Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Final for all Windows Insider users?

Martin Brinkmann
May 11, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017

Microsoft announced not long ago that Windows 10 would be available as a free upgrade for eligible systems for the first year.

This announcement caused confusion on several levels. First, the wording was vague and some journalists and end users suggested that Microsoft would charge users who upgraded after that one-year period.

Some even suggested that Microsoft would introduce a subscription-based system instead similar to the company's successful Office 365 subscription-based system.

While it is likely that Microsoft is preparing Windows to follow Office eventually in becoming a subscription-based service instead of an application that users pay for once and use for as long as they desire, there is no indication that the system will be applied to Windows 10.

Microsoft revealed as well that upgrades would be free even for users without valid licenses. The wording was ambiguous and it was assumed by some that Microsoft would use this to push users to Windows 10 away from currently supported versions of the operating system such as Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8.x.

It turned out later however that Microsoft left out an important bit in the announcement. The upgrade itself makes no distinction between genuine and non-genuine versions of Windows but the end-result is not the same.

If you upgrade a genuine version of Windows to Windows 10, that version will be genuine as well but if you run the upgrade on a non-genuine version, Windows 10 will not be genuine as well.

Today, Gabriel Aul, Microsoft General Manager OSG Data and Fundamentals team, revealed that the upgrade from a Windows Insider preview build to RTM will be free as well.

@GabeAul Will you be able to upgrade to the #Win10 RTM version for free with #insiders preview?

@tao_huan Yes

windows 10 free

What appears to be a clear answer to a question, is not that clear either. Does it mean that users can upgrade from a preview version to the RTM version for free? Yes, that seems clear. But will that version be genuine after the upgrade or will it be non-genuine?

Several users on Twitter have asked the question but have not received a response yet from Gabriel.

A free upgrade to a genuine copy of Windows 10 would reward Windows Insider users who helped shape the operating system by leaving feedback and reporting bugs.

It would mean however that anyone could get a free genuine copy of Windows 10 by simply installing a preview version of Windows 10 on a computer and upgrading to the RTM release for free.

We will update the article as soon as Gabriel responds to the questions.

Update: Gabriel Aul confirmed that free in this case means allowed to upgrade without issues to Windows 10. For a genuine upgrade, a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.x license is required.

Now You: Do you think it is likely that Windows Insiders will get the operating system for free?

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Final for all Windows Insider users?
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Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Final for all Windows Insider users?
Windows 10 Insider preview users can upgrade to Windows 10 RTM (final) for free according to Gabriel Aul.
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  1. Killer said on June 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    UEFI 2.3.1 is not required, only optional. Windows 10 Insider Preview supports BIOS and so will the RTM version.

  2. Biplob Karmakar said on May 15, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Hello Martin, Microsoft has improved lot of options and added new features. New graphical interface looks very attractive. But upgrade to W10 not too easy, ‍I have been suffering a lot of trouble.Thank you.

  3. David said on May 12, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    What about the UEFI 2.3.1 firmware requirement? Old XP boxes won’t have that.

  4. DonGateley said on May 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    For those who don’t know what it means exactly, as I didn’t, RTM = Release To Manufacturing

  5. q. said on May 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Is there not a huge opportunity being lost here to make available a very low cost upgrade to any legitimate XP installation? A $20 or $30 upgrade will retain a large number of units as part of the MS universe. How many machines now sitting in closets, basements, and storage rooms will be kept from landfills? How many insecure contributors to the herd vulnerability will be kept securable?

    1. Andrew said on May 11, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      I doubt a lot of those “machines now sitting in closets, basements, and storage rooms” can even run windows 10.

      1. Andrew said on May 12, 2015 at 5:51 am

        Yes, but those are ARM processors and will be running a different version of windows 10 versus the x86 variant. Plus the new Raspberry Pi 2 has 1gb of ram, which is the bare minimum for windows 10. Per Engadget:

        “Microsoft has announced that it will support the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s latest board, making a specialized version of its Windows 10 operating system available to the wider Pi community for free via its Windows Developer Program for IoT (Internet of Things).”

        Those old XP boxes would benefit more on a different OS than windows.

      2. q. said on May 12, 2015 at 5:09 am

        It has already been disclosed there will be a W10 version to run on Raspberry Pi. There are many single and dual core XP boxes and portables with significant horsepower. Certainly beyond a Pi.

        More important than the systems that have been sidelined are those still in use in some way. The potential gains to the overall security ecosystem can not be ignored.

  6. Gary said on May 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I don’t see why it should be free. If you’ve volunteered your time to request improvements that are in your interest, that’s your own business.

    If pirate copies get free upgrades to legitimate copies, I guess I should get a dozen or so and upgrade them all during the promotional period.

    1. Pete said on May 12, 2015 at 2:30 am

      It has been stated that pirate copies can be upgraded but those will still be pirate copies, not legit copies!

  7. kalmly said on May 11, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I read just yesterday here: that Windows 10 will be the last version, that hereafter Windows will be a service. So – makes sense that it will become a subscription. Ergo, the “free” updates.

    1. Andrew said on May 11, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Just because they are looking at Windows as a service doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a subscription service with a monthly fee, they have clarified that. They are basically stating that Windows 10 will be like OS X in a sense of continually upgrading versus having major releases. Nowhere tmk has Microsoft said anything about turning windows into a monthly subscription service.

  8. prwnd said on May 11, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    thanks, I always wanted to know this, good to know

  9. Pete said on May 11, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Yep, I’m not so surprised that MS has f%#ked up this also. How hard it would be to NOT confuse customers? They have a long history of confusing people with their windows versions.

  10. nines said on May 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    You, of all people, should know by now that M$ has a way of putting their foot in their mouth. We should wait and see.

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