Windows 10 Upgrade: Free or Not Free? Questions Answered

Ever since Microsoft put up the slide that said Windows 10 upgrade is going to be free for the first year, all hell broke loose. Free? Did I just read that on a Microsoft slide? Is the apocalypse real?

Naturally, we all have a lot of questions about just how this is going to work. And it looks like Microsoft is in no hurry to answer them all. Below, we’ve tried to make sense of what we do know, from official sources.

Screen Shot 2015 02 11 At 3 39 10 Am Shrink

All about Windows 10: Learn how you can install Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Mac using VM. Also, if you’re not sure what exactly Windows 10 is going to be, check out our Windows 10 intro, our article about the new Start menu and multiple desktops.

So let’s talk about what we know for sure and what it means.

1. The Free Upgrade Is Real*

A Microsoft spokesperson recently cleared up the whole Windows 10 free for 1st year debacle. Here’s the gist. Yes, individuals running Windows 7 (SP 1) and Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade their personal computers to Windows 10 for free for the first year, after Windows 10 is released.

And yes, you’ll need to be on the latest version of Windows 7 and 8.1 releases. If you’re running Windows 8, you’ll first need to update to 8.1 to get Windows 10 (which will also be a free upgrade).

Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 for free, that’s it. There’s not going to be a freemium model. You won’t be asked to pay or sign up for a subscription when the second year comes around.

Windows 10 Upgrade Shrink

But it’s not clear if MS will be selling copies of Windows 10 for individuals. What if you want to install it manually on a new PC, or want to put it on a VM. The availability of such distribution channels and the price (if at all) is currently unknown.

2. It’s A Different Story For Enterprise and Businesses

Windows 10 Start Menu 3

The Windows 10 upgrade is only going to be free for current consumers. It’s not going to be free for enterprise or even for businesses. OEMs like Lenovo and Dell that will sell PCs with Windows 10 pre-installed, also won’t get a free ride.

This upgrade scheme is only for individuals and it’s clear why. Right now, over 50% of Windows PCs are running Windows 7. That’s a lot of PCs. MS is trying to bring all those long lost customers up to date.

3. Do Pirates Really Get a Free Ride?

As I’ve said, Microsoft really wants everyone to upgrade to Windows 10. And somehow they’re cool with pirates as well. Or are they?

It looks like Microsoft itself is not clear about how this works. All this hoopla started when Microsoft’s Terry Myerson said that everyone will be getting Windows 10 upgrade for free. And it’s the everyone part that got everyone talking.

The bottom line is that Microsoft does want pirates to upgrade to Windows 10 and if they do it in the first year, it’ll be free, but we don’t have any information about the intricate details of just how this will work.

4. We Still Have Questions

MS still hasn’t made it clear how exactly it’s going to deal with pirates. But if I’m reading the Yahoo Tech article correctly, it means MS no longer cares if individuals are/were pirates or real customers. All they want is as many people as possible to be on Windows 10 and be using Windows 10.

So that they can then sell them on other Microsoft products and make money that way. If you’re already using Windows 10, you’re much more likely to pay for Windows Office, OneDrive, Azure, or other MS products. This would not be the case if you went with a MacBook or a Chromebook instead.

We’ll update you as we find out. Stay tuned.

Windows 10 for You

You get a free upgrade, and YOU get a free upgrade. EVERYBODY GETS A FREE UPGRADE!!!

Do you think the elaborate strategy of getting everyone in for free is going to work? Is MS starting to become the cool kid? Put your predictions for Windows 10 in the comments below.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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