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HomeTechnologyWindows 10 upgrades no longer free: Official announcement

Windows 10 upgrades no longer free: Official announcement


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For over seven years, Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 has remained available unofficially, despite officially ending in 2016. The activation servers were never reset, allowing users with Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to freely upgrade to Windows 10. Even the product keys from the older versions of Windows could activate new installations of Windows 10 or upgrade to the Pro edition. This loophole has been well-known and utilized by many, with millions of readers engaging with articles about the topic and thousands reporting successful upgrades. However, Microsoft recently made an official announcement stating that the installation path for the free Windows 7/8 upgrade has now been removed.

This notice from Microsoft, posted on the Device Partner Center on September 20, marks the end of the free upgrade offer. It is worth noting that this announcement targets Microsoft’s OEM partners, who contribute significantly to Windows revenue by purchasing OEM licenses for new PCs. Microsoft had remained silent regarding the free-upgrade loophole for the past seven years, while also encouraging customers to buy new PCs rather than upgrading their existing ones. The company’s attention is now turning towards the future, focusing on Windows 11 and its successors, running on new PCs that meet the minimum system requirements of Windows 11. Upgrades from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will still be free, and the interchangeability of keys between the two versions should remain.

The impact of this change in policy on users who have been running outdated and unsupported versions of Windows for years remains uncertain. Most of these users are likely adamant about not upgrading their systems. In the coming weeks, there will be further exploration and testing of various upgrade scenarios to determine whether Microsoft is serious about enforcing the new policy. Users with old hardware who are attempting to upgrade are invited to share their experiences with the author, who will be conducting tests using ancient Windows product keys.

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