Intel draws fire for not writing Win10 drivers for older Sandy Bridge PCs
Microsoft stirred up a storm of complaints when it announced earlier this year that effective July 2017 it will no longer support Windows 7 or 8.1 on the newest Skylake Intel processors. Reasons for the decision ranged all over the place, but came down to this:
For Windows 7 to run on any modern silicon, device drivers and firmware need to emulate Windows 7's expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states -- which is challenging for WiFi, graphics, security, and more.
A similar situation -- but in reverse -- is now playing out with older Intel processors and support for basic Windows 10 features. In particular, it appears Intel will not issue Miracast (WiDi) drivers for its second-generation Sandy Bridge systems. The second-generation HD 3000 graphics card has limited OpenCL support, and other Win10 drivers for earlier-generation systems are questionable.
This means if you bought a new Intel-based computer four or five years ago -- even an expensive, high-end PC -- you probably won't be able to use it for Intel's Miracast technology in Win10, and video may not work right on Win10. I'm not talking about dated Pentium or Celeron processors; I'm talking about relatively recent i3, i5, and i7 systems.
Intel's support forums are ablaze with irate customers demanding to know why their four-year-old Sandy Bridge top-of-the-line PCs won't support Miracast in Win10. The answer, simply, is that Intel won't write the drivers. As Intel employee Bryce@Intel put it thusly:
It has always been [Intel's] plan to fully support Windows 10 beginning from 4th Gen (limited SKU's) and newer products
Intel's fourth-generation processors started shipping three years ago. If you have an older system, the existence of Win10 drivers is hit-and-miss.
Details are complex, with specific combinations of processors, onboard graphics cards, and network adapters supported and other combinations not supported. Some drivers work fine under Windows 10, others require tweaking. And in several cases Win10 drivers don't -- and won't -- exist.