Will Windows 10 be Free for “Insiders” or Not?

windows 10 - main

In a recent blog post, Microsoft’s Gabe Aul made an announcement which seemed to suggest that anyone running Windows 10 Preview as part of the ‘Windows Insider’ program and who logs in to same using a Microsoft account would then receive the final version of Windows 10 for free when it is released:

Here’s a screenshot of the original post:

Click image for full size
Click image for full size

Although somewhat ambiguous – why can’t anyone from Microsoft explain things clearly and succinctly – the consensus has been that this meant Windows 10 final release would be free for everyone running Windows 10 Preview provided they are part of the “Insiders” program and logging in via a Microsoft account. Bloggers subsequently started posting articles all over the place about how Windows 10 could be gotten free simply by following that simple procedure – even by XP and Vista users.

HOWEVER, the wording of that original blog post has since been changed, covertly and without explanation:

Click image for full size
Click image for full size

If you compare the two, you’ll see that all references to “activation” have been deleted in the amended post. So, what we are left with now is an even more ambiguous announcement from Microsoft.

Will Windows 10 be free for “Insiders” logging in with a Microsoft account? Your guess is as good as mine. However, the fact that any reference to “activation” has now been scrubbed would tend to indicate not.

For goodness sake Microsoft, enough of the gobbledygook already, explaining these situations properly should be child’s play. I’ve come to the understanding that all Microsoft executives would make terrific politicians – how to say absolutely nothing concrete in as many words as humanly possible.


17 thoughts on “Will Windows 10 be Free for “Insiders” or Not?”

  1. Hi Jim
    This is how I see this playing out. On July 29th Insiders that are connected with their MSA will receive the final Insider Preview Build. The Insider will have the option to install with the ISO but since it will be a clean install, the Insider will probably have to pay for a W10 activation key.
    The paragraph “Stay With Us AS A Windows Insiders” will let the Insider continue receiving future builds. But on July 29th the W10 Tech Preview will end unless one is either registered with the Insiders Program and connected with their MSA or one takes the Free Upgrade.
    How long the Insider Program will last is any ones guess and what benefit would be gained by staying in the Insider Program is questionable.

  2. It certainly is ambiguous and one would be forgiven for thinking that without activation, the whole exercise under Insider Preview would be a waste of time.
    But I have a feeling that in this scenario, the upgrade/ISO would go scurrying off to find an existing 7 or 8 install or indeed refer you to your upgrade registration which you may have completed as part of the Icon Notification.
    Either way, the ability to stay with the preview would be a major advantage and I just wish MS would stop being so dammed pussy about the whole thing.

  3. @dandl “The Insider will have the option to install with the ISO but since it will be a clean install, the Insider will probably have to pay for a W10 activation key”

    I have to disagree, not that I really care because besides being an insider myself who will receive a free copy, all of my machines are also eligible for the free upgrade. But making an insider pay for an activation key? I don’t know how you came upon this thinking but I have to say no way, the insiders have made Windows 10 what it is and for Microsoft to shun the insiders by making them pay for a key after all the valuable input put into Windows 10 just makes total nonsense to me.

    For all the rest:\
    It makes me laugh at how since hearing that Windows 10 is going to be the last OS put out by Microsoft that everyone is now scrambling with schemes on how to get their free copy.

    A year ago when Windows 10 was in it’s infancy no one could care less about it. All the blogs were lighting up yesterday instructing people to become an insider and install 10 on a VM when Microsoft announced that insiders will get a free copy just so they could get theirs, well Microsoft has now countered this scheme as to not discount the insiders that have been doing all the hard work up until now just to have a plethora of XP and Vista users rush to sign up so they can get a free copy without having to do anything for it.

    If XP and Vista users would have just upgraded and had gone through the growing pains and mistakes like the rest of us they would be sitting pretty right now, instead they chose to stay with OS’s that all of us knew that no matter how good XP was it’s days were numbered and why anyone would stick with Vista I’ll never know.

    1. It’s really not hard to understand at all ……..

      Windows insiders will get free copies with an iso download

      Those with Windows 7 with sp1, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 will receive free upgrades.

      And all the rest with have to purchase theirs.

      1. ED
        Being a Windows Insider doesn’t mean you will get a Free Activated copy of W10, it just say’s you will be able to download the ISO but that does not translate into an Activated copy of W10 or you can stay in the Insiders Program after July 29th.
        Their are other reasons why users have stayed on XP or Vista. Software compatibility is one of the main reasons.

