Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

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For greater than seven years, it has been one of many worst-kept secrets and techniques in private computing. Formally, Microsoft’s free improve provide resulted in 2016, however nobody in Redmond bothered to reset the activation servers. The end result? In the event you had a PC working Home windows 7 or Home windows 8/8.1, you can improve to Home windows 10 at no cost.

The loophole was even larger than it appeared. The 25-character product keys from Home windows 7 and Home windows 8.1 had been nonetheless good for activating a brand new set up of Home windows 10 or upgrading to the Professional version from Home windows 10 Residence.

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I first wrote concerning the subject in January 2017 (“Sure, you possibly can nonetheless get a free Home windows 10 improve. This is how”) and have up to date it frequently within the intervening years. That publish has been learn thousands and thousands of instances, and I’ve obtained 1000’s of emails from readers reporting their profitable upgrades.

As not too long ago as September 18, I used to be nonetheless receiving emails like this one:

A fast notice – with thanks – to verify that the free Home windows 10 obtain remains to be working.  Simply switched an previous laptop computer over from Home windows 7.   Thanks!!

Effectively, it was enjoyable whereas it lasted.

An unsigned discover posted on the Microsoft Gadget Companion Middle on September 20 made it official:

Home windows Ends Set up Path for Free Home windows 7/8 Improve

Microsoft’s free improve provide for Home windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The set up path to acquire the Home windows 7 / 8 free improve is now eliminated as nicely. Upgrades to Home windows 11 from Home windows 10 are nonetheless free.

It is noteworthy that this announcement seems on a web site that targets Microsoft’s OEM companions, who convey within the lion’s share of Home windows income because of their purchases of OEM licenses for brand new PCs. The corporate had been pointedly silent on the free-upgrade loophole for seven years, whereas publicly encouraging clients to purchase new PCs slightly than upgrading previous ones.

With the tip of help for Home windows 10 a mere two years away and PC gross sales slowing dramatically after a pandemic-fueled resurgence, Redmond’s consideration is specializing in the longer term. Particularly, on a future fueled by Home windows 11 and its successors, working on shiny new PCs that meet Home windows 11’s minimal system necessities.

Because the publish notes, upgrades from Home windows 10 to Home windows 11 are nonetheless free, and keys for the 2 variations ought to nonetheless be interchangeable.

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It is unclear how many individuals will likely be affected by this modification in coverage. Arguably, most PCs nonetheless working an outdated, unsupported model of Home windows in any case these years are in all probability owned by people who find themselves firmly within the “Not gonna improve, ever” camp.

Over the subsequent few weeks, I will be burning via my assortment of historic Home windows product keys, testing improve situations to see if Microsoft is de facto severe with its new coverage. In the event you’ve acquired previous {hardware} that you just’re attempting to improve, I am fascinated with listening to about your expertise. Ship your experiences to: edbott (at) realworldwindows (dot) com.

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