Software

Free Windows 10 upgrade still available to these select users

The free upgrade for Windows 10 ended on July 29, 2016. However, users who need assistive technologies can still get it for free. Here's how.

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Image: Microsoft

Exactly one year after its initial release, the Windows 10 free upgrade program has officially ended. For most users, if you missed the July 29 deadline, you're out of luck and you'll have to pay $120 for a copy.

For certain users, though, a free upgrade to Windows 10 is still available. For customers who use assistive technologies, Windows 10 is still available as a free download here. Simply click the "Download Now" button, and an EXE file will begin downloading to your machine.

Microsoft recommends that users check with their provider(s) to make sure that their assistive technology will still function properly with Windows 10.

One reason why the upgrade is still available to these users is due to the fact that Microsoft added a host of additional accessibility features with the update. In a Microsoft Developer blog post in early July, the company detailed all of the individual changes.

SEE: Windows 10: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

The screen reader feature, Narrator, got new languages, faster text to speech, new modes for punctuation, and many other updates. Microsoft Edge, Mail, Cortana, and Groove also got accessibility updates, and new developer tools add accessibility for developers working on a Windows machine.

Microsoft isn't the only company adding new accessibility features to its products. Apple is known for its accessibility features on the iPhone and iPad, and recently added the ability to track fitness for wheelchair users on the Apple Watch. Google also added a few accessibility updates to Android and Chrome OS back in April.

Once you've determined if Windows 10 will work with your other technologies, the question becomes whether or not it's actually worth downloading. Upon its initial release, perceived privacy issues made it unpopular with some users, and compatibility issues and missing features may still cause some problems. But, new features and better access to data could make it the OS of choice for some users.

Currently, more than 350 million devices are running Windows 10. The free offer helped bolster install numbers in the beginning, but the lack of mobile strategy on Microsoft's end seemed to hold them back from meeting their 1 billion device goal. Windows 10 is on its way to being a successful upgrade campaign, but it still has a few hurdles to clear first.

What do you think?

Do you plan on upgrading to Windows 10? Have you already upgraded? Tell us your opinion of the new OS in the comments.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The Windows 10 free upgrade officially ended on July 29, but users who rely on assistive technologies can still upgrade for free.
  2. Companies like Apple and Google have also recently added new accessibility features to new mobile and desktop products as well.
  3. The free upgrade gave an initial boost to Windows 10 download numbers, but the company admitted that it will not make its goal of 1 billion device installs.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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