Microsoft has announced that when Windows 10 launches later this year, it will be available as a free upgrade.

The company says the upgrade will be available for free for the first year that Windows 10 is available.

win10 upgrade_04

The upgrade will be available to anyone using Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1

Windows 10 is designed to run across a range of devices including phonestablets, laptops and desktops, and Microsoft says it’s thinking of Windows as a service… meaning that in addition to free upgrades from older versions of the operating system, the company will offer free updates to the operating system.

We got our first look at Windows 10 for PCs last year, but the company is showing off Windows 10 on phones and other devices at an event today.

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25 replies on “Windows 10 will be a free upgrade from Windows 7 or later”

  1. Huh, for a second I thought it was April already. If I was Microsoft, I would offer this as a gesture of goodwill toward all of the customers it has jerked around with insane software license restrictions and astronomical prices that they could charge due to vendor lock-in. Then, have only ONE version of the software itself that is similar to the previous Pro versions but can also be activated with either a single or volume licence, for a total of 2 SKU’s. Release about every 2 years or so (don’t set hard deadlines so that it has to be pushed out the door unfinished). For both Windows and Office (each a separate purchase), a consumer licence is $20 and enterprise license is $50. No subscription, no nonsense. You can use the copy “like a book” so that it is not installed on multiple computers at the same time. Use an alternating LTS release cycle and combine the ideas of decimal versions and service packs. The “Service Pack” nomenclature is especially confusing for consumers and the 8.1 name fixed this. However, it acted as a whole new version with even a different license key which was a step backward from Service Packs.

    About every 4 years, release an LTS version of Windows with support lasting for 8 years total. Keep a set end-of-support date; don’t move it back and make sure that everyone knows about it. Include with every copy of Windows a license valid for running any previous Windows version (going back as far as possible with versions that will support this) in a VM. In between LTS releases, also offer an interim release about every 2 years that is just as stable as the LTS version but works as a platform for next-gen features that will be included in the LTS version. Keep big system changes that will affect third-party software in the interim releases so that by the time that the next LTS version is released, enterprise customers will be less likely to be able to say things like: “but the new version won’t run our proprietary software that we’ve used since the Jurassic period”.

    Don’t keep pushing this one-size-fits-all mantra and un-unify interfaces for widely different screen sizes and input methods. Having a consistent look and commonality in interaction (e.g. the user knows that there is a certain button available to perform a particular task on his/er desktop because s/he used it on the same application on his/er tablet with identical menu hierarchies) is the real key to cross-platform interface design. And please: before you go and do anything really wild and controversial like replacing the start menu, make sure that the user can toggle between both the new and old methods.

  2. I am looking forward to upgrading my Win 8.1 computer to Win 10. My Win 8.1 computer is slow. I am hoping Win 10 will be not only better but faster.

  3. I might go for it as long as it doesn’t bork up my gaming.

  4. They showed some interesting stuff today though I’m unsure why they need to use terms incorrectly. They kept talking about Windows as a service but seemed to feel that talking about the same common software core running on different kinds of hardware is what indicated that. Nothing that they mentioned would make me think to refer to Windows running ‘as a service’.
    They also introduced this rather awesome looking augmented reality hardware and software. Looked really interesting. But why call it holographic when it’s nothing of the sort? And it’s not like they casually called it that. They hammered it over and over. Named it that. Even claimed to have invented some new kind of chip to process it – which is also almost certainly bogus. They may as well have said it was pancakes. Why not just call it by it’s proper name – augmented reality?

    1. Windows Holographic is the name of the product, not the exact technology it uses. They picked the name because the effect is similar to the user. I assume you also took Apple to task over the use of the term “retina display”? I hate to have to break the news to you, but the retina display does not use the same technology as a human eye; it’s a marketing term. The Ford Mustang is also a car, not a horse.
      Didn’t Apple also recently claim to have invented some new kind of processor for motion processing? An M7 motion coprocessor or something like that? Again, sounds like a similar marketing spin to me. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft got the “hey we invented a new processor” idea from Apple.
      Double standards much?

  5. I kinda wish I bought Win 8 back when it was $20 at the beginning. But it was just so awful at the time I thought I’ll never install it… I wonder if they’ll support the small 7-8″ tablets that are stuck with 3735G and 1GB RAM, and if so, what will be the limitations.

