Windows 10 Free Upgrade Continued

Continuing with our series; Microsoft has simplified the process to upgrading to Windows 10 by making it a free product for most of its customers. It is natural that many of us would have some reservations about how “free” this upgrade really is if there is a catch we don’t know about further down the road, it could end up costing money.

As part of our Denver tech support efforts, Analytics has compiled a comprehensive summary of everything Windows users need to know about the free upgrade, how long it lasts, and who is eligible to receive it.

To begin, the free upgrade began July 29th 2015 and it will continue until July 29th 2016; exactly one year from start to end. Those who are considering putting off the upgrade to Windows 10 as long as possible should safely plan to complete their system upgrade in the early part of July 2016. This allows you extra time to get the upgrade completed, rather than not being able to because of that unexpected “critical” project that came up.

Many consumers are concerned that this free upgrade will require them to take on a subscription with Microsoft or pay some other fee further down the road. Analytics can ensure you this will NOT be the case. Once you upgrade your computer the upgrade is free forever for that system.

Next, as part of the software ownership consideration, many users have wondered if they would be given a Product Key that they can input into Windows 10 should they need to reinstall it. Unfortunately, the answer for this is “yes” but also “no”. You are given a Product Key specific for your system, but it is not a product key you ever see written out in the format most of us have become all too familiar with. With Windows 10, your computer is “fingerprinted” based on its hardware components, and this fingerprint is stored on Microsoft’s servers. When you go to reinstall Windows 10 on your system, your systems finger print is compared to what has already been registered on Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft recognizes it’s the same computer and transparently provides the proper Product Key to your computer.

Should you replace your computer and want to transfer the Windows 10 license, you would need to speak with Microsoft Support. Microsoft Support would deactivate the old fingerprint and take a new fingerprint from your new computer. This process will ensure that your one copy of Windows 10 only operates on one physical computer. Naturally, all of this requires a useable internet connection, at least for the activation process of Windows.

Finally, who is eligible to receive this free Windows 10 Upgrade? There are some complicated exceptions to this matter, but there is a general answer that applies to essentially everyone:

Anyone who has Windows 7 or Windows 8 gets this free Windows 10 Upgrade.
If you have Windows XP or Windows Vista, you unfortunately are unable to receive the free upgrade and would need to purchase a fresh copy of Windows 10.

For everyone who does get the free upgrade to Windows 10, you, for the most part, get a straight upgrade path. If you have Windows 7 Professional, you get Windows 10 Professional. As previously mentioned in this blog, this is a free lifetime upgrade. There will be no fee and no subscription that you need to worry about later on.

Naturally many of us wonder why Microsoft would be willing to invest so much money into a new Operating System, only to make it free.
The two responses to this wonderment are:

1. It keeps everyone using Microsoft products and in some small measure makes up for the “flop” that was Windows 8.
2. More importantly to Microsoft, getting you to use Windows 10 allows them to gather data from you that they can sell to their advertisers. Please see our earlier blog about the Security and Privacy Issues with Windows 10 for more information and how to opt out of this.