Problems with Windows 10 Feature Updates on Old Computers

GEEK FREE
By Joe Callison
13 March, 2019

Windows 10 was released in July 2015. Many older computers manufactured as far back as 2007 were upgraded to Windows 10 during the free upgrade period. All seemed well until the feature updates were rolled out twice per year and difficulties in updating the old computers began to surface. Being stuck at one of the feature update versions for the remaining life of the old computer would be more tolerable if not for the limit of only 18 months of security updates Microsoft provides for each feature update version.  

For example, the 1709 version (fall of 2017) will not receive security updates after April 9, 2019. Previous versions have already quit receiving updates. The problem with this is had the Windows 10 free upgrade not been done, the Windows 7 support with security updates would go on until January 14, 2020, or Windows 8.1 support until January 10, 2023. Microsoft’s position is that you can use their software downgrade rights to go back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if you wish. It is up to the manufacturers of the computer hardware to release updated drivers for compatibility with new Windows features, so if the manufacturers have ended support of old computers you are out of luck. The wording from the Microsoft support page is:
Note: Not all features in an update will work on all devices. A device may not be able to receive updates if the device hardware is incompatible, lacks current drivers, or is otherwise outside the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) support period.

To be fair to the manufacturers, you could have checked their support web sites to see if the computer model was tested for Windows 10 compatibility and presumably that would mean they intended to continue supporting it with driver updates for at least some time. For example, HP says they did not test computers manufactured before August 2013, so if you updated one older than that you did so at your own risk. Microsoft has a handy support page with links to most of the manufacturers’ Windows 10 version support information:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-windows_install/check-this-list-to-determine-if-your-computer-is/5152bb37-f95d-48a6-b7b2-ad0d5c738923

You can check which version of Windows 10 you have by typing winver in the Cortana search box and clicking on the result that says winver Run command as shown below.

The version will be displayed in a window like this example that is version 1809:

This Windows 10 support information can also be useful if you are still using Windows 7 or 8.1 and trying to decide whether to upgrade your existing computer to Windows 10 after the support ends or buy a new computer. With all the continuing vulnerabilities being discovered with the existing processors, I would recommend getting a new computer with one of the 9th generation Intel processors that has a hardware fix for the vulnerabilities (not all 9th generation models will) as the software fixes seem to either not be adequate or they can hurt performance. AMD is also releasing new Zen 2 processors with hardware fixes for vulnerabilities. The new Intel and AMD processors should be showing up in new laptops in 2019.

 

Posted by Joe Callison

2 comments

Linda Winter

Hi Joe, ours says version 1803 *OS build 17134.648. Are we ok?

Thanks,
Linda

Joe Callison

1803 would be the Spring 2018 version. There was a Fall 2018 version 1809 and we are about to see the Spring 2019 version. Your 1803 version will be supported until the Fall 2019 version is released, probably in October. You will need to update to a newer version than 1803 to keep getting security and quality updates from Microsoft after October.

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