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Is Windows 10 Still Free?

Is Windows 10 still available for free?

Yes, under certain circumstances you can still get it for free.

But you must act quickly. The plan is that the ability to get it for free will end at the end of this year, 2017. In other words, as of the date this is published, you have only a couple of weeks left.

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Windows 10 is still technically available for free for those using assistive technologies.

Microsoft doesn’t intend this as a way for folks who don’t use assistive technologies to upgrade, but they never ask for any proof that you do. Nor do they really define exactly what it means to use assistive technologies. Some take it to mean things as simple as increasing the screen magnification or having run the magnifier tool.

As with the original free offer, this is only available as an upgrade to an existing installation of Windows 7 or Windows 8, and will get you the same edition, Home or Pro, as you already have. This will not work for a new installation. Of course, if you have a legitimate copy of Windows 7 or 8, you could install it onto a new machine first and then upgrade that to Windows 10 for free.

This free offer ends on December 31, 2017.

After that, or in situations where you’re not eligible or not upgrading an existing installation of Windows 7 or 8, you’ll have to purchase Windows 10.

Getting the upgrade

From the machine running Windows 7 or 8, visit this Microsoft webpage: Customers who use assistive technologies can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost.

Assistive Technology Offer

Click “Upgrade Now” to download and run the installer.

That’s all there is to it.

After the deadline

Once the deadline passes, or if your machine isn’t eligible, your only real option is to purchase a copy of Windows 10. Honestly, that should be a pretty rare situation, as most new PCs come with Windows 10 pre-installed. If not, or if you’re installing it on an older or other computer that did not come with Windows 10, many computer and online stores offer Windows 10 for sale.

As always, if you are purchasing Windows 10 or otherwise have the option to do so, I do recommend springing for the Pro edition. It has a couple of features and conveniences that the Home edition does not, the most interesting being BitLocker, the Group Policy Editor, and Remote Desktop. You can see a more complete comparison here.

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33 comments on “Is Windows 10 Still Free?”

  1. Are you certain Microsoft is closing this option down in 2018? They previously had an end date for upgrades that turned out to be soft. It has seemed like they wanted to position Windows differently but didn’t want to admit it?

  2. I already had windows 10 when a repair to my motherboard was performed, now a pop up messages is telling me to activate windows10 even although it is running as such.
    Would I be able to use your download upgrade to have it properly installed?

    • Tom; you have a ‘problem’ that this upgrade won’t fix. The upgrade is for users of previous systems – that is, Windows 7 & 8 systems.

      Win 10 is a ‘permanent’ licence for a particular system; once recognised, you can reinstall Win 10 from scratch repeatedly. If your system is not activated, and it was previously, that implies a different motherboard or replacement laptop. I think you can just reactivate your laptop if you’ve just had a parts swap, although you might need to talk to Microsoft …

  3. Consider very carefully this “upgrade.” When you are involved in “free” stuff, you are the product. Read the Win10 User agreement carefully.

  4. I had the Windows 10 upgrade shoved down my throat by Microsoft back when they were doing the sneaky upgrades.
    My question is this: if my image backups were to fail for some reason and I had to do a fresh Windows 8 install, would Microsoft recognize this from the data they’ve collected and allow me to reinstall Windows 10?

    • That’s two different questions; Fresh Windows 8 Install / Reinstall Windows 10.

      You haven’t made it clear if you’re running Win 8 or Win 10 but:
      a) Assuming you have a legitimate Win 8 key, that will [or should] reinstall OK
      b) If you took a Win10 update and it was successful, Microsoft has a key stored for your system which will allow you to reinstall WIn10 directly.

  5. You have said that most new PCs now come with Windows 10 installed. Since I find W10 rather horrible, if I bought a new laptop with W10 as the operating system, may I have it re-configured to Windows 7 Pro with no further cost or is that a step too far for Microsoft?

