You’re running out of time to update to Windows 10 for free

Alex Kidman 27 July 2016


Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 only has a couple of days to go.

When Microsoft launched Windows 10 back on 29 July 2015, it did so with the promise that any user with a genuine copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 that met the hardware requirements would be able to upgrade to Windows 10 at absolutely no cost. It was an interesting strategic move for a company that had long made serious cash from selling Windows licenses as it shifted from a software selling model to a services model, as it has done with Office 365.

The one significant catch with the deal was that would run for the first year of Windows 10 availability only, which means that the free offer expires on 29 July 2016. That’s only a couple of days away. You might be able to slip by the gatekeeper early on the morning of 30 July 2016 allowing for international dateline differences if Microsoft is running to a strict Seattle timeline, but we wouldn’t bet the farm on that.

Update: Indeed, Microsoft Australia has confirmed to finder that the upgrade offer will expire at 11:59pm on 29 July 2016 in Australia, so the clock is ticking.

Should I upgrade?

If you’ve dodged the rather incessant upgrade prompts to this point, you’re probably already decided on this matter. If you’re still on the fence, it’s a judgement call depending on the needs of your machine and its capabilities. Many of the earlier bugs in Windows 10 have been ironed out by now, and the new Windows 10 Anniversary Update will arrive on 2 August 2016, mere days after the deadline expires.

In one sense it might be wise to upgrade before the deadline just to score the freebie; Microsoft allows a 30-day rollback period for new Windows 10 installations where you can test out the new OS before switching back to the older version if that suits. Doing so for free is undeniably better value than doing so at a cost, but it would be wise to fully back up your PC before doing so. It’s not entirely unheard of for rollbacks to encounter difficulties, but if you have a full software image of your system, you can always roll back to that anyway.

What happens if I don’t upgrade before the deadline?

Nothing specific will happen to any PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8 after 29 July, but if you do decide after that time that you want to upgrade to Windows 10, you’ll have to purchase a full new licence. Currently, that will set you back $179 outright, which, depending on the age of your PC, might make a complete new PC purchase (which would come with its own Windows 10 licence as a matter of course) a more sensible bet.

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