The next major Windows 10 update is set to mean big changes for PC makers concerning the versions of software they can offer.
Windows 10 May 2020 Update, which is due late in May, will drop support for the 32-bit version of the operating system on the OEM side.
In other words, as of the next big update, hardware manufacturers will no longer be offered 32-bit versions of Windows 10 to install on their devices, and any PC made going forward will have a 64-bit installation.
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This isn’t a great surprise, really, and pretty much an expected move from Microsoft. If you look at the number of folks out there actually running Windows 10 32-bit, it’s an extremely small percentage (one fifth of a percent, looking at the most recent Steam hardware survey as an example). And the number of new PCs running a 32-bit version is doubtless even smaller…
That said, before those with old PCs, or folks who are running the 32-bit spin on Windows 10 for legacy reasons, start to panic, Microsoft will still continue to support existing 32-bit installations of the operating system going forward.
Microsoft clarified: “This does not impact 32-bit customer systems that are manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10; Microsoft remains committed to providing feature and security updates on these devices, including continued 32-bit media availability in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios.”
However, with Windows 10 32-bit being phased out as of the May 2020 Update, it’s clearly on the path to complete extinction now. And as to how long Microsoft feels it’s viable to continue providing updates for existing 32-bit systems, that’s an unknown factor – we’ll just have to see. But as we’ve already mentioned, the percentage of users out there is already vanishingly tiny, and at some point, a decision might be made about the use of resources in continuing that support.
Of course, Windows 10 32-bit is hamstrung in various ways, not least of which is the ability to only support 4GB of system RAM.
Windows 10 May 2020 Update is expected to emerge on May 28, or possibly a day or two before, according to the most recent leaks and rumors we’ve seen – and it would appear to still be on track to meet that purported schedule.
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