Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that it no longer supports Intel’s Atom “Clover Trail” processors, which means they won’t ever receive the Windows 10 Creators Update, or any major Windows updates in future.
Intel Clover Trail machines shipped with Windows 8 and 8.1. These systems were due to receive OS updates until 2023, but reports emerged last week that they were prevented from installing the Windows 10 Creators Update. Microsoft spokesperson explained this to The Verge, saying:
[Intel’s Clover Trail chips] 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.
The block on these older Atom-based Windows devices is likely permanent, and the reason behind it is the GPU drivers. Intel licensed the GPU tech from Imagination Technologies for use in their Clover Trail processors. Apparently, Imagination is not willing to update the graphics drivers to meet the requirements of the Creators Update.
The good news is the Clover Trail processors will continue receiving security fixes until January of 2023. The same date also marks the end of the original Windows 8.1 extended support period. Which means systems using Clover Trail will retain the supported lifetime that they were supposed to have in the first place, but will never be upgradable beyond the Anniversary Update.
The Clover Trail blockade opens up the possibility that any hardware device that a manufacturer fails to actively support could be excluded from future Windows updates. What’s unclear, though, is whether Microsoft will exclude any other Intel processors that have moved into EOIS because there are dozens of legacy Core processors that have already reached EOIS status.
Intel has not yet confirmed whether other chips beyond the Clover Trail processors were dropped out of the Windows 10 Creators Update. We have our eyes open and will update you when we learn more.