In an attempt to get more users to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft announced early this year that it would drop support for Intel Skylake processors on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 after July 17, 2017. The controversial policy was short lived though, as a few months later the software giant gave its customers a one-year reprieve, pushing the deadline to July 18, 2018.
But, as you can see, that is not the end of the story, as Microsoft has changed its mind once again. Today, it announces that Intel's sixth-generation processors will actually be supported for an even longer period of time on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. That is good news for those who are not planning on upgrading to Windows 10 in the foreseeable future.
In a blog post, Microsoft director of Windows Business Planning Shad Larsen reveals that support for Skylake processors has now been extended to match the end of extended support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
More specifically, that means that support for Skylake processors powering Windows 7 systems will end on January 14, 2020, while in the case of Windows 8.1 devices the new deadline is now January 10, 2023. This also applies to systems powered by Windows Embedded 7, Windows Embedded 8, and Windows Embedded 8.1.
Microsoft explains that it is responding to the feedback received from enterprise customers, that "in some instances, [...] have a few systems that require longer deployment timeframes". While Microsoft has extended support mainly to please business customers, its decision also impacts consumers. The software giant says that Intel's Skylake systems "will be supported with all applicable security updates" until the aforementioned deadlines pass.
"This change is made possible through the strong partnership with our OEM partners and Intel who will be performing security update validation testing and upgrade testing for 6th Gen Intel Core systems running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 through the end of support dates", adds Microsoft. "This change is designed to help our customers purchase modern hardware with confidence, while continuing to manage their migrations to Windows 10".
The software giant does not feel pressured to rush its customers to upgrade to Windows 10 anymore, as it no longer aims to get the new operating system on a billion devices in the first two to three years of availability. Clearly, that goal seemed out of reach. This could have played a role its latest change of heart.
Its latest update puts Windows 10 on over 350 million devices, a year after its launch, while NetMarketShare estimates its usage share to be roughly 21 percent. Growth has slowed, and it is unlikely to pick up again so that Windows 10 can add as many devices under its belt year after year.