Windows 10 Upgrade Pricing – Clearing Up the Confusion

On January 21, Microsoft held a press conference in which they discussed the upcoming Windows 10, including new features and even a new browser. While some aspects were explained in detail, others were only briefly touched on, such as the free upgrade to Windows 10 for users on Windows 7 and 8.1, “for the first year”. This led to many tech sites publishing ambiguous statements, such as “Windows 10 free for first year”.

This could easily be interpreted as meaning that Windows 10 would be free to use for one year only, after which a fee would be required in order to keep using it. Even my good mate who owns the local computer shop was adamant that the free upgrade was for a one-year license. It took quite a bit of convincing to persuade him otherwise.

Thankfully, Microsoft recognized the confusion and has since clarified the situation via its Windows Blog. The fact of the mater is; existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users who choose to upgrade to Windows 10 during the first year after its official release will do so for free and continue using the new operating system at no additional charge for the supported lifetime of the device. In other words, as per usual.

We will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices that upgrade in the first year!*  And even better: once a qualified Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it up to date for the supported lifetime of the device, keeping it more secure, and introducing new features and functionality over time – for no additional charge

Existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users who upgrade to Windows 10 after the initial 12 months has expired will be required to pay – Microsoft has not provided any indication of pricing to date.

Microsoft’s decision to provide a free upgrade to Windows 10 surprised a lot of people, including myself, especially seeing how the offer includes Windows 7 users. However, if one considers the costs involved with providing ongoing support for multiple versions of Windows and Internet Explorer, it makes a lot of sense.

Obviously, Microsoft’s position would be far improved if everyone were to be using the same operating system, and providing an incentive for Windows 7 users to upgrade, as well as Windows 8/8.1 users, will go a long way toward helping achieve that goal. Not to mention the lingering possibility of a subscription based distribution model – but that, as they say, is another story.


9 thoughts on “Windows 10 Upgrade Pricing – Clearing Up the Confusion”

  1. I finally got tired of trying to get the W10 Preview to work, so I removed it to the recycle bin. Just hope MS gets the kinks worked out before the release date.

  2. I am hoping the upgrade includes a key that will work after the first year, if I decide to do a fresh install of Windows 10. While I keep backups, I tend to do a fresh install every few years. Also, I build my own computers and just move the OS from my old to my new, would I then have to pay for Windows 10? I will be sure to make a basic backup for that case, and hope my backup software works (as it states it will) for restoring to different hardware.

    1. Mark Williamson

      Good points Brad but I’d fear you will not likely have the fresh install option, that would likely attract a separate license fee because ‘normally’ an upgrade license allows you to upgrade from an “eligible” OS, in other words you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible for the upgrade. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from. So if you have a blank hard drive, you can’t install W10 because you wouldn’t already have an eligible OS installed to upgrade from. Hope that makes sense 🙂

      1. Peter Thompson

        Hopefully that means we’ll at least get an upgrade serial as I have a windows 7 disc so I could easily reformat and instal that and then upgrade. Hopefully closer to the release they will clarify everything

        1. Mark Williamson

          I’d be cautious Peter, simply because MS have only stipulated that the OS upgrade will be available free for the first year, after that nobody knows but I’d put money on the upgrade routine being time-bombed or something similarly time restricted because if they didn’t they would potentially be allowing people to upgrade after the first year, and unless they are able to keep a track on who is upgrading and when, they’ll not be able to track it all.

  3. It seems to me that there is still a problem of compatibility to analyze before performing the upgrade.
    I guess all the PCs with Windows 7 in particular will not be able to run Windows 10 effectively, as well as most software and devices installed.
    Thanks for the info !

    1. Vista users cannot upgrade to Windows 10 for free, the free upgrade is restricted to Windows 7/8/8.1 users only. If Vista users want to upgrade to Windows 10, I’m afraid they’re going to have to pay for it.

      The best bet would probably be to continue running Vista until the PC dies and then buy a new PC with Windows 10 pre-installed.

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