New CPU lock in Windows is now live and more restrictive

It appears that Microsoft kept their promise and started locking updates for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for those trying to run these operating systems on Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen CPU families. Users who installed April 2017 updates faced this serious issue along with new restrictions which were not announced initially.

The problematic updates are:
KB4015549: Windows 7 Monthly Rollup (which includes security and quality fixes)
KB4015546: Windows 7 Security-Only Rollup
KB4015550: Windows 8.1 Monthly Rollup (which includes security and quality fixes)
KB4015547: Windows 8.1 Security-Only Rollup

After installing these updates, when the user tries to check for subsequent updates, the following dialog window appears on the screen:

It says:

Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows. Because the processor is not supported together with the Windows version that you are currently using, your system will miss the important security updates.

Microsoft provides support for Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Ryzen CPU series (and all new processors going forward) only in Windows 10. This is purely a business decision, not a technical one to force more people to use Windows 10. In order to receive updates, the user has no choice but to move to the latest operating system version.

This change is even more restrictive with April 2017 updates than we could imagine. Every time you start Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on PCs with the above mentioned CPUs, you'll see an "Unsupported Hardware" nag after a few minutes!

If you try to install an update manually using the standalone update installer, the operating system will terminate the update process! The following message box will appear:

The worst thing about this change is that even your virtual machines running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be affected. If a guest Windows 7 or 8.1 OS is running in a VirtualBox-powered virtual machine running on any Windows host OS, the CPU identifiers of the host PC hardware get passed on to the guest VM, so updates will be blocked in the Virtual Machine as well! This makes it impossible to use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 in a virtual machine with Kaby Lake and Ryzen CPUs.

But that's not all. The April 2017 updates also "accidentally" blocked updates for Windows 7/8.1 users running the OS on the AMD Carrizo CPU which is a 6th generation microprocessor!

Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 in January 2015. End of mainstream support means the operating system receives security updates but not minor functionality changes. Windows 8.1 is still under mainstream support but Microsoft is ditching customers of this operating system entirely with this hostile move. Microsoft wants everyone running Windows 10 as soon as possible whereas many Windows users have no plans to ever use Windows 10, not even in the future. Once their current hardware stops working, they will be forced to install and use Windows 10 to remain secure and protected.

Microsoft has also worked with its partners, Intel and AMD so they do not make drivers for users running older releases of Windows on newer hardware.

Such hostile moves are likely to alienate many customers permanently. There is a possibility that some users will boycott Windows 10 and switch to Linux instead.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

17 thoughts on “New CPU lock in Windows is now live and more restrictive”

  1. I smell a possible class action lawsuit coming
    I would love to move to linux and did set it up at one point. I could actually run windows under WINE but it did not recognize my hard drives other than the C drive. I am sure there is a fix, but I think it would require hours to become semi proficient with the Linux command line which is basically new to me

  2. A minor problem, Sergey, you have this article sectioned under Windows 10, when it’s actually a Windows 7 and 8.1 article.

  3. I’ve not seen this mentioned in any article but I’m sure some of us will simply turn off updates to avoid this. We’ve come a long way since Microsoft allowed security updates on pirated copies of XP for the greater good of the world’s infrastructure. but I guess that sort of thinking is now seen as weak and stupid by our modern business leaders.

    This new demonstration of moral bankruptcy has not alienated me simply because the job was already done by Windows 10 and some of its despicable features. I’m migrating to Vista for my remaining Windows needs because it looks so nice and I don’t have to fight with it to get some privacy. Or not as much. ;)

  4. This is the most vindictive action I have ever witnessed from a company supposedly as reputable as Microsoft, in order to influence its customers.
    Linux is the only option now . Since you do not have to use the command line to operate the system, it is the best alternative.
    I expected this kind of madness from Bulmer and am astounded that Gates is turning on his client base with such venom.
    Linux (mint) is now stable enough to support anything I wish to do. Boot time about 3 seconds max.

    1. No, Linux isn’t the only option if you need to run the Windows-only software you want/require. Most people find a way to break down a problem and resolve it rather than throwing everything out and moving to something else. Linux is free and has been forever, and everyone’s hated Microsoft for so long… yet Linux still only has 1-2% market share. If Linux was a viable alternative for most people, you’d think they’d have moved by now since it’s free as well (and it’s been many, many years since Linux was unheard of, so ignorance isn’t an excuse anymore). But they haven’t, because reality hits you like a brick wall and you realize that the world isn’t so easy to command.

  5. I can’t believe Microsoft is stopping MANUAL updates from installing on new processors.

    Even virtual machines are affected?? And there’s a nag screen too?? Wow. This is unbelievable. Microsoft has taken an action which is probably illegal.

