Reports are coming in that Windows users may still upgrade their devices to Windows 10 provided that they have a Windows 7 or 8 key.
Microsoft's official offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free from a device running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 ended on July 29, 2016.
While the official offer ended, reports suggest that users may still grab a free Windows 10 key if they have a product key.
All that needs to be done is provide the Windows 7 or 8.1 product key during installation of Windows 10 on the computer to have the new OS activated on the machine.
The main difference to before is that the Get Windows 10 (GWX) tool is not available anymore to upgrade the operating system to Windows 10.
Mary Jo Foley asked Microsoft why the free upgrade offer to Windows 10 has seemingly not ended.
Microsoft's answer to the question was that users who would install Windows 10 on a PC for the first time had to enter a Windows 10 product key, and that users who had previously installed Windows 10 on a machine would not.
Users upgrading their PC for the first time will need to enter a Windows 10 product key. Users who've previously installed Windows 10 on their PC should activate successfully with a digital entitlement when reinstalling Windows 10 on that PC.
Microsoft does not acknowledge that free upgrades are still possible on machines where Windows 10 was not installed on previously. It is a rather puzzling answer that does not really address the issue at hand at all.
While Microsoft does not confirm the issue at all, it means that users of Windows 7 or 8.1 who have product keys may still upgrade machines for free to Windows 10 despite Microsoft's claim that this is not the case.
Microsoft may decide to close the loophole at any point in time though but since it does not even acknowledge the issue, there is a chance that the loophole remains an option for the foreseeable future.
Mary Jo's guess is that it simply takes a while to get things sorted out on the backend. This would mean that the option is only a temporary one, and that it will cease to be an option at all in the near future.
It would also explain Microsoft's answer to Mary Jo Foley's question. It is unclear why Microsoft does not acknowledge the issue. One explanation is that it feared public backlash after stating over and over again that the free upgrade period ended on July 29, 2016.
We don't know when the loophole ends and free Windows 10 upgrade offer expire for good for Windows 7 and 8.1 users. Anyone who missed the deadline may still take Microsoft up on the free upgrade offer provided that they have a product key for a previous version of Windows.
While Mary Jo mentions only retail product keys, the method seems to work with all kinds of product keys including OEM keys.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.