Microsoft is embracing Windows 10, and it’s no surprise. The OS’s adoption rate is impressively large, and fast. That’s owes a lot of thanks to it being a free upgrade, but it’s also admittedly pretty darn spiffy.
It’s also no surprise, then, that Microsoft has begun to wind down support for Windows 7 and 8.1, at least in regards to new technology. Windows 7 is old at this point, and was designed before many of the technologies implored today. Getting newer CPUs to run on these older systems requires a fair bit of spit, vinegar, elbow grease, and emulation.
At the same time, we know many of these customers continue to rely on Windows 7 for its well understood reliability and compatibility. Windows 7 was designed nearly 10 years ago before any x86/x64 SOCs existed. For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states- which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security, and more. As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing.
Basically, Windows 10 has become so popular that Microsofcan finally let go of the old. Of course if you’re running windows 7 with a 4th or 5th gen CPU, you’ll be fine indefinitely, but if you decide to upgrade this year, then you might just be screwed.
Of course while this means the days are numbered for Windows 7 and 8, Windows 10 is only beginning to hit its stride. Hell, the vast majority of games still don’t support DirectX 12. Hopefully that renaissance starts to kick it into gear over the next couple years. Or sooner, perhaps, if some of today’s games get Directx12 support.
They posted a blog on the windows site that explains the shift in more detail.