Watch out: soon some older PCs will lose Windows 11 support

Since its launch, Windows 11 has been plagued by compatibility issues due to its high-spec demands that excluded plenty of PCs. But now even more will be left in the cold thanks to a new update.

The upcoming version 24H2 update, which has been rumored to launch in September 2024, will no longer boot on computers that use very old processors; specifically, the kind that doesn’t support the POPCNT (population count) instruction, according to Twitter/X user Bob Pony.

Many of the system files will require the POPCNT CPU instruction from the Windows 11 kernel to the USB XHCI drivers, the tweet states, meaning that any processors without it cannot run the operating system.

POPCNT was made standard in CPUs in the mid-2000s starting from AMD's Barcelona architecture, followed by Intel's first-gen Core i-series processors. This means that PCs manufactured in the past 15 years shouldn’t be affected by this new Windows 11 requirement. It also shouldn’t affect modern PCs unsupported by the OS, so those who've managed to find a workaround would still be able to run Windows post-update.

Windows 11 support could be the better option 

As user-unfriendly as this new update will be for those running PCs with old processors, it makes sense from Microsoft’s viewpoint to force users to run Windows 11 on newer machines. The 24H2 update will be ushering in some massive changes that will heavily focus on next-gen AI experiences, as well as various performance and security updates and new features.

In order to ensure that all these new features actually work as planned with the OS, the tech giant needs to make sure that spec requirements are up to snuff to run them – especially as it expands Microsoft Copilot support, since that’s supposed to enhance the Windows interface and boost productivity in terms of apps, search, and more.

And as off-putting as the growing emphasis on Copilot and other AI features and tools can be, at least Microsoft is only focusing on updating Windows 11 and doesn’t seem to be switching to a whole new OS, Windows 12. While tempting, such a move could fracture an already heavily divided user base that overwhelmingly still supports Windows 10.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

PC gamers will finally lose support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 thanks to Valve dropping them

PC gamers, it’s time to bring in the new year by finally retiring that old Windows OS. Valve announced in an official blog post that Steam would no longer support Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 after January 1, 2024.

According to the official Steam blog post, after that date current Steam Client installations on those named operating systems will no longer be receiving any updates, including security updates. Steam will also no longer offer technical support or be able to guarantee Steam functionality after that date.

According to the latest Steam hardware survey, only about 0.89% of Steam users still have Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 installed, which is around the same amount as those with Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics cards. Not an insignificant amount considering that there are 31 million online Steam users, but it’s still a rather small population so the dropped support makes sense on that front.

Valve recommended users update their OS as “core features in Steam rely on an embedded version of Google Chrome” and that “future versions of Steam will require Windows feature and security updates only present in Windows 10 and above.” The post also cites general security risks involved in keeping these operating systems installed without proper security updates to address them. This is sound advice considering that Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 in 2020 and Windows 8.1 in 2023.

Microsoft ending OS support could spell disaster

Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 aren’t the only ones that have gotten the boot from Microsoft, as the tech giant is planning on ending support for Windows 10 in 2025.

Not only is this putting a significant amount of users out of an unsupported OS but, as analyst firm Canalys puts it, could cause an environmental disaster. This is due to the current laptops running Windows 10 that don’t fit the hardware requirements for Windows 11, which means that those laptops would most likely not be recycled. That’s an estimated 240 million PCs becoming e-waste.

Users will have the option to pay for prolonged support, like with Windows 7 before it, but that only extended the lifespan by three years and each year saw rising costs for paying users.

It remains to be seen how Microsoft will handle this potential catastrophe, especially since in recent years the corporation has seemed to become more proactive in terms of sustainable and easily repaired hardware, as well as other environmental issues.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Apple shuts My Photo Stream on July 26, so make sure you don’t lose your photos

Apple has announced that it's shutting down its older My Photo Stream service on July 26, and encouraging everyone to move over to iCloud Photos. If you still use My Photo Stream, your files will remain available in the cloud for 30 days from July 26.

My Photo Stream was the forerunner to iCloud Photos. It was free to use but only covered a maximum of 1,000 pictures and video clips, keeping these files in sync across every Apple device you owned and on the web.

Apple hasn't given a reason for shutting down the service, but iCloud Photos is clearly the newer and more comprehensive option for photo and video backups – while also making some money for Apple in terms of storage fees at the same time.

“Moving forward”

“Moving forward, iCloud Photos is the best way to keep the photos and videos you take up to date across all your devices and safely stored in iCloud,” Apple said in an email sent out to anyone who is still making use of My Photo Stream.

While photos and videos won't be deleted from your actual devices, they will be removed from the cloud 30 days from July 26 (so August 25), and syncing will be switched off. No new uploads will be permitted from July 26.

The service launched alongside iCloud in 2011 and is something of a throwback to the time when tech companies were still figuring out how to get photo and video uploads to work in a speedy and seamless way.


Analysis: what you need to do

What Apple is doing here is phasing out the cloud storage and syncing service for your last 1,000 photos and videos. The original files – which in most cases will be on an iPhone, if they were captured with the iPhone camera – won't go anywhere.

Unless you want to risk losing all your precious memories if something happens to your phone, you really need to get your pictures and videos uploaded to the cloud for safekeeping. Apple is pushing its own iCloud Photos service, which works well: once you go past 5GB of files though, you'll need to start paying for storage.

Other similar services that offer paid-for cloud storage include Google Photos and Dropbox. If you don't want to pay or store anything in the cloud, you need to make sure your photos and videos are regularly backed up to a computer or storage drive or two, preferably in a different location to where your iPhone normally lives.

There's more information in the official Apple support document about how the My Photo Stream shutdown is going to work, what you need to do with your photos and videos, and how to get them into iCloud Photos if you want to.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More