Microsoft curtails its support for Skylake-based Windows Embedded 7 and 8 devices

Microsoft is tweaking its support for embedded Skylake-based devices running Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1. But support for Skylake-based Windows Server systems remains unchanged.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

As it did recently in regards to Intel-based Skylake PCs, Microsoft is revising its previous support policies for Windows Embedded devices using Intel's 6th generation Core Skylake processors.

The new support guidance, which Microsoft issued today, February 19, mirrors what Microsoft is doing with Windows PCs. To guarantee full support, Windows Embedded users -- like Windows PC users -- need tp upgrade to Windows 10 by July 2017, according to Microsoft.

From Microsoft's support site:

"Through July 17, 2017, Skylake devices running Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1 will be supported according to the lifecycle support policy for those products. During the 18-month support period, these systems should be upgraded to Windows 10 to continue receiving support after the period ends. After July 2017, the most critical security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows Embedded 7/8/8.1 platform on other devices."

Unlike the case with Windows PCs, Microsoft isn't supplying a supported device list for Windows Embedded 7 and 8.X devices running Skylake which Microsoft will support fully during the coming 18 months. Microsoft did supply a list of Skylake-based Windows PCs that it would support fully when running Windows 7 and 8.X through July 2017.

Windows Embedded devices include industrial and medical equipment, kiosks, point-of-sale systems,, digital signage, handheld and ruggedized devices and more.

With Windows client, Microsoft's guidance, going forward is "as new silicon generations are introduced, they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support," I've asked Microsoft if the same policy is true for embedded devices. (I'm wondering whether mission critical embedded devices will have more leeway here.)

Update (February 21): Yes, the same guidance applies to Windows Embedded,a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. And for those who are on the Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB), here's the official statement:

"Windows 10 LTSBs will support the currently released silicon at the time of release of the LTSB. As future silicon generations are released, support will be created through future Windows 10 LTSB releases that customers can deploy for those systems. This enables us to focus on deep integration between Windows and the silicon, while maintaining maximum reliability and compatibility with previous generations of platform and silicon"

Readers have asked me if Microsoft plans to amend its support policies for Windows Server-based systems with Skylake (Intel Xeon E3 v5) processors inside. According to a February 19 Microsoft blog post, the answer is no. It's business as usual for servers.

The more complete explanation from Microsoft:

"The Windows Server platform is supported on certified or logo'd hardware as listed in the Windows Server Catalog. Today, you can browse the catalog and find hardware that meets or exceeds our minimum server hardware requirements and has been successfully certified for Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, and 2012 R2. For Windows Server, we outline the Microsoft Support Lifecycle as consisting of five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support....

"For example, Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 will transition to extended support on 1/10/2018. Per our policy we would allow new system submissions for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 to continue up to this date, including the forthcoming Intel Xeon E3 (Skylake) family of processors."

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