Microsoft announced amid much fanfare in January that Windows 10 will be offered as a free upgrade to consumers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on their devices. The company later clarified that the free upgrade offer did not apply to those running pirated versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The Redmond-based software giant had said that Windows 10 would continue to receive free updates at no cost during the entire “supported lifetime of the device.”

Windows 10

2 to 4 years seems like a reasonable time-frame

However, the phrase “supported lifetime of the device” caused a lot of confusion among consumers. It simply means that Microsoft will keep providing improvements and fixes to the OS as long as your device running Windows 10 is supported by its manufacturer. Now Microsoft has quietly revealed more information about how long it will provide free updates to Windows 10.

Gregg Keizer of Computer World has spotted a PowerPoint presentation that Microsoft posted on its investor site on June 26th. In one slide, the company explained that the upcoming OS would receive free updates for 2 to 4 years. It is the first time Microsoft has officially named the time span of support. Two to four years is a reasonable time-frame to offer free upgrades in this age.

Microsoft to treat Windows 10 consumer and business users differently?

Microsoft added that it would determine the device lifetime by “customer type.” This new way has fueled speculations that the company would separate consumer and business device owners. Microsoft can determine that based on which edition of Windows 10 a device is running. In that case, free updates and fixes for Windows 10 Home can be different from Windows 10 Pro, which is aimed at business users.

The software giant has revealed nothing about what would happen once the “supported lifetime” expires. Will it discontinue the upgrades entirely or offer updates for a fee? Microsoft CFO Amy Hood has promised to provide more details on lifecycles later this year. Keizer expects Microsoft to disclose these details on or before July 29, when Windows 10 is officially launched.

Windows 10 will be the last major upgrade of Windows as the company looks to offer it as a service rather than a product.