Users with Older Atom Processors Should Wait on the Windows 10 Creators Update

Posted on July 17, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 42 Comments

Users with Older Atom Processors Should Wait on the Windows 10 Creators Update

If you’re using an older PC with an Atom processor, you should avoid manually upgrading to the Windows 10 Creators Update.

But then, this isn’t new advice: Microsoft made this recommendation back in April when the Creators Update first shipped. Plus, anyone using such a PC isn’t the type of person that would ever manually install an OS update.

“Microsoft is working with our partners to provide compatible drivers for these processors,” the support note explains. “Until then, Windows Update will prevent devices containing one of the processors listed above from installing the Creators Update.”

The processors in question are:

  • Atom Z2760
  • Atom Z2520
  • Atom Z2560
  • Atom Z2580

In other words, the story hasn’t changed: If you aren’t technical, you should wait until the Creators Update is actually offered to you via Windows Update. Otherwise, you may have bad results as there’s a reason this update isn’t being delivered to your PC automatically. In this case, what I’d imagine is a pretty serious issue.

This comes up today because of a ZDNet report that states that “an entire generation of PCs, most only three or four years old, are now unable to receive new feature updates to Windows 10.” That’s very dramatic, but the reality is that Microsoft is just doing what it always does by ensuring the highest-quality upgrade experience. And missing a few non-essential feature updates isn’t all that important.

Nothing to see here.


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Comments (42)

42 responses to “Users with Older Atom Processors Should Wait on the Windows 10 Creators Update”

  1. Waethorn

    Oh, Ed plopped this article out just now, and this isn't news.

    Clover Trail was NEVER supported on Windows 10. Microsoft goofed and let the free Windows 10 update install on those systems but they were always missing drivers, and Intel never supported them. If you try to install Windows 10 on a Clover Trail PC cleanly, you'll get crashing and other weird problems, and generally speaking, some drivers missing that you'll never be able to download. The upgrade only kept some of the Windows 8 drivers, but they aren't digitally signed for Windows 10.

    So this isn't news. This is just a rehash of Intel's publication when Windows 10 shipped.

    Buy a new computer.

    • skane2600

      In reply to Waethorn:

      MS customer service: "Buy a new computer if you have an update problem after we encouraged you to update to an incompatible version."

      • Waethorn

        In reply to skane2600:

        Yup. Exactly.

        Why do people still criticize me for complaining about this kind of stuff??

        I have customers that ran into this issue. Clover Trail devices, ESPECIALLY tablets, just don't work properly with Windows 10. Never have, and never will.

        Get over it and buy a new system. Because if you bought an Apple device, you'd be replacing it just about as recently.

        • skane2600

          In reply to Waethorn:

          It's called bad customer service. Why is criticism of MS so often defended by pointing to what Apple does? I have an ancient Mac Mini that a client gave me for a Mac project years ago that I no longer use. The only Apple device I ever paid for was an Airport Express that is now broken and hasn't been used in years. So the problems of Mac users is of no interest to me and irrelevant to this discussion.

          • Waethorn

            In reply to skane2600:

            I'm pointing out that Windows tablets don't have any more of a life expectancy than Apple's.

            • skane2600

              In reply to Waethorn:

              And I'm saying Windows users don't care about Apple problems.

            • Darmok N Jalad

              In reply to Waethorn:

              Clovertrail came about around the same time as iPad 4, which (like iPhones older than 5S) will not be getting iOS11 due to lack of a 64bit CPU. Apple has definitely always been the company to make hard breaks in hardware/software (though it's usually phased in over several years), but there are usually benefits. MS carries that baggage seemingly forever, and people have become so accustomed to legacy support, that when something like Windows RT or 10 S launches, people scoff and reject it, and their app stores remain devoid of decent content.

              That said, I have a 2010 Mac mini that still gets the latest updates, and it will get the next major update. It's a little slow, but it still gets the job done. We're talking Core 2 Duo and nVidia IGP. That's 7+ years of support.

  2. red.radar

    One point the ZDNET article makes and I believe its valid.

    These Atom processors will no longer receive security updates after the support cycle of 1607 ends in January '18 . Effectively they become insecure and we see the first case of forced hardware obsolescence.

    Unless that point is inaccurate, I believe then this is a big deal and a failure of windows as a service model.

    Even if this is isolated incident of a HW configuration that should have never received windows 10 being forced upgraded it puts those users in a crappy situation. Microsoft shouldn't have upgraded this configuration they should have left these clovertrail chips at windows 8

    • Wolf

      In reply to red.radar:

      How is this a failure of the Windows as a Service model? Windows is licensed/supported for the lifetime of the device. The lifetime of these Atom processors is over. Like Paul said, "Nothing to see here."

