Microsoft Blocks Windows Updates for Windows 7/8.1 on Ryzen and Kaby Lake

/ 2 years ago

Ever since Windows 10 launched, Microsoft has gone to extreme lengths to push their new operating system. In addition to an aggressive and nearly forced update for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, Microsoft has also tried its best to persuade users to move on. It appears that Microsoft is going even further with hardware restrictions with their older operations systems by withholding crucial and critical updates.

According to several users on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 with Kaby Lake or Ryzen systems, Microsoft is implementing a hardware lock for updates. Instead of receiving updates, they get a message stating “Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows”. This is a restriction to getting updates from Windows Update and restricts both regular updates as well as the essential security updates and fixes.

According to a Windows support page, 7th Generation Intel (Kaby Lake), AMD Bristol Ridge [and later] and Qualcomm 8996 processors all require Windows 10 for support. Due to a change in support policy, Microsoft is not allowing systems using these processors scan for or download updates. However, it appears that users can still download the updates individually and apply them to the system.

While it makes business sense for Microsoft to push Windows 10 adoption, it is an abysmal move for the consumer. Other than pushing Windows 10, it also means less testing for the Windows Update QA groups. Windows 7 and 8.1 are still supported and users should be able to use these systems as they wish. This is especially true of user choosing their hardware. Microsoft should never limit the ability to use an OS based on hardware unless the OS simply cannot run with the hardware. Since the updates can be individually downloaded and installed, there is no technical reason why Windows Update is restricted on these systems. Microsoft has simply chosen a software policy that benefits themselves and hurts their customer’s choice and freedom.

Microsoft’s move in this case also sheds some light on how they will handle Windows 10 support in the future which has been a bit vague. With the new OS, the goal is to move to software as a service model, with support for the lifetime of the hardware. Once the hardware lifetime is over, support from Microsoft will end. Extrapolating from the current example, it appears that support will simply cut off Windows Update on systems running hardware they deem to be unsupported.

With this anti-consumer move, Microsoft may lose the faith and trust of their many customers. Previous operating systems never had issues with updates being limited to certain processors. Windows XP, for instance, was able to obtain updates for every processor that ran the OS. Hopefully, Microsoft will reconsider their policy and allow Windows Update to work for at least the lifetime their operating system on compatible hardware.

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