Windows 10 builds stop booting when they expire

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 23, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft published several Windows 10 preview builds of its upcoming operating system that give interested users a preview of things to come, Microsoft much needed feedback and companies options to test software and services in the new environment.

These builds are not final and improved builds are published by Microsoft regularly which update older builds to the newest version when downloaded.

Beta software, and the tech previews of Windows 10 are that technically, expire especially when the software is commercial in nature.

This is true for all Windows 10 builds that Microsoft has released so far. A support engineer published expiration dates of builds on the Microsoft Answers website.

Build number Expiration warnings begin License expiration date Windows will stop booting
9841 4/2/15 4/15/15 4/30/15
9860 4/2/15 4/15/15 4/30/15
9879 4/2/15 4/15/15 4/30/15
9926 9/17/15 10/1/15 10/15/15
10041 9/17/15 10/1/15 10/15/15
10049 9/17/15 10/1/15 10/15/15

In case you are wondering, yesterday's 10061 build expires on October 2, 2015.

If you look at the expiration dates you will notice that some builds expire at the end of April. All builds go through three expiry stages that begin with two weeks of expiration notifications and another two weeks of automatic reboots every three hours before the computer will stop booting completely.

The message displayed by the system:

Install a new build of Windows now

This build of Windows has expired, so your PC will restart every few hours and will eventually fail to start. Go online for more information.

The license expires approximately two weeks after expiration warnings are displayed on the PC running a build of the operating system that is about to expire. The two week grace period afterwards has been designed to give users enough time to upgrade the system to a newer build.

Builds 9841, 9860 and 9879 are already in that grace period. These builds will expire in seven days which means that PCs still running them won't boot into the operating system anymore.

Microsoft notes that a different computer needs to be used to download installation media for the PC running the expired version of Windows 10.

Windows users who are stuck on older builds, because Windows Update won't download or install newer builds for whatever reason, are encouraged to download the preview ISO from Microsoft's website and use it to upgrade the system to a newer build.

The next three builds that Microsoft released, builds 9923, 10041 and 10049 will expire October 1, 2015.   Expiration notifications are shown two weeks before and systems running those builds become inoperable on October 15, 2015.

It is interesting to note that these builds will expire after the official release of the Windows 10 operating system.

Display the expiration date

Do the following to look up the expiration date of your Windows version:

  • Tap on the Windows-key to open the start screen.
  • Type winver and hit enter.
  • This opens "about Windows" information that highlights the expiration date.

Closing Words

Expiration dates block users from running preview builds forever and enforce upgrades to newer versions at the same time which help in the feedback process as bugs and issues may have been resolved in newer versions of the operating system.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade in the first year if a legitimate license is provided.

Windows 10 builds stop booting when they expire
Article Name
Windows 10 builds stop booting when they expire
Windows 10 Preview Builds stop booting when they expire after a two week grace period according to new information published by Microsoft.
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  1. Anonymous said on July 11, 2017 at 6:54 am

    So Microsoft offers a free preview but if you fail to upgrade rather than putting your system the way it was before the preview, it prevents you from booting so you have to buy a new computer? How is this legal? I will not be replacing a computer intentionally and illegally bricked by Microsoft with another Microsoft computer. Time to spend more and get an Apple.

    1. Anonymous said on July 11, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      I don’t think you fully understand what this article is about. Its referring to the insider preview builds, something that you have to manually sign up for and enable, which basically lets you test updates before they release to the public, this has nothing to do with the builds that consumers like you would ever use.

  2. Clay Oliver said on June 29, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    I have a major problem. Somebody stole my Mac Book Pro in which I was running Windows 10 in a virtual Parallels machine. I had to buy a brand new Mac Book Pro. I thought I was up to date on my Time Machine back up, but for what ever reason, it stopped working last August 2015. When I did a restore from that back up on my new machine everything worked fine except Windows will not boot. At that time I was running Windows 10 Technical Preview which got re-installed on my new machine. I had upgraded to full Window 10 on my old machine and everything worked beautifully including all my applications. The old version of Window now on my new machine will not boot because it was purposely programmed to expire in oct 2015. I am looking for a way to trick the Windows 10 Technical Preview to boot so I can then upgrade it to current Windows 10. It will be impossible to reinstall all my windows applications if I have to do a complete new Windows install rather than update.

