On Friday, Microsoft said in a blog post that anyone could get a genuine Windows 10 copy for free and stay activated if they first installed a test version of Windows 10 on their PCs. In short, all you have to do is join the Windows 10 Insider Program, install the preview (build 10130) and connect your Microsoft Account. On July 29th when Windows 10 for PCs and tablets goes on sale, you’d receive the final build as a regular update.
Insiders will receive Windows 10, but it will not remain activated
That promise stood for even those who didn’t have Windows 7 or 8.1 installed on their PCs. But now the software giant has quietly edited the blog post:
“As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated.” It has been edited to remove “and remain activated.” It means Windows Insiders will receive the release, but the build would not remain activated.
Further, Microsoft’s General Manager for the OS group, Gabriel Aul, has added a clarification: “It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer.” That’s in line with the software giant’s previous announcement that Windows 10 will be free for genuine Windows 7 and 8.1 users.
Will Windows Insiders have to pay?
Aul also clarified on Twitter that users with a pre-release build of Windows 10 (with a registered Microsoft Account) will remain activated on the upcoming software’s final version. Aul mentioned in the blog post that once you have installed build 10130, “you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh.”
— Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) June 21, 2015
The modification of the blog post suggests that at some point, Windows Insiders will have to pay to keep enjoying the full services. However, Microsoft has not yet specified what activation would bring. The Windows Insider program will continue even after the release of the final build, and Insiders will keep receiving the updates.
Last month, Microsoft clarified that it would not offer Windows 10 to users of non-genuine Windows 7 or 8.1 copies. They will have to pay for the upgrade.