        1. XP was good but has had it’s time, Vista however was a train wreck, no matter how bad 8 was I’d still use it over Vista.

          Now ………

          As for a the free Windows 10 insider version, it is a version that will stay in testing, a version that will updated before all others, the person using it will stay an insider testing future versions before others receive it, so essentially, yes, insiders do receive a free version ……

          However I can find nothing about a paid activation key???

        2. A free version of what Ed? A Beta OS to run your PC, no thanks, as of July 29th this insider will leave the program. I need my HDD, that has W10 installed on it, for backup for my W7 files
          Someone else can have my free copy of W10, because it is just collecting dust under the “Hide Updates Tab” on my W7 and 8.1 PC.

        1. Thanks for the link Ed.

          That article pretty much backs up what I suspected and have said – that being an Insider does not in itself qualify for a free Win10. Insiders still need to be eligible Win7 or Win8 users in order to get Win10 for free – same as everybody else. The only difference, as you’ve pointed out, is that if they stick with the program they will be first to receive updates and new features.

          Even then, the writer of the article admits to not being 100% sure – note he says: “as we understand this“.

          However, logically, I too suspect that this is the correct interpretation.

    2. First of all, who in their right mind would install Windows 10 Insider Preview over an existing copy of Windows 7 or 8 since the preview is beta software and as such is liable to break.
      Further, just because a user is testing the preview, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he or she has a genuine copy of Windows installed somewhere else on their machine. They could be an XP user or indeed a Linux user.

  4. I don’t think dandl really gets it, whatever you think about Windows 10, insiders will not receive a free “beta” version as you put it, essentially the version you get is the RTM version that stays in testing and like I said the insiders get updates before anyone else to test before they are released to the general public.

    “Someone else can have my free copy of W10, because it is just collecting dust under the “Hide Updates Tab” on my W7 and 8.1 PC”

    Say what you want about it, sooner or later you’ll have to use it because it is the last OS being put out by Microsoft or you can just move over to Linux but sooner or later you WILL use it, Windows is mainstream Linux is not and probably never will be.
    Just as XP and Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 8.1’s day are numbered so if you don’t make the move now, you will in the future.

    1. Essentially what I meant by…..
      “essentially the version you get is the RTM version that stays in testing and like I said the insiders get updates before anyone else to test before they are released to the general public.”
      The insiders RTM version stays in testing, the insider receives updates before the gp , IF there are bugs they are corrected and returned to the insider until all bugs are removed and safe for release, the insiders version of Windows 10 is then upgraded just like everyone else’s.

      1. A little more clarification from Techspot ………

        I quote …. “If you don’t have a Windows license to upgrade from, you can either buy Windows 10 or you can keep using Windows 10 as an Insider. Microsoft plans to continue the Insider program after Windows 10 ships. This means you can keep using Windows 10 Preview builds (even if they are exactly as the final release) and subsequent builds in the Fast and Slow ring. These builds have an expiration date, but as the Insider program continues, you can just keep getting newly updated builds and automated extensions of your Windows install indefinitely, as long as Microsoft doesn’t pull the plug on the beta testing program”

        There you go, a free copy of Windows 10 for insiders whether or not you qualify for the upgrade or not, to get the free copy one must remain an insider, posted on 6.22.15 at Techspot http://www.techspot.com/article/1002-windows-10-free-or-not-explained/

        1. I quote from the same article:

          Microsoft is giving Insiders a free upgrade path to the final release of the OS. This only means you will be able to upgrade from the Preview to the final RTM (Release to Manufacturing) code without the need of a clean install, but this doesn’t get you a free copy of Windows 10.

          Ed, this is getting us nowhere fast, I suggest that, in this case anyway, we agree to disagree. As with all things, time will tell.

          Cheers… Jim

  5. Here’s what I’m going to do:

    Fresh install of 7/8/8.1 computers. Create a system image after customizing & save off to external drives.

    In a few months, after the initial bugs are patched, I can upgrade to 10. Then, immediately customize & create an image as above.

    That way, I can go to whichever I want, any time & for any reason, fairly painlessly.

    Considering that I run Linux Mint myself & only keep the Windows units in order to help me to help repair other people’s machines, I actually want to end up with one of each. This way, after testing on all of them, I can keep 10 on the unit which runs it best & revert the others.


Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top


Get great content like this delivered to your inbox!

It's free, convenient, and delivered right to your inbox! We do not spam and we will not share your address. Period!