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Microsoft Requiring Windows Support Notices for New Skylake PCs

Microsoft told its computer hardware partners this week that they'll have to provide a Windows support notice to buyers of Intel Skylake-based PCs.

The messages that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must display are published in this Windows Hardware Certification blog post. There's one message for the new PCs that won't have Microsoft's product lifecycle support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. There's a second message for those new PCs that will have such support, although a truncated version.

OEMs can use "advertisements, web sites, packaging, and point of purchase materials" to provide these notices, Microsoft suggested.

Individuals or organizations that are planning to buy new PCs and run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (Windows 8 is no longer supported) should be aware of these messages. It's also of note for organizations that buy new PCs and exercise Windows downgrade rights.

Microsoft announced this new policy change earlier this month. Essentially, the company altered its Windows lifecycle product support policies based on new hardware, particularly Intel Skylake-based machines. Under this modified policy, only Skylake-based PCs appearing on Microsoft's official list can run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and still get Windows product support, although that support is shortened. For instance, users will face a deadline to move to Windows 10 by July 17, 2017.

If users fail to move to Windows 10 by that date, they'll have unsupported Windows versions. That's a bad idea from a security standpoint because those machines won't get regular hotfixes and security patches from Microsoft. However, that detail is somewhat nuanced. Machines on Microsoft's Skylake list will continue to get "critical security updates" after the July 17, 2017 date, but only if that patching process doesn't compromise Windows reliability issues, Microsoft has indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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