Yesterday we wrote how Microsoft’s Windows 11 won’t technically leaves millions of PCs behind – the company told us it won’t really stop you from installing Windows 11 on a PC with an older CPU, as long as you download an ISO file yourself and install it manually. But it turns out that even that technicality has a technicality. Microsoft is now threatening to withhold Windows Updates from your copy of Windows 11 — possibly even security updates — if you go that route.
We’re not sure why the company didn’t mention it in our original briefing, but Microsoft has since told The edge that unsupported PCs are not entitled to receive Windows Updates, and even security and driver updates may be withheld.
It is very possible that this is just a measure by Microsoft. It’s hard to imagine Microsoft not releasing critical security patches when we’ve often seen the company expand support and occasionally offer a free patch even after suspending an operating system for good. If I were in Microsoft’s shoes, I might want to discourage people from thinking that I was providing warranty and technical support for every possible PC configuration under the sun to avoid potential legal issues down the road. Better underpromise and overdeliver.
But it’s also possible that Microsoft really does intend to hold back patches at some point in the future — possibly even at launch. Microsoft declined to provide further clarification at this point, suggesting the company is very happy that we assume this is a real threat.
It’s not all about security updates, by the way: if you’re unwilling or unable to replace your older Intel 8th-generation CPU, Windows 11 could theoretically be an operating system that takes you back to the days of manually downloading driver updates. for all your hardware, something I haven’t had to think about in years. Windows 10 wowed me from day one by working seamlessly with my outdated laptop, so it would suck if it doesn’t anymore. (Admittedly, the generic drivers that come with Windows are often good enough.)
Feature updates are probably less important: if you’re the kind of person who would install a Windows 11 ISO on your computer in the beginning, you can probably download a newer ISO the next time there’s a major Windows update you want. and perform an in-place installation. I just reformatted my machine with the Windows 10 2H21 ISO, and hardly had to patch after that. But I suppose Microsoft may also change its mind about system requirements for future ISOs.
Why are you leaving us in the dark? My best guess is the one I offered yesterday, when I wrote how “Windows 11’s upgrade situation just got less and less confusing”: The company seemingly wants to get Windows users to buy a new PC, whether they need one now. or not. Yesterday, the company told us about a loophole that could calm some of the company’s vocal power users who don’t want to give up their old hardware. But if that loophole gets in the way of Microsoft’s plans, the company reserves the right to make it much less attractive.