Microsoft really wants everyone who uses their OS to upgrade to Windows 10. In fact, this desire is so strong, that they’ve taken a remarkable step. Going forward, all new chipsets produced by Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and others will only support Windows 10. You won’t be able to upgrade your old hardware with newer, faster, better chips, unless you also upgrade your OS.

There is a small but vocal minority of users that have been upgrading their hardware to stay current, but have kept using older (now outdated) operating systems. Reasons vary from one person to the next, but there are some legitimate concerns for these folks, including legacy support and backwards compatibility issues. Some older applications may not run at all on Windows 10, and it’s going to be both difficult and expensive for these users to upgrade. They may not have a choice, at least not if they want to keep getting security patches.

Microsoft has been understanding, and has extended the deadline for support cutoff on a couple of occasions, but the bottom line is that the day’s coming when you’ll no longer be able to get support. The company has given a variety of dates, so some users may be confused by this. We’ll lay those dates out here, and what they mean:

July 17, 2017 – This was the original deadline set by Microsoft. As of this date, if you’re using Intel’s latest “Skylake” chips, but running Windows 7 or 8.1, you will be restricted to only the most critical updates and security fixes.

July 17, 2018 – This was their compromise with the group mentioned above. A one-year extension to continue receiving critical updates.

After this date passes, the only updates available will be critical patches that address security issues. There will be no additional functionality updates, critical or no. The final deadline for Windows 7 (no more updates at all, including no additional security fixes) is January 14, 2020. The final deadline for Windows 8.1 (no more updates at all, including no additional security fixes) is January 14, 2023. It is unlikely that Microsoft will be swayed to push these dates back further, no matter how loud the chorus of complaints gets. If you’re in this boat, it’s best to start planning for the inevitable now.