Can You Still Get Windows 10 For Free?
The last day to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 was July 29, 2016. Many of us chose to let that opportunity pass, following reports of ongoing bugs in the new OS. But now, eight months later, the major bugs in Windows 10 seem to be resolved, and it’s time to upgrade. The question is, can you still upgrade for free?
Free Upgrades From Windows 7 or 8.1
Why yes, you can. Microsoft, by design or accident, has left open two paths to a free, legitimate license of Windows 10 for users moving from Windows 7 or 8.1. Let’s see how they work.
As part of the big Windows 10 November Update (what would have been called a Service Pack in the old days), Microsoft began to allow users to manually enter a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 product key during a clean installation of Windows 10. The Windows 10 installer transmits that key to Microsoft’s activation servers, which return a “digital license” that activates Windows 10 on the user’s machine.
You can initiate the upgrade at the Download Windows 10 page on the Microsoft website. Also available on that page is the Media Creation Tool, which you can use to do a clean install of Windows 10 using a DVD or USB flash drive. (A clean install involves wiping your disk, and the loss of your personal files.)
With either method, you will need your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key. Your Windows product key is a 25-character string in the format XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX. It should be on a label or card inside the box that Windows came in, included with the packaging the PC came in, or included on the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) attached to your PC. You can also find your product key using the free Belarc Advisor tool.
Entering a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 product key during the Windows installation process will activate your Windows 10 installation free of charge. Keep in mind that this method of upgrading to Windows 10 for free may have been an oversight by Microsoft, and may stop working without notice.
The Other Path
I mentioned earlier that there are two paths to a free Windows 10. The second one comes with some caveats. Microsoft offers a free Windows 10 upgrade for customers who use assistive technologies. In other words, for folks who have a disability of some sort.
On this page, Microsoft states that if you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer. If you're willing to agree to the statement on the page which reads "Yes, I use assistive technologies and I am ready for my free upgrade to Windows 10," you can click the UPGRADE NOW button and start the process.
However, it's been widely reported that this path works regardless of whether or not you have a disability, or use assistive technology. I mention this option because I'm sure there are some AskBob readers who might honestly benefit from it. But keep in mind, it's dishonest to use this upgrade path if you're not truly disabled.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 14 Feb 2017
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine
The Top Twenty
Geekly Update - 15 February 2017
There's more reader feedback... See all 25 comments for this article.
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Can You Still Get Windows 10 For Free? (Posted: 14 Feb 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved