Newsletter Archives

  • Some historical perspective on the “Microsoft won’t support Creators Update on Clover Trail computers” problem

    I’ve been watching the furor erupt over Microsoft’s refusal to let Win10 Creators Update run on Clover Trail computers. Peter Bright has a good overview on Ars Technica.

    In a nutshell, folks with PCs running on the 2012-to-2014-era Intel Clover Trail Atom processor – they shipped with Windows 8.x – were offered a free upgrade to Windows 10, back when everybody else was pushed in that direction. Now, a year or two later, Microsoft says those who took the bait won’t be able to upgrade to Win10 Creators Update version 1703. Try to upgrade and, per Ed Bott on ZDNet, you get the message “Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC.” Microsoft has magnanimously, and uncharacteristically, stated that it will continue to provide security updates for Win10 1607 on these particular computers until January 2023.

    Of course, consumer response has been frosty. But the problem only affects a “small number of users” so attention soon shifts to another hot topic.

    Bad Microsoft. Windows as a Disservice. What else is new?

    One of my favorite bloggers, Günter Born, published an article earlier this morning that changed my perspective. Born goes through the reason for Microsoft’s block on the upgrade — basically, the Clover Trail computers implicated have an integrated graphics chip, the GMA SGX 545, and Intel either can’t or won’t provide a driver update. We’ve seen that happen before, too.

    Here’s what turned my head. As I was looking at Born’s links, I stumble on something odd. He links to a list of Windows 8 tablets that don’t support Windows 10. His link goes to a German-language site. Here’s a link in English.

    The Clover Trail-based computers that got hit by the ban:

    Acer Iconia Tab W510 / W510P / W511
    Acer Iconia W3-810
    Asus VivoTab Smart ME400C / ME400CL
    Asus VivoTab TF810C
    Dell Latitude 10
    HP Elitepad 900
    HP Envy x2 11
    Lenovo IdeaTab Miix 10
    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2
    Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx K3011 / K3011W
    Samsung ATIV Tab 3 XE300TZC
    Samsung ATIV Tab 5 / smartPC XE500T1C

    It’s a worthwhile list, but what struck me is the date on that post – and the reason for the post appearing. In it, poster Tourniquet says:

    At the time of wirting this, there are a couple of first generation Windows 8 Tablets that doesn’t officially support the Windows 10 upgrade. This is because of the Intel Atom Z2760 GMA (SGX 545) driver. Interestingly if you tried to reserve Windows 10 a week ago, there wasn’t a problem, but now the GWX says it’s not supported.

    And the date… July 31, 2015. Two years ago.

    Tourniquet goes on to say:

    We can only hope that Intel will provide new drivers (for Windows 10), but they didn’t when Windows 8 came out for they Atom Z500/Z600 so you never know.

    So it looks like the Clover Trail problem is two years in the making. You can point your finger at Microsoft or, I think, just as validly point your finger at Intel. Why did Microsoft allow the upgrade to Windows 10? Why won’t Intel come out with a driver? If they could iron things out for the Anniversary Update, why can’t they get together on the Creators Update? How long have folks at Microsoft and Intel known about this problem, and why wasn’t it divulged much earlier in the game?

    Looks like there’s plenty of blame to go around.

  • Windows 10 Anniversary Update 1607 = end of the road for Clover Trail chips, but security patches continue

    No doubt you watched as the drama unfolded: Ed Bott at ZDNet reported on Monday that folks with older Atom Clover Trail based PCs — Atom Z2760, Z2520, Z2560 and Z2580 processors — were blocked from installing the Win10 Creators Update, version 1703. If you had the temerity to try to upgrade from 1607 to 1703 on one of these three-year-old machines, you were greeted with the nonsensical message:

    Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC

    Uninstall this app now because it isn’t compatible with Windows 10.

    That sparked quite a furor online, where pundits were all over the map, trying to explain (and even excuse!) Microsoft’s callous behavior. Support for 1607 — the last version of Win10 available for these Clover Trail PCs — ends about a year from now. Folks who bought the Clover Trail PCs in the first wave of Win 8.1 mania, and upgraded to Win 10 (thank you, GWX), had unwittingly boxed themselves into a dark corner where security patches stopped in early 2018. Nevermind that Win 8.1 support goes to January 2023.


    A couple of hours ago, Ed posted an emailed statement from Microsoft that explains the sorry state of affairs, apparently laying the blame on Intel’s doorstep:

    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…

    these systems are no longer supported by Intel, and without the necessary driver support, they may be incapable of moving to the Windows 10 Creators Update without a potential performance impact…

    The statement came with an amazing offer:

    To keep our customers secure, we will provide security updates to these specific devices running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update until January of 2023.

    That means Microsoft’s on the hook to support 1607 for five years more than originally anticipated. Not cool for the Softies, because Microsoft’s been planning on dumping older versions of Win10 every 18 months. Windows as a Service, ya know.

    While I welcome the announcement, I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen with the next bunch of aging processors.

    I also wonder what kind of conversations transpired between Satya Nadella and Brian Krzanich. Looks like the old Microsoft-Intel wars are back in full swing.

  • Win10 Creators Update will not install on some Atom/Clover Trail computers

    A damning report from Ed Bott on ZDNet.

    UPDATE: Paul Thurrott has a contrary opinion in this tweet:

    “The following Intel processors are not CURRENTLY supported by the Win10 Creators Update.” Drivers ARE coming.

    And Paul draws a sobering conclusion in his paywalled article Windows as a Disservice:

    Any company could, at any time, stop supporting any one component in any given PC. And if that end of support is serious enough—like Intel declining to update 3-to-4-year old bargain basement CPUs like those Atom chips at the heart of this matter—that means that Microsoft may be forced to no longer support Windows 10 on that PC. The lifetime of that device has come to a close.

    As I’ve said many times before, subscribing to Paul’s Premium service is well worth the $48/year (initial offer).