Microsoft has posted information online about an error message that Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 users can expect if they have systems with the latest Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm processors. They don’t seem to be able to receive OS updates anymore.
The recently published Knowledge Base article describes the symptoms of an Unsupported Hardware message, accompanied by the text: “Your PC is using a processor that is not supported on this version of Windows and you will not receive updates”. This error is caused by the fact that new processor generations require the latest Windows version for updates.
Microsoft clarifies that Intel’s seventh-generation processors, i.e. Kaby Lake, AMD Bristol Ridge, and Qualcomm 8996, a.k.a. Snapdragon 820, or later generations of these processors require Windows 10 for support. According to the software maker, there is a possibility that Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 systems with those chips will no longer scan for updates or will no longer download updates via Windows Update or Microsoft Update.
Microsoft announced the end of support in early January 2016, but the wording seems to suggest that the updates can’t be downloaded at all either. With previous support terminations, the updates could be installed on certain hardware, but Microsoft simply did not guarantee that they would work because they had not been tested.
For systems with Intel Skylake processors, Microsoft has extended Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support until July 17, 2018. Until then, Windows 7 users will receive critical security updates. Windows 8.1 users could in theory also receive new functionality via updates, although this does not seem likely in practice. There is mainstream support for Windows 8.1 until January 2018. The extended support period for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020, for Windows 8.1 on January 10, 2023.