Microsoft confirms that owners of ‘unsupported’ 2-in-1 laptops won’t get any more Windows 10 upgrades

Microsoft has spoken out concerning the 2-in-1 laptops running older Intel Atom processors which can’t upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10, admitting that there won’t be a fix for this issue, but the software giant said it will extend support for security updates for these machines to ensure they remain protected.

If you missed this story which broke earlier this week, it’s all about hybrid notebooks that were bought back in 2013 or 2014, running Intel Atom Clover Trail CPUs, which were eligible for the free upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10.

The problem for those who took that freebie upgrade is that these processors are incompatible with the latest Creators Update, and folks who try to install it get an error message stating that Windows 10 is no longer supported on their machine.

A galling error to receive, doubtless, and what’s worse is that Microsoft has confirmed that this problem appears to be unsolvable.

Microsoft said in a statement (spotted by ZDNet) that these Clover Trail 2-in-1s “require additional hardware support to provide the best possible experience when updating to the latest Windows 10 feature update”.

The firm explained: “However, these systems are no longer supported by Intel, and without the necessary driver support, they may be incapable of moving to the Windows 10 Creators Update without a potential performance impact.”

It would seem, then, that applying the update would simply bog these machines down and make them unacceptably sluggish.

Security solution

Another big worry was that critical security updates are only provided to a version of Windows 10 for 18 months after its release, meaning these machines which remain on the Anniversary Update (because they can’t possibly upgrade) will run out of road for security patches early in 2018.

Microsoft has fortunately taken action here, and has promised that it will provide security updates for these devices until January 2023 (which marks the end of extended support for Windows 8.1, the OS these PCs initially ran).

Overall, this is far from an ideal solution, because it means users will be left in Windows 10 limbo in terms of features, not getting any of the new capabilities introduced in the Creators Update and the other major twice-yearly updates going forward. But at least continued security support is something.

As we saw Acer point out at the beginning of this week, the affected laptops include those running Intel Atom Z2760, Atom Z2520, Atom Z2560 and Atom Z2580 processors.

The owners of these notebooks may well wonder why Microsoft allowed them to move to an OS which became unsupported on their device just a few years later. And the other big question mark is over whether we’ll see more machines join this unfortunate ‘unsupported’ club in the future when new (possibly increasingly demanding) updates come to fruition.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).