Stop the Panic! Users Will Be Able to Avail Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer Even After December
Reports published by multiple outlets earlier today suggested that Microsoft is ending its free upgrade offer for Windows 10 that remained open even after the initial deadline. When the company had first released its original Windows 10 back in 2015, it had offered the new desktop operating system for free to users on Windows 7 and 8.1, saying that the free upgrade offer will end a year later on July 29, 2016.
The offer did end through the Get Windows 10 app but the company continued to let users upgrade for free by simply checking a box that said "Yes, I use assistive technologies." While some thought this wasn't ethical, others justified by saying that Microsoft's definition of assistive technologies also includes using keyboard shortcuts - which most users do.
But it was clear that Microsoft wanted more Windows 7 and 8.1 users to ditch their operating systems in favor of the latest Windows version.
The company recently added one line in the official upgrade page, dropping the bomb revealing that the upgrade offer via this assistive checkbox / workaround would stop working after December.
If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31, 2017.
In a separate blog post published on October 17, Microsoft's Chief Accessibility Officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie, shared that the extended availability will end this year.
In July 2016, we shared the offer to extend the free Windows 10 upgrade. This extended availability is now coming to a close, as we’ll wrap this offer at the end of 2017. Please take advantage of this offer before it is retired at the end of this year!
This change in plans is causing some to fear if they won't be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free once they are finally ready to move on to Windows 10.
Don't worry - Microsoft will continue to allow users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free
However, that statement does not mean that you won't be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free after December. Microsoft has confirmed that all you need is your genuine Windows 7 or 8.1 product key and that will be all.
When asked whether the free upgrade offer will end for real in December, the company spokesperson said the following in a statement to Wccftech:
People will be asked to enter a valid product key when upgrading for the first time from Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 through both the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant and the Media Creation tool. People can continue to use the Media Creation Tool to create Windows 10 installation media. A product key will be required when installing Windows 10 on a device for the first time. People can also use Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant to update their Windows 10 PC to the latest version.
In its statement to Wccftech, the Redmond software maker did not mention any deadline for the product keys to stop working and with its focus on product keys, this method should continue to work until Microsoft says otherwise. So, there you have it. No reason to panic. You can continue using your favorite Windows 7 without the fear of Microsoft ending this free upgrade offer for real.
Do note, however, that upgrading to Windows 10 would be a good decision in face of growing security issues. The company not only prioritizes Windows 10 when patching security vulnerabilities but also continues to release some cool new features to better safeguard Windows 10 users against threats like ransomware.