Turns out, Windows 10 upgrade will remain free for some

Martin Brinkmann
May 7, 2016
Updated • Apr 15, 2019
Windows, Windows 10

Microsoft revealed this week that the free ride to grab an upgrade to the company's new operating system Windows 10 will indeed be over at the one year launch mark.

This means that devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can only be upgraded for free to Windows 10 before July 29th, 2016, and that the option to do so expires on the day of the anniversary.

Users who want to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10 after July 29 will have to pay for a license. It is unclear right now whether special upgrade options will be made available, or if users interested in Windows 10 need to buy retail copies.

If that is the case, users who want to upgrade their devices after the first anniversary would have to pay the same amount of money -- $119 for Windows 10 Home or $199 for Windows 10 Pro -- that users pay to install the operating system directly on a system without previous version of Windows installed on it.

Windows 10 will remain free for some

windows 10 free upgrade accessibility

It turns out however that Windows 10 will remain free for some users. A new blog post on the Microsoft Accessibility Blog confirms that Microsoft will continue to offer the operating system as a free upgrade for users who use assistive technologies.

As you may have heard, the free Windows 10 upgrade offer for customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is set to end on July 29, but we want to clarify that that deadline will *not* apply to customers who use assistive technologies.

Assistive products are specialty software and hardware products like voice recognition software or screen readers that provide accessibility.

Microsoft has yet to reveal how customers who use assistive technology products can take advantage of the offer. The company plans to reveal details on the Microsoft Accessibility Blog in the future however. One way to stay informed is to subscribe to the blog using RSS.

It seems highly unlikely that Microsoft will grant free upgrades to Windows 10 for anyone who is turning on accessibility features on Windows 10 after July 29. This would leave only a couple of options including detection of installed hardware or software products for accessibility, or to require some other form of proof before the free upgrade is granted.

Note that it is still possible to upgrade systems to Windows 10 for free, provided that a genuine product key is available

Turns out, Windows 10 will remain free for some
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Turns out, Windows 10 will remain free for some
Microsoft revealed on the company's Accessibility blog that upgrades to Windows 10 will remain free for users who use assistive technologies.
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  1. Stray Trons said on April 17, 2019 at 4:13 am

    I’m still on WIN 7 for my main gaming PC and a ham radio controller PC (mainly because this one is for some odd reason RF bombproof) at the house; everything else is Linux or iOS. My company PC and laptop went Win 10 and I have had no end of problems. My manager once asked me if there was one thing I could do in the company that had no risk to my job what would it be. I did not hesitate when I said “Move the entire corporate IT platform off Windows!”

    The look on his face was priceless.

  2. Jim said on May 12, 2016 at 1:06 am

    Thank you much!

  3. Jim said on May 11, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Hope im in the right spot to post. I have an HP laptop with win 7 home on it. Wish to play with the free win 10 upgrade. Would the install of win 10 on it prevent me from going back to my old win7. Have recovery disks for it. I heard of a story where the install of it did something to the computer to keep win 7 from being installed. Like my win 7 very much but i know soon or later i will be forced to upgrade. Thought i would play now. Thanks for any help you can give.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 11, 2016 at 10:05 pm

      You can go back after the upgrade. I suggest you create a full system image for that.

  4. Peter said on May 8, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    I’ve just this weekend upgraded my main PC from Win 8.1 Pro to Win 10. Upon loading Win 10 seemed to be a problematic in various ways despite opting for a ‘clean’ install of the same (mouse was jerky and various other issues). However resetting my PC this morning to a new fresh install of Windows 10 solved all issues and its now running well. Therefore if you upgrade and have any issues have Windows reset itself (it doesn’t take long) and hopefully it will solve them.

    1. Mike O said on May 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm

      That’s a good tip, Peter.

  5. Mike O said on May 7, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    A month ago I clean installed Windows 10 Pro on my desktop. I fully patched the OS with all available updates and then created an image which I have stored away. I then restored my desktop to Windows 7 Pro from an image. I did the exact same process with my laptop. I doubt I would ever choose to go back to Windows 10, but can if I choose to – without paying the post July 29 costs.

    1. batman said on May 8, 2016 at 9:44 pm

      about to do the same here.

      1. Ann said on May 9, 2016 at 1:09 pm

        but this makes MS say that your machine are in te 2 billion converted devices.
        they will not count the roolbacks as not converted.

        and those options are rather easy to activate at any time. if you should feel ill and decide to install w10 for free after july: active the narator and magnifier, do the upgrade activate, and remove those functions again.