    They even attached the update with other critical updates so it effectively blocks all updates going forward. This forces all computers with newer CPUs and Windows 7 and 8 installations to NOT RECEIVE CRITICAL SECURITY UPDATES. MICROSOFT IS NOW HELPING VIRUSES SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE WORLD BY NOT ALLOWING VALID CURRENT COMPUTERS TO BE UPDATED. In their desire to force everyone onto Windows 10, Microsoft is now a VIRUS ENABLER!!!

    This will also affect developers still targeting Windows 7 and 8 machines. None of them can develop on modern machines safely. WOW.

    There should be a class action lawsuit over this for a number of reasons. This could easily be construed as a breach of contract. The agreed upon time period for updates to Windows 7 and 8 were established at the time of the release of the operating systems. Were future CPU limitations included in the established update schedule?

    Even Windows XP and Vista can still be updated with the latest updates. The fact that XP and Vista can still be updated also could be important in a court of law because Mircosoft can’t argue that it is technical problem with newer CPUs. This proves that the breach of contract is strictly a marketing strategy. It is a strategy which forces people to update based on making them less secure and more vulnerable to viruses.

    I really hope a smart lawyer somewhere understands this and starts a class action lawsuit. This seems like a valid and winnable class action lawsuit. Microsoft does NOT have the right to sell an operating system claiming a certain period of support and then restrict that operating system from being safe simply because they want to force people to their newer operating system BEFORE THE AGREED UPON SUPPORT PERIOD HAS ENDED.

    This is a clear breach of contract by Microsoft!!!

    When Microsoft is willing to take these kinds of measures making their own customers less safe, WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER TRUST MICROSOFT AGAIN? If they are willing to do something which is arguably illegal just for marketing, what will they do to their customers once they are all using Windows 10? If they can’t respect their customers during the transition to Windows 10, why would they respect them when they are using Windows 10? Does the user own their computer or does Microsoft own their computer? How can a company be TRUSTED when they LIE about something as simple as a date they are willing to support an operating system? Without TRUST, how can one party continue working with another party?

    Maybe if Microsoft had shown respect for their users by allowing them control of updates in Windows 10 and also allowing the customers to switch when they were ready, they would earn people’s trust. But they show NO RESPECT for their own customers. By principle alone, it is worthwhile NOT upgrading to Windows 10.

    Linux will hopefully continue to build momentum and eventually be a viable alternative not just for internet and office work but for games and especially creative applications. Then Windows will become the niche product. It almost seems inevitable.

  6. regarding virtual machines.. i haven’t tested this with virtualbox, but in vmware windows 7 and 8 are still working fine, the updates are NOT being blocked.

  7. Broke Windows Update on all my 6th Gen Intel machines also. I now have to find a workaround as these machines are running point of sale software not compatible with Windows 10 yet need to be secured.

  8. I copied and pasted my long letter above to Microsoft forums:

    There are no responses there yet.

    It is unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen make their own customers insecure and vulnerable to viruses for no valid reason reason except to force them onto Windows 10. These are people who paid for Windows 7 and 8 and were told my Microsoft that they would have security updates until a specified date. Microsoft has no broken their contract with their customers.

    Don’t trust Microsoft. Why would anyone upgrade to Windows 10 when they treat their customers like this?

    Doesn’t it feel great to know that Microsoft completely controls your computer? If they want to install silly games or any software against your will, you have NO CHOICE with Windows 10. If they want to REMOVE software that you have personally installed, they will remove it from your system without your approval like they did with the excellent free software Classic Shell. Microsoft has made a number of very strategic decisions and there are no signs that they are changing course to a less hostile company.

    This latest move is one of their most aggressive decisions yet and is arguably illegal. Microsoft should be sued over this because there is a strong case to made that are in breach of contract.

  9. I’d quit my job if I had to work on projects which are dedicated for deranging other people. It seems that lately it’s been all about that at Microsoft.

  10. I’ve been running Windows 7 as a virtualbox client under Linux (Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS host; XPS-13 Dell notebook).

    Two days ago I started to get that message “Your PC uses a processor that is designed for the latest version of Windows … your system will miss the important security updates”.

    Unfortunately, Linux host does not seem to prevent from this :(

  11. I would love to hear the explanation from Microsoft to DOD, the Veterans Affairs, other Government Agencies and Schools that rely on those security updates.

    What are they going to say to the US Government and the rest of the world.
    FU. You either update to our new Windows platform that reports everything you do back to Microsoft or you get nothing.

    Sure, that’s going to turn out well.

  12. check out FPGA hardware and think what evil MSloth would do with it embedded in CPUs, and motherboards, and harddrives, and sdram and sim cards ?

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