Microsoft Rethinks Windows 10 Updates

John Lister's picture

Microsoft says it won't deliver new Windows 10 features to some computers. However, it's vowed to give the affected machines security patches for six years, a major extension on its original policy.

Last week it was discovered that as many as 10 million computers running an Intel processor named 'Clover Trail' did not get the latest major update to Windows 10 - something Microsoft said was a compatibility issue. Applying the update could have made system text and icons unreadable.

Most of the affected machines were combined "2-in-1" models that worked as both laptops and tablets. They were originally designed for Windows 8 but customers were told they were fine to upgrade free of charge to Windows 10.

Security Patches Would Have Stopped In February

The lack of major update caused a panic over the future security updates to these models. Since deciding Windows 10 would be the last completely new edition of Windows, Microsoft has switched to a new policy for issuing updates. It plans to release major updates with new features twice a year, update once a month to fix and improve performance issues, and then issue security patches as and when they are needed.

However, the timeline only guaranteed to offer security patches for a computer 18 months after its last major update. In other words: any PC not updated to the Creators Update would not receive patches beyond February 2018, which effectively makes it unsafe to use. Given some of these computers are only four years old, this problem didn't go down well.

No New Major Features

Microsoft has now said it definitely won't be updating the affected machines to the recent Creators Update unless Intel produces new drivers, something Intel already says isn't happening. The machines will therefore receive the monthly improvement updates, but won't get any major new features. (Source:

It has said it will make an exception on the security updates. For these models only, Microsoft will continue to issue security patches until January 2023. It picked that date as that's when security support would have expired had the machines still be running their original Windows 8 system. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Was Microsoft right to extend the security updates for these machines? Should it adopt a similar extension as and when other machines stop being compatible with major updates? If you run Windows 10, are you clear how long it will continue receiving the various updates?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I am surprised that Intel won't produce new drivers for the Atom chipset. Surely this won't be that difficult for them to do, considering they designed the CPU. With millions of those processors potentially running Windows 10, I think it would make way more sense to hammer out the drivers then to make concessions on an older, unsupported operating system.

trbruce_9594's picture

Totally agree, Intel should do this to ensure there customers are kept up to date with Windows 10 and all its features.

femakahuna's picture

This is totally unacceptable. Not supporting your customers is the fastest way to lose them

Dennis Faas's picture

This is a bit off topic but I just recently built two systems with AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processors (8 cores and 16 threads) @ 3.0 GHz - both easily overclocked to 3.8 GHz - with DDR 4 RAM 2667 MHz and I can tell you, this thing screams. And it's a fraction of the cost of an Intel processor that offers fewer cores! Overclocking to 3.8 GHz effectively gives me 2 extra cores had I not overclocked it (8 cores x 800 MHz added to each core = 6400 MHz more power = approx 2 x 3.2 GHz extra cores).

gi7omy's picture

This seems to have been Intel policy for some years now. I help with support for the Firestorm viewer in Second Life and we are constantly having users complain about problems which are directly related to Intel graphics chipsets. Intel simply won't issue any updates which has the end result that a lot of people (mainly laptop users) are increasingly unable to log on to SL. This doesn't only affect Windows 10 but also 7, 8 and 8.1.

Given the above, the failure to update the required drivers for the Atom chipset is typical Intel (they seem to work on a 'planned obsolescence' feature where, after a fixed time you have to go and buy a complete new machine (or at best, replacement motherboard and CPU)

dan400man's picture

The takeaway here seems to be that we should avoid Intel and start buying AMD systems / CPUs.

I'm fairly agnostic on the brand. I bought a system with an AMD CPU when the price/performance ratio was significantly in AMD's favor. Nowadays, that ratio isn't significantly different, and you don't get to choose the CPU brand when you find a pre-built model that meets your needs. So, unless you build your own desktop (which I haven't done since I started buying laptops), you're pretty much stuck with what the manufacturers put in them.

I appreciate that AMD gave Intel competition and forced them to lower prices.