Want updates? Better deploy Windows 10 now

A reasonable IT Pro may cast suspicion here…

However, in a post on the Windows Experience Blog, EVP Terry Myers states the following:

…Today we are clarifying our Windows support policy:

Windows 7 will continue to be supported for security, reliability, and compatibility through January 14, 2020 on previous generation silicon. Windows 8.1 will receive the same support through January 10, 2023. This includes most of the devices available for purchase today by consumers or enterprises.

Going forward, 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. For example, 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.

Through July 17, 2017, Skylake devices on the supported list will also be supported with Windows 7 and 8.1. During the 18-month support period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. After July 2017, the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.

The bottom line is that Intel and Microsoft have made a deal, and that deal involves you not getting updates for the magical combination of new hardware and old operating systems.

What should you do here?

In my opinion, there’s not much reason to hold off on Windows 10 at this point anyways. The stability is there, and the experience is compelling. When you look at the capabilities of your systems management tool for Windows 10, combined with the Enterprise Mobility Suite, you really can manage any device, anywhere.

If your organization has a refresh cycle for end user computing, and I hope that’s the case, make sure you understand these key dates:

  • Windows 7 will receive updates through 1/14/2020 on previous generation chipsets
  • Windows 8.1 will receive updates through 1/10/2023 on previous generation chipsets
  • Windows 10 will be required for any new chipsets going forward from now
  • All in, you should be executing on a migration to Windows 10 with a completion date before 7/17/2017

Finally, there has been an update to the original blog post that clarifies which Skylake devices (broken out by manufacturer) will support Windows 7 and 8.1 until 7/17/2017.

Update (3/18/2016): Yet another modification to this policy, with an extension to 7/18/2018. Details at this TechNet article.

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