- Microsoft bumps the firmware update cycle to six years on many Surface devices.
- The new policy applies to devices released on or after January 1, 2021.
- The new increase in firmware update support is more competitive with other manufacturers.
Microsoft has updated its support page to announce that it is increasing firmware update support for Surface from four to six years. This change applies to all Surface devices shipped on or after January 1, 2021.
The new change means that popular models like the Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 7 Plus, Surface Go 3, Surface Laptop 4, Surface Laptop Go 2, Surface Studio 2 Plus, and newer devices will receive an additional two years of drivers and firmware updates.
The documentation also explains that devices released before January 1, 2021, will continue with the original policy of four years of drivers and firmware updates.
It’s important to note that firmware updates are different from system updates. Firmware updates improve how the hardware interacts with the operating system. These packages can improve overall system performance, battery life, networking, graphics, security, and more, and sometimes add new features. Also, these updates are not usually required to upgrade to a new version of the operating system
On the other hand, system updates are those updates that computers receive every month to fix and improve the operating system, and sometimes they also unpack new features. Windows 11 also receives feature updates, and these updates are required to enable new innovations, change the version number, and reset the support cycle of the operating system.
On the documentation page (via Windows Central), Microsoft outlines the support lifecycle for every device, with Surface Laptop Go 3 and Laptop Studio 2 ending on October 3, 2029. The company always reserves the right to modify its support policy as necessary.
You can always check for firmware updates from Settings > Windows Update and click the “Check for updates” button on Windows 11. On Windows 10, you can open Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click the “Check for updates” button.
Although this is a welcome change for many device owners, it’s not surprising as device manufacturers are increasing the hardware support cycle as well. For example, Google recently announced that Chromebooks released in 2021 or later will include ten years of updates. Also, on mobile, the company recently announced that it will support its Pixel 8 and future phones for seven years.