Windows 10 Support May End Early for Some Intel Processors



/ 2 years ago

Windows 10 Intel Atom Clover Trail

With Windows 10, Microsoft executed a paradigm shift in their service model. As a result of the new software as a service model, Microsoft is changing a lot of long standing practices. They are also, looking in from the outside, making a lot of it up as it goes. In a move that might baffle many users, Windows 10 may be dropping support of certain Intel platforms earlier than expected.

Starting with Windows 10, Windows is moving to a software as a service model. In fact, Windows 10 may be the “last Windows” until Microsoft feels the need to have a fresh name. As a result of this new service model, support is no longer 5+5. Microsoft will no longer provide 5 years of mainstream and 5 years of extended support. Instead, support will be provided for the “supported lifetime” of the underlying hardware.

Creators Updates Kill Intel Clover Trail Atoms

For certain Intel platforms and processors, this “supported lifetime” is ending rather quickly. The Intel Clover Trail Atom processors are being blocked from updating to the latest Creators Update. Clover Trail shipped with Windows 8 and 8.1 in most cases. If users had stayed on Windows 8.1, they would have support till 2023. For users who chose the free “upgrade” to Windows 10, they will see their support end in 18 months, sometime in 2018.

Part of the support issue lies in the underlying drivers. For their Clover Trail platform, Intel chose to use Imagination Technologies PowerVR GPUs. According to some reports, this is complicating the support process to update drivers. At the same time, it is unclear how Creators Update changed the compatibility requirements. Afterall, previous versions of Windows 10 worked just fine. Part of the blame lies with Microsoft in not ensuring current hardware is properly supported in new updates. For now, the chips are in limbo after an announcement that work was being done to make compatible drivers.

Over the past couple of years, Microsoft is running into new issues due to the software as a service model. The main benefit is it allows for upgrades and updates to be easily distributed. The drawback, however, is Microsoft has to ensure their new upgrades don’t break too much compatibility. It also removes the ability for Microsoft to set new uniform standards for hardware without dropping support for older devices. At present, Microsoft is at a crossroads between a Google Android or Apple iOS support model. Hopefully, Redmond will make the correct choice.

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