Windows 10 S to Pro upgrades free for accessibility technology users

Martin Brinkmann
May 18, 2017
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

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.

assistive technologies windows 10

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.

Windows 10 S to Pro upgrades free for accessibility technology users
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Windows 10 S to Pro upgrades free for accessibility technology users
Microsoft announced today that Windows S users who use accessibility technology will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free.
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  1. chesscanoe said on May 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    I am pleased the Windows 10 Fall CU will improve accessibility. I now use Magnifier, Zoomit, and many tips at Ghacks to keep a PC usable for me,

  2. AnorKnee Merce said on May 19, 2017 at 8:23 am

    M$ continuing and adding free upgrades to Win 10: ……. seems, M$ are ‘begging’ people to use Win 10 because recent Win 10 adoption has been tepid.

    Win 10 has forced Telemetry & Data collection, besides forced auto-updates/upgrades. If M$ are really collaborating with the NSA actively, as claimed by Edward Snowden in 2013, then Win 10 is an NSA spyware that needs to be avoided at all costs, ie even if given out for free like Linux, Android and ChromeOS.

    1. Nebulus said on May 19, 2017 at 12:45 pm

      If you prevent the data collection in the first place, the attack surface for this kind of threat is greatly reduced (or in other words both advertisers and the NSA have little or no data about you). This is true for Win10, Win8 or any other MS or non-MS operating system.

      1. Spy for the 5 Eye said on May 20, 2017 at 5:03 am

        The fact that governments and corporations are invading peoples’ homes and businesses globally is ridiculous. Not to mention hacking into systems and spreading viruses. Years ago no one would have tolerated something like this. People aren’t yet complaining because they do not realize the full extent of the spying and the ramifications (notice what all the “leaks” have done to Clinton and Trump. You too could be blackmailed the same way if you ever got in the way of someone’s agenda, or perhaps they wanted something you had.)

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