Earlier this week it was reported that Microsoft still hadn't managed to get its Windows 10 Creators Update compatible with computer systems based on the Intel Atom "Clover Trail" processor. A compatibility issue prevents these systems from upgrading from Anniversary Update to Creators Update, but up until now it was believed that Microsoft and hardware makers were working on a fix.
These hopes are now dashed as Microsoft confirmed to ZD Net that there will be no Creators Update for Clover Trial PCs. Most of these devices are three to four years old and will be blocked from further Windows 10 upgrades. It's estimated there are at least 10 million computers that use this chip, primarily hybrid PCs and small tablets.
Clover Trial illustrates that Microsoft's plan to make Windows a service is not going as well as expected. In the statement below, Microsoft claims Windows 10 feature updates are aligned with the hardware support period for a given device. If a hardware partner stops providing driver or firmware updates, the Windows as a Service model breaks down:
With Windows 10, we introduced Windows as a Service, a model for continuous value delivery via twice annual feature updates and monthly quality updates. Along with this updated delivery cadence, we adjusted our support lifecycle policies to reflect the Windows as a Service model. 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. 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.
This is the case with devices utilizing Intel Clover Trail Atom Processors1 today: they require additional hardware support to provide the best possible experience when updating to the latest Windows 10 feature update, the Windows 10 Creators Update. However, these systems are no longer supported by Intel (End of Interactive Support), and without the necessary driver support, they may be incapable of moving to the Windows 10 Creators Update without a potential performance impact.
We know issues like this exist and we actively work to identify the best support path for older hardware. 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. 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.
To alleviate security concerns, Microsoft committed itself to providing security updates to these specific devices running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update until January of 2023.