Following Intel's official unveiling of its new Kaby Lake (seventh-generation) processors, and a rash of incoming notebooks set to use the CPUs, Microsoft has confirmed what it announced earlier this year – that only Windows 10 will support this new processor.
And it's not just Kaby Lake either, but all future processors such as rival AMD's incoming Zen.
Back at the start of the year, Microsoft said that: "Windows 10 will be the only supported Windows platform on Intel's upcoming 'Kaby Lake' silicon, Qualcomm's upcoming '8996' silicon, and AMD's upcoming 'Bristol Ridge' silicon."
When PC World asked Microsoft to confirm that this was still the case, a company spokeswoman replied: "As new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support."
"This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon," she added, restating what Terry Myerson said at the beginning of this year.
Intel and AMD on board
Both Intel and AMD representatives who were contacted also confirmed that the policy was in place for future processors like Kaby Lake and Zen.
AMD said its CPU roadmap was "fully aligned with Microsoft's software strategy", and Intel clarified: "No, Intel will not be updating Win 7/8 drivers for 7th Gen Intel Core [Kaby Lake] per Microsoft's support policy change."
So it's most definitely Windows 10 or bust if you want your PC to have a cutting-edge CPU.
However, you may recall that Microsoft did have a rethink on withdrawing extended support for those running Skylake (sixth-generation) processors with Windows 7/8.1 (meaning only critical security patches would be provided).
Originally, Microsoft was looking to cajole those on Skylake hardware to move to Windows 10 by ceasing extended support for Windows 7/8.1 in July 2017, but following much complaining, that deadline was first pushed back to July 2018 – and then earlier this month things changed again with full support for Skylake being extended to end-of-life (January 2020 for Windows 7, and January 2023 for Windows 8.1).