Microsoft has confirmed that millions of recent laptops will no longer receive updates to add new features to Windows 10.
Laptops running on Intel Atom 'Clover Trail' chipsets will not receive any Windows 10's feature updates post the Anniversary Update, issued in summer last year.
Despite most of these machines only being three or four years old, Microsoft says it is unable to push these updates to 'Clover Trail' laptops, due to Intel ceasing support for the chipset.
Machines that will no longer receive these updates include those running on Intel Atom Z2760, Z2580, Z2560 and Z2520 processors, such as the HP Envy X2 laptop. TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet reports that at least 10 million of these devices were sold in 2013 and 2014, according to analyst estimates.
While these laptops were sold with older operating systems, primarily Windows 8, many will have taken advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 that Microsoft pushed so heavily onto users.
Ahead of the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft's executive VP of the Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson said: "Once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device - at no cost. With Windows 10, the experience will evolve and get even better over time."
The issue in the case of Clover Trail PCs is that the laptops' supported lifetime has effectively ended, says Microsoft.
"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," says a Microsoft spokesman.
"This is the case with devices utilizing Intel Clover Trail Atom Processors 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."
While feature updates will not be forthcoming, Microsoft has pledged to continue issuing security patches to these machines until January 2023, the end of the original Windows 8.1 extended support period.
ZDNet's Ed Bott, who first reported on the Windows 10 update issue, says this decision to continue issuing security fixes for devices stuck on the Anniversary Update build of Windows 10 will increase the support burden upon Microsoft.
Read more about Windows 10
- Microsoft agrees to extend support deadline for Clover Trail PCs (ZDNet)
- Windows 10 no longer supported? How to tell if your PC is eligible for latest version (ZDNet)
- Windows 10 adds end-to-end security to the Fall Creators Update
- Windows 10: Microsoft bricks smartphones for Windows Insiders with buggy update
Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.