      • red.radar

        In reply to Wolf:

        Because who determines the life of a product is the customer that is using it. Not Microsoft

        Thus in the eyes of the end user its a failure of the model because now they have a perfectly good piece of hardware they have to throw away because the software vendor has lost will to support it.

        • Wolf

          In reply to red.radar:
          Umm, no. Hardware has always had a life cycle. When the life cycle is deemed to have ended, usually by the manufacturer, support stops. This has been true for many years. Have you tried getting support for any older computer?

          • red.radar

            In reply to Wolf:

            The offense is the forced obsolesce. Especially in this case because those devices could have stayed on windows 8.1 and received security updates till 2023. But because Microsoft and their aggressive windows 10 upgrade policy; they shortened the lifespan of the product to January 18' Microsoft should have never upgraded these devices if they knew they couldn't support them with feature and security updates till 2023. That is the failure of Windows as a Service, you loose control of making the decisions that benefit you as a consumer not Microsoft the vendor.

            • Wolf

              In reply to red.radar:

              Obsolescence is a sad fact of life. You upgraded to Windows 10 and chose not to roll back. If it doesn't work for you, I recommend rolling back to Windows 8.1, which is apparently better suited for your hardware, and see if you can run for the next six years.

              • red.radar

                In reply to Wolf:

                It is. But there was a precedent of 10 years of support with the old release model.

                Personally, I will begin to move towards Linux as my baremetal OS. This regains some level of control and increases life of HW. I will sandbox windows because they will never obsolete VM hardware due to all the testing and software development done in VMs. I can use many of Microsofts cloud services through a web browser.

                Windows 10 offers little value to my day to day computing experience.

    • markbyrn

      In reply to red.radar:

      Not sure it's a failure of Windows as a service model but calling it "nothing to see" is certainly incorrect. On one hand, we rap people for not updating when they have a security breach, and now people will be prematurely cut off from updates. Hello?

    • IanYates82

      In reply to red.radar:

      Agreed. Forced to not get security updates is definitely a problem...

      • Wolf

        In reply to IanYates82:

        Can you say Windows XP? "Forced to not get security updates" is sometimes a practical necessity.

        • IanYates82

          In reply to Wolf:

          Oh yeah, but the timing on this is quite different, don't you think? A device that was upgraded from Windows 8.x to Windows 10, with Microsoft's encouragement, is now getting less time for security updates than if the user stayed with Windows 8.x. That's not really a win.

  3. IanYates82

    I've got a first gen Intel compute stick I've been trying to get insiders on for over a week. It's currently on creators update. Fails at a reboot and needs a forced turn off before starting recovery again.

    I've been wanting to try new onedrive since it's a machine I use for support purposes occasionally so I need access to my files but needn't have them local.

    Will check what chip it has when I get home...

  4. jimchamplin

    So an entire CPU generation was made DOA 2-3 years After introduction. I’d guess there were Bay Trail parts being sold into 2014 and probably early 2015, and everyone involved just threw their hands up and said, “not supported!”

    Weak as water.

    Is it any doubt why ARM is eating Intel’s lunch AND stealing their milk too?

  5. Jorge Garcia

    I own that laptop pictured, and I adore it. It's staying on 8.1 for as long as MS allows it.

  6. John Scott

    If this ends up happening and these chips lose support. Its rather ironic that Microsoft promised early on to support the device running Windows 10 for its lifespan. So is Microsoft now determining that life span? Funny that if its true that support would end for these chips. It would end sooner for Windows 10 then if these devices continued to run Windows 8.1? I know I would be upset to be nagged into upgrading to Windows 10 only to have Microsoft decide it could no longer support my device. Granted these devices were not expensive devices, and they ran what basically is a Atom based chip which we all know is not what Intel has based its future on. But we may have to start entertaining that lower end devices may not be supported as long as Windows users have in the past been used to.

  7. Narg

    If you have a computer with an older Atom processor, don't you think it's time to upgrade your hardware???

  8. scottib62

    I guess I must be technical and or lucky. I have an Acer W3-810 with a Z2760 cpu. Had some issues installing creators update but did a reset and clean install...And viola creators update Version 1703 build 15063.483. Works great.

  9. Tallin

    Did I miss the part where it said they would never be upgraded? Looks to me like they just don't have drivers YET. From the comments you'd think Microsoft had said it would never happen. I decided to not manually upgrade my Surface Pro 3 to see how long it would take. Still haven't gotten the Creators Update. So obviously their rollout isn't complete yet if they haven't even upgraded one of their previous flagship devices.