  6. They have to make money somehow. It remains to be seen how they plan on monitizing Windows 10 but make no mistake, they will and they must.

    1. The speculation was subscription based service. After the first year, you pay for subscriptions for updates.

      1. But that was incorrect. It would have been suicidal for MS to require a subscription for Win10. The reason why they are making the upgrade free is to stem the bleeding in the mobile space. They’re not going to be able to do that if they demand money from every Windows user every 12 months.

        1. Do we have confirmation that’s incorrect? I think it makes sense. What else can they mean by providing free upgrade and updates for 1 year?

      2. I’ve heard that idea too. I’ve been using Windows since 3.1 and I was a DOS user before that. If Windows goes to a subscription model, I’m definitely moving to another OS. I’ve been messing around with OS X and Linux for years. That would be more than enough reason to make one of them my main OS.
        They have to make money off of Windows. They may be giving this one away for free for upgrades but just during the first year. It will probably go back to normal pricing after that. I bet OEMs will still have to pay for licenses from day one. Someday, they may be able to make enough money off the app store sales to give away Windows for free, but I don’t think that will be anytime soon (if ever). The new CEO seems to know what he’s doing so I doubt they would make a catastrophic blunder as to try to make Windows subscription based.

    2. Windows 7 remains like Windows XP before it one of the most pirated Windows OSes to date. Through “Loaders” or “Anti WAT” tools people used it for free not only since, but technically even BEFORE Day 1 (it being available through MSDN months before the official release and all).

      So from legitimate users to freeloaders, Windows 7 has still over 4 Times the active OS Marketshare than all Versions of Windows 8.x combined.

      What Windows 7 doesn’t have – the Microsoft App Store.
      Every Ad displayed in a Metro App is managed through MS services with MS taking ad revenue cuts, every App sold through the store gives MS a sales cut and if you’re already using your “free Windows” instead of a “free Linux”, you are more likely to buy into MS services like Office365 subscriptions because it integrates so nicely with the OS and also OneDrive.

      I mean look at Apple, they went from low price upgrades to basically giving their OS away for free since it helps to lock you into an ecosystem they can sell you services and goods in.

      1. Bad comparison to Apple. Remember that not only do they sell Operating Systems, they sell the only hardware it runs on at insanely great profit margins. Except for the Surface line, Microsoft lacks that advantage and has no viable path to getting a monopoly on hardware without a massive sacrifice of market share.

        Their path is either the Microsoft or Google model and good luck convincing the shareholders on giving away one of the biggest revenue sources on your balance sheet. Yet they are going to have to do exactly that. They have already put a foot in the water with free licenses on small tablets. They are even giving Office away now. Drawing a line in the product line like that can’t last long. When they have to give it away all the way up to corporate accounts they are going to hurt.

        They can’t adopt the RedHat model of free software with paid support since they have spent decades building out a third party support ecosystem because they had no desire to actually support the turds they were dropping. Karma is a b1tch.

        1. You missed the point entirely. To boil it down to 1 sentence:

          Ecosystem lockin to sell content/services.

          Redhat wants to sell you support, Microsoft wants to extract money from transactions between you and 3rd parties, be it ad revenue from ads displayed for you, or sales revenue from apps/content sold to you.

          Lastly, saying that Apple are the only people to sell hardware OSX runs on is just plainly false. They are the only ones who sell you hardware they themselves will provide support for while running OSX on, but there are lists of PCs that will have all of their hardware run out of the box aswell as hardware shopping lists for people to build their own fully working hackintoshes. Ever since Apple switched to intel, the argument that they build the only hardware capable of running their software is about as wrong as you can be.

    1. Do you have a legitimate complaint about Windows 10? Or did that just sound like something clever to say?

  7. I’m curious if they’ll let you do a fresh install or if it has to be an “upgrade”?

  8. Nice move by Microsoft. I like a lot of the stuff they are doing lately.

    1. It’s a move from desperation. They are so far behind in the mobile space that they need make grand gestures of this nature just to keep themselves in the game. Naturally, we, the consumers, benefit from their desperate largess.

      1. This smacks more of MS reading the writing on the wall and not trying to just bull their way through and blindly monetize.
        For this I’m probably on board when the time comes. Between my brother and I we should be able to upgrade or whole family’s PCs.
        EDIT
        sigh I take that back
        Subscriptions can bite me…hard.

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