Microsoft to make Windows 10 compulsory for new Kaby Lake and Ryzen CPUs?

Last year, Microsoft made it clear that only Windows 10 would officially support the newest processors from Intel and AMDKaby Lake and Ryzen respectively – but a new support article posted by the company indicates that the plan is to go further than this, and effectively block these chips from running with Windows 7 or 8.1.

Block them how, exactly? The article talks about Windows updates being disabled for Kaby Lake/Ryzen machines running these older operating systems, which presents a pretty much insurmountable barrier. With no patches coming through, your PC will be open to all sorts of potential exploits and security holes – much like those still running the hopelessly outdated Windows XP.

The support article discusses the error messages a user may receive when trying to run one of these new CPUs on anything but Windows 10, including the following: “Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows and you won’t receive updates.”

Previously, it was thought that users running these latest Intel or AMD processors with Windows 7/8.1 would simply be doing so at their own risk in terms of not having the correct driver support, and suffering from possible instability or incompatibility issues.

But having updates blocked obviously takes the risk factor to a whole new level.

Hold up a minute

Before we get too carried away, though, none of this is concrete – yet. 

For starters, the language used in the Microsoft article isn’t all that firm in places. For example it states: “Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices that have a seventh-generation or a later generation processor may no longer be able to scan or download updates through Windows Update or Microsoft Update.”

Note the use of the word ‘may’, although as to quite what the uncertainty is here – your guess is as good as ours.

Furthermore, as InfoWorld (which spotted this development) observes, it doesn’t seem like this policy is live yet, or at least there’s no evidence of folks who have had their updates blocked.

What may be the case here is that the support article has been put in place before the actual change comes in – and presumably it’s due to kick in sooner rather than later.

Unless Microsoft sees the outrage which has erupted in some corners of the internet over this, accusing them of engaging in another underhand way to push Windows 10 upgrades – and the company thinks better of it.

It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. Indeed, last year, Microsoft originally wanted to push those running Skylake CPUs (the previous generation to Kaby Lake) to upgrade to Windows 10 by withdrawing extended support for such PCs running Windows 7/8.1 come July 2017.

Following the venting of much displeasure, the software giant quickly changed things, adding another year of breathing room and clarifying that critical security patches would still be supplied even after this deadline expired.

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).