Microsoft Quietly Kills Windows 7 Support For Non-SSE2 CPUs

Microsoft Quietly Kills Windows 7 Support For Non-SSE2 CPUs
Image: <a href=''>Harsha K R</a> / Flickr

Earlier this year, Microsoft pushed out an update for Windows 7 that, when installed, would cause systems running CPUs without SSE2 support to blue screen. The company said it was “working on a resolution” however, a few months later, it appears that resolution is to “buy a new PC”.

Martin Brinkmann over at gHacks decided to do some digging, after the notice disappeared from Microsoft’s most recent patch KB.

In the notice, Microsoft said it was “working on a resolution” and would “provide an update in an upcoming release”.

It seems the company decided it was easier to just drop support for non-SSE2 chips instead, going by a KB article dated May 8:

Symptom: A stop error occurs on computers that don’t support Streaming Single Instructions Multiple Data (SIMD) Extensions 2 (SSE2).

Workaround: Upgrade your machines with a processor that supports SSE2 or virtualize those machines.

That’s quite the workaround.

But let’s be honest for a minute: who does this impact exactly? Probably no one you know. Or anyone the people you don’t know know.

To be specific, you’d have be rocking a Pentium 3 or Athlon XP, the last mainstream processors lacking SSE2. Everything from the Pentium 4 and Athlon X2 up is right as rain.

Still, Microsoft should probably update the system requirements for Windows 7… just in case.

[Microsoft, via gHacks]


    • I imagine the intersection of people with a 15 year old CPU combined with a 9 year old operating system is probably close to negligible.

    • the 5 people who it’ll affect are probably the 5 tin foil hat wearing people who’ll scream bloody murder that this was all planned obsolescence.

  • The only issue I have with it is if the update “just happened”. ie: it installs and the owners PC goes bluescreen (which sounds exactly like what happened). If the update is going to brick the machine with certain hardware configurations then it shouldn’t be allowed to install in the first place. Add a simple check for the required instructions and if they’re not found pop up a message that the update can’t be installed.

    • Yeah that does seem a bit shitty. Places still do use older hardware and operating systems for reasons beyond their immediate control.

      • The patch that introduced the problem in the first place was a critical security update that included fixes for Spectre and Meltdown. SSE2 was a requirement for the fix as implemented, and while they tried to find a non-SSE2 fix, after three months they evidently determined it wasn’t possible.

        Considering the potential severity of Spectre and Meltdown, I think it’s a firm but not unreasonable choice to push the update without a hardware check – it’s frankly better to disable these machines now than leave them unprotected and have them turn into data leaks, virus hotbeds and botnet slaves.

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