Microsoft is slamming the door on PC users who might have hoped to use the new Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Zen chips for their Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs. Unfortunately both chips are only supported by Windows 10.

It’s no surprise that Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10. The tech giant faced criticism earlier this year for changing the pop-up box encouraging Windows users to upgrade, and has already announced that it will discontinue Windows 7/8.1 PRO in October.

In a blog post written in January this year, Microsoft announced that “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,” . Around the same time Microsoft tried to shorten its support lifecycle for Intel Skylake PCs running Windows 7 and 8, a policy the company subsequently abandoned after intense backlash from the internet community.

Wondering if the same would be true of Kaby Lake and Zen, PCWorld reached out to Microsoft, which held firm in its initial decision.

Why does this matter and what does it mean for PC users?

From a technology standpoint, Microsoft’s push forward no longer gives PC users their choice of operating systems, something which could potentially be a deciding factor when it comes time to purchase a new computer.

AMD and Intel appear to have little choice in Microsoft’s decision essentially to limit the customers they can sell to. An Intel spokesperson confirmed it had no plans on updating the Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 drivers for Kaby lake ‘per Microsoft’s support policy change’.

An AMD representative echoed the same sentiments stating ‘MD’s processor roadmap is fully aligned with Microsoft’s software strategy’.

What will happen if I install a Kaby Lake processor in a desktop PC running windows 7 or 8?

According to PC gamer, nobody knows outside of Microsoft and Intel, and until the CPUs are released, there won’t be an opportunity to find out.

One source though predicts that without driver support and security updates the experience would be ‘a bit glitchy’.  Another source stated that without specific support for a chip’s features, certain apps, if not the operating system itself, might crash.

Why is Microsoft doing this?

We can only assume that Microsoft is doing this to inflate the Windows 10 usage numbers. If everyone is running Windows 10 it will make life easier for Microsoft’s engineers: there’s less hardware to test and support, less code, fewer bugs, fewer problems for everyone. Not only that, but Microsoft is probably avoiding another Windows XP. Figures from March this year stated that XP – the popular operating system which has been running since 2001, was the third most popular desktop OS! Considering XP is over 15 years old, it is no wonder Microsoft is pushing users to keep up to date with their operating system.

While you will not be able to use the new Kaby Lake or AMD Zen chips for Windows 7 or Windows 8 PCs, they will boot Linux, the BSDs, Chrome OS, and OS X.

Hayden McMaster