Microsoft has announced some significant changes to its long-term support model, and recent Intel Skylake buyers will need to pay particular attention. Up until now, customers have had considerable freedom to combine an old operating system with much newer hardware. Windows XP was sold as a preinstalled option until October 22, 2010, for example — nine years after it was first introduced.
Going forward, Microsoft will no longer offer this kind of long-term support for previous operating systems, and Intel Skylake customers will be the first to be impacted by the change. According to Microsoft’s Terry Myerson, Windows 7 and 8.1 were designed long before modern x86 SoCs were built. It’s more difficult to create Windows 7 and 8.1 drivers for modern x86 SoCs as a result, and attempting to integrate support for specific capabilities into these operating systems “would introduce churn into the Windows 7 code base, and would break this commitment [to support the older operating systems].”