Windows 10 has been available for more than a year, so it’s not surprising that most new PCs ship with the operating system. But if you really want Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 you can always install it yourself. A handful of PC vendors will even offer to load an older version of Windows for you.
But that may change with the launch of Intel’s 7th-gen Core/Kaby Lake chips and AMD’s new Bristol Ridge processors. That’s because Microsoft and the chip makers are only officially supporting Windows 10… and not earlier versions of Microsoft’s operating system.
Earlier this year Microsoft published a blog post on the topic, basically saying that it wanted to “embrace silicon innovation” by stating that Windows 10 would “be the only supported Windows platform” for upcoming chips including Kaby Lake and Bristol Ridge. PC World recently received confirmation from Microsoft that the company hasn’t backed down: don’t expect Windows 7 drivers for new chipsets from Microsoft, Intel, or AMD.
That doesn’t mean you can’t try to install Windows 7 on a brand new PC with a Kaby Lake or Bristol Ridge CPU. But without proper drivers, you may experience some glitches.
Of course, Windows isn’t the only game in town: if you really don’t want to use Windows 10, there’s nothing stopping you from installing a GNU/Linux distribution such as Ubuntu or Fedora on a new PC.