July 21, 2017 // 11:51 a.m.
Microsoft has officially confirmed that devices built around Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors will not be receiving the Windows 10 Creators Update nor any future feature update for Windows 10, though security updates will be made available until January 2023.
When Microsoft announced Windows 10 - skipping Windows 9 - the company positioned it as the last version of Windows anyone would ever need, offering users of older Windows releases to upgrade to the new version for free and promising continued updates as it shifted its model away from regular paid releases to continuous free updates. This 'Windows as a Service' model only really works if no uses are left behind, but earlier this week Acer confirmed that the Windows 10 Creators Update was incompatible with Clover Trail systems, either installing with graphical glitches or simply failing to install at all.
At the time, Acer suggested there might be hope by blaming buggy graphics drivers and claiming to be working with Microsoft to 'help provide compatible drivers to address this incompatibility.' Microsoft, though, has finally broken its silence on the matter to dash such hopes: Windows 10 Creators Update, and all future releases of Windows 10, will not be compatible with any Clover Trail Atom systems.
'With Windows 10, we introduced Windows as a Service, a model for continuous value delivery via twice annual feature updates and monthly quality updates. Along with this updated delivery cadence, we adjusted our support lifecycle policies to reflect the Windows as a Service model. Recognising that a combination of hardware, driver and firmware support is required to have a good Windows 10 experience, we updated our support lifecycle policy to align with the hardware support period for a given device,' Microsoft has explained in a statement to press. 'If a hardware partner stops supporting a given device or one of its key components and stops providing driver updates, firmware updates, or fixes, it may mean that device will not be able to properly run a future Windows 10 feature update.
'This is the case with devices utilising Intel Clover Trail Atom processors today: they require additional hardware support to provide the best possible experience when updating to the latest Windows 10 feature update, the Windows 10 Creators Update. However, these systems are no longer supported by Intel (End of Interactive Support), and without the necessary driver support, they may be incapable of moving to the Windows 10 Creators Update without a potential performance impact. We know issues like this exist and we actively work to identify the best support path for older hardware. As part of our commitment to customers, we will be offering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to these Intel Clover Trail devices on Windows 10, which we know provides a good user experience. To keep our customers secure, we will provide security updates to these specific devices running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update until January of 2023, which aligns with the original Windows 8.1 extended support period.'
Freezing the Windows 10 feature set at the Anniversary Update will affect anyone with devices based on Intel's Atom Z2760, Z2580, Z2560, and Z2520 processors, which were typically sold between 2013 and 2014 as Windows 8 devices before being upgraded to Windows 10 during the launch offer period.