.

But this oh hell no, not microsoft and windows.. time to take a stand guys.

This is nonsense

January 19, 2016 | 02:37 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Well it would be a discussion if you learnt that posting new comments instead of replying make it rather difficultly to follow any discussion, let alone all the logically fallacies you keep using in an attempt to stick up for a companies that i would assume you owe nothing to.

This isn't nonsense, just as it wouldn't be nonsense if the company that you bought your new car from, you know the one with that 5 year guarantee, if that company announced that for the last six month of your guarantee their not going to cover the engine if it goes wrong.

It's only by people speaking out instead of meekly accepting a wrongdoing like some Microsoft apologists like to do that there's any possibility of change now and in the future, if you keep accepting people and companies shafting you and never say a word where are they going to draw the line?

January 18, 2016 | 10:44 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

this is overblown and that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will keep getting security patches as expected. I'm guessing most security updates don't require really "close to silicon" changes, so there's practically no chance that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will miss a security patch.

this comment from way above the b/s is probably 100% correct.

January 18, 2016 | 11:36 PM - Posted by razor512

I wonder if AMD can go around Microsoft and release a driver/ update pack for their new CPUs. This will allow them to get additional selling points (you don't have to run windows 10).

January 19, 2016 | 02:40 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Not if the drivers had to make changes to the underlying OS as only Microsoft can do that, and they've taken back their promise to do that for Windows 8.1 six months before they initially said they would.

January 19, 2016 | 04:23 AM - Posted by razor512

If the people who make malware are able to make changes, then AMD should be able to hire a few developers who can figure out what modifications to make.

If not, then hire some devs to figure out what Microsoft does to add the needed support on windows 10, and port it over to windows 7.

January 19, 2016 | 04:33 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

IANAL But i think that could be considered illegal as you're not meant to alter Microsoft code, something that the developers of malware probably don't care about but.

January 18, 2016 | 11:46 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

nobody has to worry about anything, your mobo comes with drivers. Install drivers, good to go.

If 10 can use 7 drivers im willing to be 7 can use 10 drivers..and that is worse case. What mobo doesn't come with 7 drivers... haven't found one yet.

this is a non-issue.

MS is going to avoid patches on 8.1 / 7 that might break them. Thats all folks

January 19, 2016 | 02:44 AM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Driver can't make changes to the underlying OS, only Microsoft can do that but they have taken back their guarantee that they would do that for Windows 8.1 six months before they initially promised.

January 19, 2016 | 10:17 AM - Posted by -- (not verified)

im going to repeat this

this is overblown and that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will keep getting security patches as expected. I'm guessing most security updates don't require really "close to silicon" changes, so there's practically no chance that Win7/8.1 on Skylake will miss a security patch.

January 19, 2016 | 12:21 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

Just repeating the same thing doesn't make it or you right though, the facts are that Microsoft have reneged on their promise of mainstream support for Windows 8.1 until 17th Jan 2017.

The effects of that are irrelevant and won't be known until after Windows 8.1 leaves mainstream support, but then again that's not what people are rightly annoyed about, their annoyed that Microsoft have once again gone back on their word.

January 21, 2016 | 06:56 AM - Posted by batismul (not verified)

Enjoy your Linux xD

January 21, 2016 | 02:16 PM - Posted by Corky42 (not verified)

I wonder how long it would take to make 4 billion requests to the keyring service, that being the number of requests needed to exploit that vulnerability.

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