  6. nsaware said on May 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    It’s the beginning of the end for MS. They will relocate the HARDCORE ASSETS to data gathering in the next years.

    *keeps reading 1984*

  7. Ben said on May 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    200$ for an OS.
    Yeah, no.
    And even with the pro version you cannot disable all their tracking and home-phoning (you need the Enterprise/Education version for that).

  8. Shawn said on May 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm


    Hack away your machine ID has probably already been sent to their database and that’s how they are able to say this while hiding this crap about extensions past the deadline. I’m sure I get a Windows 7 machine that has been harassed and run a Windows 10 Waik (WinPE) and I’m sure it would show up as activated and I just might test that out to confirm my doubts.but would not surprise me or better yet they get the id’s of for example ASUS. HP etc and add them to the white list.

  9. Sophist said on May 7, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Does this mean (after July 29th) I’ll be safe to do a clean install of Win 7 including all recommended security updates without having to worry about Microsoft hijacking my OS and installing Windows 10 or do I still have to manually track down and blacklist all those stupid updates?

    1. bernd said on August 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      no you finally have not to blacklist Things after 29. July 2016.
      The “offensive Get Windows 10 Migration Campaign” is finally over. GWX is being deactivated. Silence Returns, Windows stays peaceful and ongoing with the “usual monthly Updates”.
      But you can upgrade the “subtile” Way stating you are using *some* *certain* *unspecified* “assistive Technologies”.
      (Whatever Way and however this can be interpreted…) *thinks in a VERY Wide Range looking around myself in a 360° spheric Angle*
      Using Microsoft Speech alone already IS “assistive Technology”! So EVERYONE can use.. right? :-)

      Install win7 clean. then apply the Win7 SP1 online Package (if not already integrated).
      important : Win 7 Activation with your genuine Productkey (OEM/SB/Retail) is required then
      (this creates the required source keys/hashes for a valid Win10 Activation ID “by electronic Authorization”)
      Some required “compatibility Updates” after that will be installed through the Win10 Installation Wizard if necessary
      before it starts the Upgrade to Windows 10.

    2. kat said on May 8, 2016 at 3:31 am

      yes but window 10 is awesome u should try it.

      1. Corky said on May 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm

        How can an operating system be awesome? It’s just a tool, that would be like calling my drill or orbital sander awesome.

      2. justakiwi said on May 8, 2016 at 9:18 am

        On August 4, 2016, Skynet was launched

        At 2:14 a.m., EDT, on August 29, it failed to become self-aware, as it was still running Windows 10.

    3. Corky said on May 7, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      Added to what insanelyapple said, and despite claims to the contrary, i can’t see them removing the GWX addware, it’s just to good an opportunity to give up, i wouldn’t be surprised if GWX remains so Microsoft can use it to advertise that Windows 10 is on special offer this month only, etc, etc.

      1. Ann said on May 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm

        GWX will be removed that was allready comunicated.
        Also all updates which forces or even gives you the opportunity to fully upgrade will be removed.

        As they can not install sotfware that makes you upgrade and then says “now pay!”.

        this is known.

    4. insanelyapple said on May 7, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      I expect that “telemetry” updates for 7 won’t be removed after upgrade offer will end and MS won’t push any additional update to remove these. Data mining is way too valuable for them and their “associates”.

  10. Sebby said on May 7, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I’m blind, so this news fills me with dread. I don’t want Win10 and don’t see why I’d be targeted for it any more than anybody else, seeing as how Win10 nagging has done enough damage as it is (and, honestly, is a serious downgrade in many ways for accessibility, not least that Edge is unusable with a screen reader). Really, I just want this to be over, just like everybody else who doesn’t want Win10. I’d be interested to know why MS feel accessibility gets special attention.

    Win8.1 with Classic Shell, if required, for me. Otherwise OS X, primarily.

    1. TomW said on July 21, 2016 at 12:50 am

      Trying to take a more optimistic outlook, that may be exactly the reason. If Windows 10 is a downgrade for accessibility in many cases, then upgrading was never a real option for you this past year, so it makes sense for them to leave the door open in this case to upgrade later when it is better for accessibility.

    2. Liroku said on May 9, 2016 at 7:19 am

      Of course you don’t see why you’d be targeted…what made you think you could?

      1. Sebby said on May 11, 2016 at 1:35 am

        Yes, very droll, I’m sure.

    3. Corky said on May 7, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      I’m only guessing but i think Microsoft maybe doing this because as you already mentioned Windows 10’s accessibility is a serious downgrade and like yourself others have stayed away so Microsoft are lacking lots of “feedback” on that side of the OS.

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