    Anybody got any ideas

  3. Marco said on April 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

    I’ve read on a Microsoft forum that if you install Win 10 Technical Preview in a Win 8.1 machine by means of Windows Update (and not via the ISO), then once Win 10 final release comes out Windows Update will automatically install the final Win 10 and it will be automatically licensed (if you had a valid Win 8.1 license).

    Can anybody please confirm that the above info is correct, please?

  4. Rott Weiller said on April 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    just had to remove a win10 installation :(

    – sistem is constantly putting my HDD to sleep ( even if power management hdd – disable, hdd APM – set to disable, hdd AAM disable as well ) , the sound of HDD spinning on is so painful :(

    the OS was installed on a fresh new HDD, i let it made whatever wanted with partitions just set a 100GB for win. i created another data partition there – 1.7 TB ( 2TB hdd ) and moved some data

    problem arise when i wanted to restore a image on the hdd, it appears win10 is smart enough to create a dynamic disk which is not compatible with acronis – which is such a sad thing, be sure you format your hdd with ANOTHER tool and install win10 in a partition created for it and deny creation of additional partition stuff

    overall use of win10 :
    – very fast, very responsive to anything
    – nice interface, with 20-30 minutes of work made to look similar to win7 :) in the places that counts
    – onedrive integration -5 minutes to fully remove :D – i prefer dropbox
    – the only big problem i had was with HDDs spin on/off, if this persists after win10 RTM than i will pass this OS too :(

    ps i used Build 10056 and still had those problems ;( i guess Microsoft is pushing people to buy SSDs just like it tried with win8 to push people buy Touch Screens – very sad way to force people

  5. ivan rotkovitz said on April 24, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Interesting but when will the upgrade to win10 be available for everyone else?

  6. Michi said on April 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    “Microsoft notes that a different computer needs to be used to download installation media for the PC running the expired version of Windows 10.” – I wonder how exactly do they verify this?

    1. Nebulus said on April 23, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      Or you could use a Linux Live CD…

    2. Gilles Lussier said on April 23, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Microsoft doesn’t have to verify nothing. Obviously, if your computer doesn’t boot, you’ll need another computer to download installation media.

      Oops, I hadn’t seen Martin’s Brinkmann reply.

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on April 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      They don’t. What they mean by that is that since you cannot boot into Windows anymore, you need to use a different computer to download the ISO. If you have a dual-boot system or a live OS, then you can use those as well.

  7. Tens said on April 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    “Windows 10 will be a free upgrade in the first year if a legitimate license is provided.”

    Didn’t Microsoft stated that they would offer Windows 10 as free upgrade to ALL users of previous versions, regardless of the authenticity of their current version ?

    1. Vinay said on October 25, 2015 at 9:05 am

      I have tried to reboot my PC by installing to windows 7 still the windows is not booting from CD or DVD,please reply for solution.

      Practically my PC is use less with this ,

      please reply me how to go back to previous windows versions.

    2. Nebulus said on April 23, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      After a year, if you upgrade from a pirated copy you will end up needing to install that pirated copy again (or to pay for a genuine license of Win 10) :)

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on April 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Well, all (consumer) systems can be upgraded to Windows 10 regardless of license state. But, pirated copies won’t be turned into genuine copies in the process.

      1. Tony said on April 29, 2015 at 11:51 am

        if i don’t get a free copy of windows 10 i will just use my free copy of apple Yosemite 10.10 they are giving away for FREE and to heck with windows, apple works better anyway, every time i put a build of windows 10 on a computer the start menu quits working and so dose the apps especially if you sign out of windows acct then nothing works 10061 don’t expire in feb, it just came out in april, if it does expire, and why would you keep it till october they are suppose to have it done and if you have windows 7 you get it for nothing. the bs that is going around, i will be glad when they get it done and over with

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