Software

The end is near: Say goodbye to the Windows 10 free upgrade

The deadline for a free Windows 10 upgrade is right around the corner. Find out what happens after the offer expires.

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Image: iStockphoto.com/miwa_in_oz

Don't look now, but July 29, 2016, is coming up fast. That is the one-year anniversary of the release of Windows 10, which means the ability to upgrade to the new operating system for FREE will soon expire. (If you are interested, you can take a look at the official countdown here.)

In a January 21, 2015, Windows Experience blog post titled The next generation of Windows: Windows 10, we learned that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade. Author Terry Myerson said:

Today was a monumental day for us on the Windows team because we shared our desire to redefine the relationship we have with you—our customers. We announced that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.

A little over six months later, on July 28, 2015, Myerson penned another Windows Experience blog post, titled Windows 10 Free Upgrade Available in 190 Countries Today, in which he reiterated the free upgrade policy:

From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique—built with feedback from five million Windows Insiders, delivered as a service with ongoing innovations and security updates, and offered as a free upgrade to genuine Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 customers.

If you've been reading articles by Woody Leonhard or Paul Thurrott in recent months, you know that Microsoft has been upping its game with the Get Windows 10, or GWX, program it built into Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. It really wants every Windows user everywhere to be running Windows 10.

Any holdouts—Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 users who have been sticking to their guns so far—have only a few more weeks to go before losing their chance to get Windows 10 for free.

In a recent Windows Experience blog post titled Windows 10 Now on 300 Million Active Devices - Free Upgrade Offer to End Soon, Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, said:

...we want to remind you that if you haven't taken advantage of the free upgrade offer, now is the time. The free upgrade offer to Windows 10 was a first for Microsoft, helping people upgrade faster than ever before. And time is running out. The free upgrade offer will end on July 29 and we want to make sure you don't miss out. After July 29th, you'll be able to continue to get Windows 10 on a new device, or purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

SEE: Can't activate Windows 10? Microsoft adds troubleshooter to resolve common complaints

What will Windows 10 cost after July 29?

As Mehdi pointed out in his post, you will be able to purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

But how much will Windows 10 Pro cost?

Well, if you head over to the Microsoft Store right now, you'll find that you can purchase both Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro as a download or on a USB flash drive. Windows 10 Pro will cost you $199.99. And moving past the July 29 deadline for the free upgrade, it's a pretty safe bet that prices will remain the same—especially since they're the same price points that the full versions of Windows 8.1 Home and Pro sold for when that operating system was new.

SEE: How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and keep using your old Windows version

Will there be upgrade versions of Windows 10 after July 29?

Since Microsoft provided free upgrades for a full year, I wonder if there will be upgrade packages for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users who decide to upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29. I suppose that it's possible, but then again, maybe not. When Microsoft introduced Windows 8.1 packages, it offered only the full versions—there were no upgrade versions of Windows 8.1. With that in mind, it's easy to speculate that this may also be the case with Windows 10.

What's your take?

Will you keep running Windows7/8 or will you decide to take advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade offer before July 29th? What are your thoughts on Microsoft's one-year free upgrade experiment? Share your plans and opinions with fellow TechRepublic members.

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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