Need to Use Windows 7? Choose Your New Computer Wisely


Photo by Nao Iizuka

Usually, when you build or buy a computer, you have lots of choices. What processor to use, how much memory you’ll need, et cetera. You also have a choice in operating systems, like MacOS, Linux; or Windows 7, 8, or 10. As Microsoft works to get as many people on their newest OS as possible, your choices may soon become fewer.

Microsoft now requires the major chip manufacturers to prevent their processors from running old versions of Windows. As of now, this include’s Intel’s latest “Kaby Lake” generation of processors and AMD’s recently released “Zen” processors. What does this mean for you? If you already use Windows 10, probably nothing. If you prefer to stick with 7 or 8 however, a brand-new computer with one of these newer processors may refuse to function correctly – if at all – unless Windows 10 is installed.

What to Do?

If your SMU computer is due for an upgrade and you still need Windows 7 to do your work, make sure to let OIT know when requesting your upgrade so the correct processor can be ordered.

In the market for a new personal computer and have a need to continue running Windows 7 or 8? You’re going to need to do some homework. Currently only Kaby Lake and Zen processors have these new Windows restrictions, so look for a computer with a previous generation processor, like “Skylake” for Intel and “Excavator” or “Steamroller” for AMD. These are all codenames for the processors, so you probably won’t see them in the big print. You will usually find these names buried in the specifications information on online stores. If you are in a brick-and-mortar store, ask the salesperson what “architecture” or “generation” of processor the computer is using. Anything before 7th generation for Intel and before the 5th generation for AMD will work with Windows 7, 8, and 10.

If you are a Linux or Apple user, there is no need to fret. These OS restrictions were set forth by Microsoft for Windows only, so they do not apply to Linux or Macs.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Published by

Zach Peterson

Zach is a Senior IT Training & Communications Consultant with OIT. Zach began his SMU career at the IT Help Desk in 2012 and joined the Training & Communications Team in 2015. He is a 2011 graduate from the University of North Texas and obtained a Master of Liberal Studies degree from SMU in 2018. He enjoys reading and collecting vintage and antique radio sets. He grew up in Valley View, Texas near Denton.