Microsoft announced today that Windows S users who use accessibility technology will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free.
You may remember that Microsoft announced a similar program back when the official offer to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1 devices expired. Microsoft back then announced that users who use assistive technologies would still be able to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge.
Note on the side: Windows 10 upgrades from Windows 7 or 8.1 are still free. You can check our guide to find out how to benefit from Microsoft not stopping the free upgrade system completely.
The company revealed today on the Accessibility blog that it runs that upgrades from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro will also be free for customers who use accessibility technologies.
Microsoft is committed to meeting the needs of people with disabilities and providing choices for devices and modes for operating Windows. We will provide assistive technology users with a switch to Windows 10 Pro from Windows 10 S at no charge as we continue to improve our built-in assistive technology and bring more assistive technology apps to the Microsoft Store.
Assistive technologies users are not the only ones who get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. Customers in education will also get a free upgrade, at least in the year of release of Windows 10 S.
Windows 10 S is a new edition of Windows 10 that Microsoft unveiled a couple of weeks ago. The operating system shares similarities with Windows RT, as it will only run apps from the Store and apps that ship with Windows 10, but not Win32 programs.
One core difference to Windows RT is that Windows 10 S systems may be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro for a small fee (apparently for $49 unless you get the upgrade for free).
The lack of support for Win32 programs, which includes drivers that don't ship with Windows or are offered by Microsoft, is probably the main reason why Microsoft is offering upgrades to users of accessibility technologies for free.
Considering that most accessibility tools and utilities are only available as Win32 applications, it is fair to say that users might have difficulties using Windows 10 S because of that. If you cannot install the software you need, and don't have any alternative options as Windows Store is not exactly filled to the brim with accessibility apps, you may be stuck with an operating system that you cannot use. Thanks to the free upgrade offer, that is not the case as Windows 10 Pro supports Win32 programs.
Microsoft notes in the release that accessibility improvements are coming to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It mentions improvements to narrator, low vision, and reading & writing improvements. You can check out what is coming on the linked blog.
It is unclear how Microsoft will identify users who are eligible for free upgrades. Microsoft set up a web page for the free upgrade offer to Windows 10, and it is likely that the company will use the same option when it comes to upgrades from Windows 10 S to Pro. All you are required to do there is to click on the upgrade now button to start the process.