Thursday, June 13, 2024

It’s official: No more free Windows 10 upgrades


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Joan Cros/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photos

For greater than seven years, it has been one of many worst-kept secrets and techniques in private computing. Formally, Microsoft’s free improve provide resulted in 2016, however nobody in Redmond bothered to reset the activation servers. The end result? When you had a PC operating Home windows 7 or Home windows 8/8.1, you might improve to Home windows 10 at no cost.

The loophole was even larger than it appeared. The 25-character product keys from Home windows 7 and Home windows 8.1 had been nonetheless good for activating a brand new set up of Home windows 10 or upgrading to the Professional version from Home windows 10 Dwelling.

Additionally: Can Microsoft get well from the collapse of its Floor enterprise?

I first wrote in regards to the subject in January 2017 (“Sure, you’ll be able to nonetheless get a free Home windows 10 improve. This is how”) and have up to date it repeatedly within the intervening years. That put up has been learn tens of millions of occasions, and I’ve obtained hundreds of emails from readers reporting their profitable upgrades.

As just lately as September 18, I used to be nonetheless receiving emails like this one:

A fast word – with thanks – to verify that the free Home windows 10 obtain remains to be working.  Simply switched an previous laptop computer over from Home windows 7.   Thanks!!

Properly, it was enjoyable whereas it lasted.

An unsigned discover posted on the Microsoft Gadget Associate Middle on September 20 made it official:

Windows Ends Installation Path for Free Windows 7/8 Upgrade

Microsoft’s free improve provide for Home windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The set up path to acquire the Home windows 7 / 8 free improve is now eliminated as properly. Upgrades to Home windows 11 from Home windows 10 are nonetheless free.

It is noteworthy that this announcement seems on a website that targets Microsoft’s OEM companions, who carry within the lion’s share of Home windows income because of their purchases of OEM licenses for brand new PCs. The corporate had been pointedly silent on the free-upgrade loophole for seven years, whereas publicly encouraging prospects to purchase new PCs reasonably than upgrading previous ones.

With the tip of help for Home windows 10 a mere two years away and PC gross sales slowing dramatically after a pandemic-fueled resurgence, Redmond’s consideration is specializing in the long run. Particularly, on a future fueled by Home windows 11 and its successors, operating on shiny new PCs that meet Home windows 11’s minimal system necessities.

Because the put up notes, upgrades from Home windows 10 to Home windows 11 are nonetheless free, and keys for the 2 variations ought to nonetheless be interchangeable.

Additionally: The most effective Home windows laptops: Skilled examined and reviewed

It is unclear how many individuals can be affected by this modification in coverage. Arguably, most PCs nonetheless operating an outdated, unsupported model of Home windows in spite of everything these years are most likely owned by people who find themselves firmly within the “Not gonna improve, ever” camp.

Over the subsequent few weeks, I will be burning by means of my assortment of historical Home windows product keys, testing improve situations to see if Microsoft is de facto severe with its new coverage. When you’ve obtained previous {hardware} that you simply’re attempting to improve, I am all in favour of listening to about your expertise. Ship your stories to: edbott (at) realworldwindows (dot) com.

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