Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015. At the time, the company tried very hard to push users to upgrade to the latest version of the operating system. Microsoft allowed legitimate Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 users to upgrade to Windows 10 free for the first year. After the end of the first year, the company even extended the free offer for devices with accessibility technology until December 2017. However, it has now come to light that the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer is still very much alive.
Microsoft employee reveals the truth
We all thought that Microsoft officially ended the free upgrade offer after 2017, but a Reddit thread suggests that the deadline was actually a marketing gimmick. The objective of the deadline was reportedly to force users to hurry up and upgrade to Windows 10.
According to the Reddit thread, legitimate Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 licenses can still take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer by using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
“You still can do this no problem, however careful, do an upgrade keeping everything as if you choose to yeet [sic] everything and start fresh, you lose your free upgrade,” the Reddit user said.
All you have to do is download and run the Media Creation Tool on Windows 7 or 8 or 8.1 and then upgrade to the latest version of the Windows OS. Once you have upgraded, you must connect to the internet to get your Windows 10 license number. Basically, your old Windows license will be converted to a license number for Windows 10.
“That old 7 license converts to a 10 digital license and from there you can clean install no problem. As for audits, this mainly is for volume licensing than anything. An SMB with 10-200 Windows 7 machines that were OEM licensed don’t really matter,” said the Reddit user, who claims to be a Microsoft worker.
Why is the free upgrade offer still available?
According to the Reddit thread, Microsoft had four years to plug the loophole, but it never did.
“You can’t sh*t on someone taking advantage of an activation workaround when you as the manufacturer never closed it,” the user said.
Microsoft officially ended the free upgrade offer because of pressure from retailers, the Reddit user added. Although the company never talked about the option after that, it never fully terminated it either. It seems the company never really implemented what it said earlier — that after the upgrade offer ends, users had to buy a paid license.
“After the cut off happened, the direction given was that it requires a paid license HOWEVER, this was brought up by the brick and mortar stores………..ultimately it was clear two years later that anything Windows 7 and up would go to 10 fully activated and still to this day,” the user said.
One possible reason why Microsoft never enforced the change behind the scenes could be because the company is still behind its goal of getting 1 billion devices on Windows 10. For Microsoft, the upgrade is more important than the money it would get from selling licenses.
Another reason could be because Windows 7 support for Home users will end in January. Once support ends, users are expected to shift to Windows 10. With the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer, such users will have no hesitation to upgrade.
How to take advantage of the free upgrade to Windows 10
Now let’s talk about how you can access the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer. To do so, follow these steps:
- Go to Microsoft’s website and download the Media Creation Tool.
- After the download is done, open the Media Creation Tool and accept the license terms.
- Select the option to “Upgrade this PC now” and then click “Next.”
- You will get two options now: whether you want to keep everything or start fresh. Click on “Keep all apps and files.”
- Click on the “Install” button. Windows 10 will now start to install. This process could take some time, during which your PC will restart a few times.
- After the installation is done, connect to the internet.
- Go to Settings > Windows Update > Activation. Your PC will be activated with a digital license. You can also enter your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key to activate Windows 10. Once Windows 10 activates on your device, you will see this message: “Windows 10 is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account.”
You will get the same edition of Windows 10 as you have currently. For example, if you had Windows 7 Home, you will be upgraded to Windows 10 Home and not Pro. Remember that the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer will work only if you have a genuine license for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.