Back in January 2016, Microsoft announced that it will not support older versions of Windows on upcoming PC hardware, provoking the ire of a lot of customers. Due to backlash, the company caved in on its decision, saying that it would only support Skylake PCs running Windows 7 and 8.1, and that all future "silicon platforms" would require Windows 10 for continued support.
This decision is now in effect as numerous users utilizing older versions of Windows on new hardware are encountering errors when installing the latest Patch Tuesday updates.
Ed Bott of ZDNet reports that users who tried to install the latest security updates on newer PCs running older versions of Windows were greeted with the following error:
Your PC uses a processor that isn't supported on this version of Windows and you won't receive updates.
It's worth noting that the move, while controversial, isn't exactly out of the blue. Microsoft had explicitly cautioned that new PCs sporting Intel's seventh generation Kabylake and AMD's Bristol Ridge processors would require Windows 10 in order to receive future updates. In August 2016, the company stated that:
Going forward, as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support... 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.
That said, supported Skylake-based systems will be able to utilize Windows 7 and 8.1 throughout the extended support period for the two operating systems, which ends on January 14, 2020 and January 10, 2023 respectively.
Moving forward, while it may be possible to forcibly update older versions of Windows, it's clear that Microsoft wants its customers to upgrade to Windows 10. Businesses with Windows Enterprise licenses with Software Assurance as well as those with KabyLake systems can upgrade to Microsoft's latest operating system without any additional cost.