There’s a story making the rounds that Windows 10 will be available as a free update for folks running pre-release builds of the operating system as part of the Windows Insider program… and it’s true. It’s just not quite the whole truth.

The story comes from a comment made on Twitter by the head of the Windows Insider program Gabriel Aul. But a follow-up tweet explains that there’s a major caveat: you only get a free upgrade if you have a valid Windows 7, or Windows 8.1 license.

When you sign up to be a member of the program you can upgrade a PC from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and keep your existing Windows license key. Or you can download a disk image and perform a clean install while using a license key provided by Microsoft.

If you do the clean install you can effectively install Windows 10 preview without paying for a Windows license: and that means you could install Windows on a PC that previously wasn’t running Windows at all. If you do that, Microsoft is not going to give you a free pass to upgrade to the full version of Windows 10 when it launches this summer.

Anyone upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 Preview (with a license that’s been applied from one of those operating systems) can upgrade for free. Anyone who didn’t have to pay for a license will still need to pay for a license to use Windows 10.

Oh, and while we’re debunking things — last week there were a number of reports suggesting that the OnePlus Two smartphone would have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and a $400 price tag.

OnePlus One

This rumor comes from comments made by CEO Pete Lau on Chinese social networking site Weibo. As far as I can tell, he didn’t actually say it will have that processor or price tag. Rather, a question was raised: if the phone has that processor how much would be a fair price?

One answer was 2499.99 Yuan, which Lau said seemed reasonable.

That could certainly be a hint that this is the hardware and price point we should expect. But it’s not exactly a confirmation.

Here are a few more tech news stories that have made the rounds this weekend. If you’d been following Liliputing on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, you might have already seen them!

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11 replies on “Lilbits (5-11-2015): Debunking edition (Windows 10 isn’t totally free for Insiders)”

  1. When you upgrade to 10 with a 7/8.1 key, if you change your mind & go back can you still install 7/8.1 or was that key invalidated by upgrading?

  2. And you still trust what Microsucks told you all ?????
    After years of Failure Win 8 and 8.1 they should give compensation to their buyer with totally free Win 10 upgrade.If MS don’t want their customers run away to Apple or Android.

    But i guess MS fuckin’ CEOs and leader are not that smart yet. Greedy but stupid boss with high salary and bonus LOL

    1. Key word here is “upgrade”!

      The upgrade is free for all Windows 7 and 8.1 users with either a valid installation or valid license key (allows for clean install)… It’s just not free to anyone who isn’t actually upgrading from a qualifying Windows 7 or 8.1 installation or otherwise doesn’t have a valid license key for the upgrade!

      In other words, you can’t just pirate a free copy of Windows 10!

        1. And who doesn’t love money?

          Making money is the point of running a company! So is getting paid for making a product you actual worked to create…

          Even companies that seem to be giving something away are really only making money in some other way… Like compromising your privacy in exchange for ad revenue, etc. or charging for supporting the product after you get it, etc.

  3. The one question I have is, if I have a Windows 7/8 license (which I do from buying a Windows laptop), will I be able to upgrade/swap my license key and do a clean install off the ISO? I’m not a fan of installing an OS and doing the in-OS upgrade.

  4. Okay, I wasn’t sure if I understood. You get a free upgrade if you have a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 IF you participate in the Beta or is it ANYone with a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 gets a free upgrade?

    1. bradlinder – Brad Linder is editor of the mobile tech blog Liliputing, an independent journalist and podcast producer and editor based in Philadelphia.
      Brad Linder says:

      Both. Microsoft has already said anyone who upgrades from Windows 7 or later within the first year after Windows 10 is launched can do it for free.
      What’s new(isn) is the confirmation that you can also upgrade from the Windows 10 preview for free… But *only* if you’ve already got a valid, paid-for license as explained in the article.

  5. Not to blow my own trumpet (but I will :), I believe this (i.e. needing a license to upgrade after installing Win 10 beta) is what I said when someone in a previous comment thread was wondering if you got a free no-questions upgrade if you participated in the Win 10 beta.

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