Why can't you install Windows 10 Creators Update on your old Atom netbook? Because Intel stopped loving you
Meanwhile, Redmond extends security fixes to tired CPUs
Microsoft has blamed Intel for the sad trail of low-end PCs left out of the Windows 10 Creators Update rollouts.
The Redmond giant says its latest flavor of Windows can't support machines powered by Intel's Atom Cloverview processor family because Chipzilla has stopped supporting those chips. Without Intel providing firmware and driver updates for the five-year-old silicon, Microsoft says it can't guarantee its OS will be able to work reliably.
And because Microsoft dislikes dealing with unnecessary support calls and complaints, it'd rather you didn't use Creators Update or later versions, such as the upcoming Fall/Autumn Creators Update, on those old netbook processors. So you can't install it.
"Recognizing 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," a Microsoft spokesperson told The Reg on Wednesday night.
"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."
Built in 2012 and 2013, the Cloverview Atoms are 32-bit only, and were mostly used in netbooks and low-end PCs. Intel considers the four processors in the group to be at their end of "interactive" support, meaning: "Intel Customer Support Agents no longer respond to telephone, chat, community support forums, or email inquiries for this product."
So you can forget about software support for the processors from Intel, too.
Microsoft did say, however, that while Cloverview-based computers won't be able to get the Creators Update, they will still receive security patches for the next roughly six years, as long as they're running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. That particular version of Windows 10 – build 1607 – is supposed to hit end-of-life in March 2018, but this deadline has been extended specifically for Cloverview Atoms.
"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," the Microsoft spokesperson added. Clover Trail is, by the way, the platform name; the chips were codenamed Cloverview.
"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." ®