  10. agizmo

    I'm not surprised by this announcement. Back in 2012 the IT department I work for was given the opportunity to buy tablets. Most got iPad 4 tablets, 2 got Nexus 10 tablets, and I asked for a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 which used CloverTrail (I work in network operations and needed to use desktop apps) . From the start it was a great Windows 8 device. The touch first interface worked great and made sense. With the release of Windows 8.1 issues started to crop up. First there was a buggy WiFi/Bluetooth driver that would cause crashes. Then a BIOS bug. And occasional graphics drivers. But, I was on the only person with the device and worked through the problems. With Windows 10 RTM and each successive feature update things kept getting worse. Graphics driver support was always a problem with Windows 10. I don't think Intel/Imagination Technolgies ever released a new driver since 8.1 for the CloverTrail SoC. I checked for drivers for the Acer W150, Dell Latitude 10, and Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2. All seem to have the same driver versions.

    Honestly I don't think CloverTrail should have been cleared for Windows 10 from Microsoft (actually for a time the devices weren't eligible for the free upgrade).

  11. Waethorn

    This has the information from Intel about support for Intel graphics:

    There are other chipset functions that aren't supported either.

    Bay Trail is the oldest of the "current"-gen Atom's that has Windows 10 support.

  12. glenn8878

    Stay away from Atoms. My Dell tablet stopped working. Oh well.

  13. skane2600

    "That’s very dramatic, but the reality is that Microsoft is just doing what it always does by ensuring the highest-quality upgrade experience."

    You forgot the /s tag. My PC has an i5 processor and creators update gets stuck at 90% but that doesn't stop MS from bugging me every few days to update. Until the Atom processor problem is fixed, the security argument about updates is dead in the water too.

  14. Waethorn

    BTW: I wanted to comment on the ZDnet post to let Ed know that the situation hasn't changed: Intel has never supported Clover Trail on Windows 10, and they only ever supported Bay Trail, forward. Anybody that's been trying to run Windows 10 on Clover Trail would've witnessed all manner of crash-tastic user experiences - if it would even boot. Alas, ZD's comment system is broken (surprise, surprise).

    This is non-news, people.

  15. Koshy

    I updated my Atom system the day windows 10 Creators Update was released. I personally had no problems with the Atom system though my i5 laptop is still a mess after the Creators Update.

  16. pachi

    My small lenovo 8" tablet was the 37xx series I think. It's improved since Win10's release, but overall it's not worth it. Was much faster on Win8.

  17. mikiem

    Absolutely No Offense to anyone implied, lots of these low powered devices, if not most or even all, regardless the price, are throwaways. Could be worse -- you could have popped several hundred [or today near $1000] dollars for something Android, where the OS is out of date in a year, and *maybe* upgraded once or twice during the 1st two years. Intel doesn't make enough money off their lowest end chips to aggressively support them for years, and doesn't really have much of a mobile strategy let alone market nowadays. Microsoft has been & wants to add features to Windows that require newer chips. If Intel &/or Microsoft does come up with a fix, it'll likely be in the hope that most of these devices will have been relegated to the trash by the time they do end support, or the angst will be even greater, since they fixed it before.

    That said, what's the worst case? Hopefully the user had enough foresight, &/or common sense to make a disk image backup before taking the win10 plunge, or they manage to get such an image online, perhaps from the OEM. They bought a win8 device, & running win8 it should still be perfectly usable.

    The ZDNet article seems [IMHO] to mainly be about both stoking outrage & making sympathetic noises to effected users... as such it probably gets lots of clicks, same as stuff intended as troll bait, but shouldn't really be an issue -- if you have an effected device, you should really have taken time to know the risks moving to 10, and if you don't own one, it shouldn't matter to you. [It's kinda like the article with folks getting upset over light bleed. There's plenty of info online about the various types of panels, their pros & cons, & with some types of panels light bleed isn't something new or unheard of. And regardless, most places allow returns *by law*, so if you get something you don't like, send or take it back. There's plenty of other stuff in the world to get upset about if getting upset is your thing. ;)]

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to mikiem:

      The problem when people argue that Android doesn't get updated is that Google has moved most of the everyday stuff for end users to Play Store and Play Services, which DO get updates regardless of what you have. That means you can still download most of the apps that exist out there. I just pulled an old crappy Samsung phone running 4.1.2 out of a drawer, connected it to wifi, and it immediately updated Play Store and then started downloading app updates. I think the slow hardware will be far more of a hinderance than proper OS updates, but then again, that is also true of clovertrail Atom. That CPU was slow as molasses the day it came out. I'm surprised there are people out there still trying to use anything running one of those.

    • skane2600

      In reply to mikiem:

      Most people buy low powered devices because they are less expensive. There's no more logic in having to throw away a $300 laptop than a $2000 laptop relative to your income. The excuses are really thick here today.

  18. rameshthanikodi

    That's terrible to be honest, but again, Microsoft took up this challenge once they decided all Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 PCs were suitable to upgrade to Windows 10 and its servicing model. I'm not sure if Intel would actually bother to work with MS to get the compat issues worked it. In other words, it's dead jim. Oh well. I guess Windows 10 version 1607 isn't too bad.

    Then again, screw Intel for making a 32-bit processor in 2014.