I am not sure if this is the right forum for this topic, but given that it concerns new CPUs such as Kaby Lake I decided to start it here. Feel free to move it elsewhere, but I feel it is appropriate that people dealing with latest ISA extensions know what is going on.
As you may or may not be aware, Microsoft has decided to prevent people with Kaby Lake CPU from obtaining Windows security updates if they are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1:
"The processor is not supported together with the Windows version that you are currently using" error when you scan or download Windows updates
"Big deal" I hear you saying already "everyone should be on Windows 10 by now", but please, hold your horses and let me explain why everyone should be up in arms.
Windows 7 is in an extended support phase which means no new features, but it should still receive security updates until End Of Life just like Windows XP did. Let's say that even though it marks a disturbing change in vendor behavior this is somewhat less important and somehow expected and move on to the crux of the problem which is Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 is still in a mainstream support phase which ends on January 9th, 2018 and at least until then they should not only provide security updates but also feature updates. Security updates should be available until January 10th, 2023:
Windows 8.1 Pro Lifecycle
Now take a look at this screenshot and then take a look at the calendar:
That's right, someone who paid for a Windows 8.1 license is denied support almost 9 (nine!) months before mainstream support end just because they happen to have Kaby Lake CPU! Same goes for some Sky Lake systems as well which makes the whole thing look even more stupid and arbitrary.
Everyone in this forum surely understands that the message above is a pile of stinking bovine excrement and here is why:
1. Kaby Lake CPU does not have enough architectural difference compared to Sky Lake CPU to justify this artificial software block.
2. Every Sky Lake CPU has the basic set of features needed to run Windows 8.1, yet some of them are also blocked from receiving security updates.
3. Given that all Intel CPUs released after those which were lacking LAHF/SAHF instructions are 100% backward compatible there are no special tests those new security updates would need to go through to support new CPUs on old operating systems.
4. It makes sense to cut support for old hardware, not for new, 100% backward compatible, hardware.
Given Microsoft's desktop OS monopoly I expected such a dick move from them -- after all, they want everyone to upgrade to their Windows 10 spyware so in addition to those 200 USD or EUR they extort for an OS license they can also monetize our personal data.
But what I would like to understand is why is Intel allowing this? How is this in Intel's best and/or long term interest? Shouldn't all Intel's customers regardless of the CPU model enjoy the best possible security on every OS/platform which is still in mainstream support?
I think that letting OEMs and Microsoft collude and do things like this should be met with legal penalties, because this is a typical bait and switch -- i.e. "Buy Windows 8.1 and you will get 5 year support... oh sorry you have Kaby Lake CPU now? No more support for you, but if you buy this shiny new Windows 10, you will get 5 year support...".
Putting the reasons not to upgrade to Windows 10 aside for the moment, Intel should not allow Microsoft to get away with this one. Allowing this to go through is the same kind of mistake like the one where Intel allowed OEMs to decide whether hardware virtualization option was available in BIOS or not.
Why? Because the message most consumers will get out of this is that Intel latest CPU is not compatible with older software which can't be further from the truth and it will just serve to damage Intel's brand.
Somebody do something about it before it is too late.