    • My experience would suggest *No*. When my HDD with Win 2000 on it physically died, it was about a week after support for 2000 had ended, and neither MS nor my hardware vendor would replace the OS (this was back when they first started putting in recovery partitions rather than providing disks; I had assumed (yeah, I know!) that my brand-new computer had recovery disks in the box: at this point, I had never heard of anything different) – MS basically said “sorry, we don’t support that product any more”, and HP generously offered to re-sell me the OS – you know, the product that I already had purchased a legal license for and registered. Especially since “mainstream support” for Windows 7 has ended:, the consequence of this, according to the article, is “there will be no free support, Microsoft won’t honor warranty claims, and the company will not add new features.” I would imagine that you could still *buy* Windows 7, but I would NOT expect there to be any route by which you could get it for free – especially from MS. (This is the part where I feel obliged to suggest looking into Linux as a replacement, unless you truly need Windows for something.) Good luck!

  6. i did install the free win 10 download when it came out. i used it for about a month or so but i didn`t like all the things they forced on us. so i did a DBAN wipe and clean re-install with a win 7 ult disk. so obviously win 10 was gone.
    is that free installation still mine and can i get it back? i did not save anything from free the installation.

    • Once you ran Win10, Microsoft allocated and saved your key for you.

      Thus you don’t need to update again; you can reinstall Win10 from scratch and you’ll automatically be activated with the key they saved.

      Note that from Win10, keys are no longer on the PC. A dummy key is allocated [that key reading software will show], it’s the same one for all systems. The real one is saved by the Microsoft servers.

      • Hi, that’s v. interesting! Does that mean if I have to reload Windows 10 and I don’t have the distribution media ‘cos it was a free upgrade from Windows 7, Microsoft will detect and recognise the system and supply the authorisation key automatically?

        • I have an older laptop (2010 model) which came with Windows 7 Home pre-installed. I took the free upgrade to Windows 10. Recently it began overheating even though I had blown the dust out. Eventually, I couldn’t boot it up any more. I downloaded a copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft and installed it on the laptop. In my case, it didn’t automatically fill in the activation code so I registered it with the OEM activation key from the sticker on the bottom. It activated with no problem.

        • In theory, yes. Once Windows 10 has been installed on a machine then it should be able to be reinstalled and automatically authorized — as long as the hardware hasn’t changed “too much” (which is undefined) between the installs.

  7. I get a report and upgrade faulure that says the api-ms-win-cor-libraryloader-1-1-1.dll is missing and I should reinstall the application. Sugestions?

    • There’s a bug in the process.

      You need to copy the file Wimgapi.dll from your Windows/System32 folder to the Windows10Upgrade folder.

      Then rerun the update program.

  8. Leo suggested installing windows 7 or 8 on a new machine and then upgrading to W10 before the end of the year. That’s not feasible when you have no activation left. I’d leave W10 be if you don’t want to deal with unending updates, re starts and Windows update cleanups. Be more productive and get your work done with Windows 7 or 8.1. Do you really care about Paint 3D or 3D Builder or is being able to work uninterrupted and and productivity more important? I mean, with 7 or 8.1 you can update and patch when you decide to or not and stay in control of your PC. Isn’t that what you really prefer?

  9. I was looking at the differences between the Home and Pro version via the link you provided and it says that Remote Desktop is not available in Windows Home, however, I see it IS included on my Windows Home (mstsc.exe) and works when I run it (I have used it to connect to other computers in my house). Are there some features of Remote Desktop that are disabled in the Home version?

      • Ah. I cannot, however, I only ever want to remote INTO other machines and that still works. There’s still TeamViewer of course.

      • Ha I just upgraded my win 7 ultimate machine in 2019.

        It has activated.

        Microsoft haven’t closed down the upgrade option for some reason.
        I missed the original deadline years ago as it kept failing at 2% and then kinda forgot about it.

        The only reason I upgraded is because I’m getting a ryzen cup which apparently requires windows 10.
        It has unlocked the pro version for me too. I guess coming from Ultimate.

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