Can you still get Windows 10 for free? Whether you're on Windows 8 or Vista, we have the answer right here – and can tell you exactly how long you have left to grab it for nothing ahead of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update being released.
Windows 10 has been around for a bit now, and adoption of Microsoft's latest OS is solid thanks to the company's free upgrade initiative – but it's last call for the offer, at least officially.
The new OS is ambitious. It aims to make Windows 10 the single thing that powers all Microsoft's products, including phones and even the Xbox One.
WATCH: All you need to know about Windows 10
This could also be the last ever full version of Windows, with Microsoft intending to treat its iconic OS as a service from now on.
Here's who has to pay, who doesn't, and how long you have to take advantage of the offer.
But first, a bit of insight for TrustedReviews Computing Editor Michael Passingham, who says that while it's not necessary to upgrade now, you probably still should with a view to the future.
"You’ve been resisting the Windows 10 for a full year. At this point, there’s nothing I can do to convince you to upgrade, instead I will just state the facts.
"For many, Windows 10 is very much a ‘take it or leave it’ OS. It’s undeniably a massive faff to upgrade, no matter how well organised your files are. That, and Microsoft has annoyed a lot of people with its strong arm tactics that force people to update to Windows 10 without giving them proper notice.
"Even the Windows 10 Anniversary update doesn’t live up to its grand name, and the smattering of new upgrades – while useful – are only there for those who actually already use Windows 10. The most interesting stuff requires you to own a 2-in-1 with a stylus, and the rest are minor enhancements for Cortana that I’d hazard a guess not all that many consumers actually use.
"Just don’t leave yourself left out in the cold. You have the opportunity to get your device registered for Windows 10 simply by downloading it, installing it and then downgrading. By doing what is maybe a couple of hour’s work (depending on your internet connection speed), you’ve future-proofed yourself for if you ever actually decide to make the leap."
That's that, then – and here's everything else you need to know including when Windows 10 stops costing £0.00 in the UK.
How long is Windows 10 free for?
To put it simply, the cut-off date for upgrading to Windows 10 for nought is NOW.
Depending on where you live, the exact time and date will vary, but if you've been putting the update off, it's time to pull that finger out because at 11:59pm UTC-10 on July 29, Windows 10 ceases to be free.
To translate that into something we can all understand:
- 02:59am PT, July 30
- 05:59am ET, July 30
- 10:59am BST (UK time), July 30
Who gets a Windows 10 free upgrade?
Who gets Windows 10 for free is largely based on what operating system you're currently running. More recent versions of Windows can be upgraded, but people using older versions have to pay to upgrade.
Related: Read our full Windows 10 review
I'm running Windows 7 – do I have to pay?
No. So long as you upgrade to Windows 10 within the first year of it being available, it's free to upgrade. You'll also get free support for 10 years.
How about Windows 8?
It's the same for Windows 8 users – Windows 10 is totally free if you upgrade in the first year.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes – 'Enterprise' versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8 aren't eligible for the free upgrade, but that shouldn't affect ordinary consumers.
Related: Windows 10 vs Windows 7
What about Windows Vista and Windows XP?
Windows 10 isn't free for anyone currently running Windows XP or Windows Vista – you'll have to pay £99 up front, though all future updates will be free of charge.
There is a potential trick to save money here, though. Many online stores still sell OEM versions of Windows 7 for around £50 to £75. You could buy a Windows 7 license and then upgrade to Windows 10 afterwards, though it's a lot effort for a modest saving.
It's also worth checking your PC meets the minimum Windows 10 system requirements first.
Will Microsoft charge for Windows 10 later?
There has been some confusion over these last two 'free' versions of Windows 10, with suggestions that you'll have to pay a fee for the latest operating system after a year of usage. That's largely thanks to Microsoft's appalling communication and vague wording on the matter.
Rest assured, though, that free is free in this case. If you're a Windows 7 or a Windows 8.1 user and you upgrade to Windows 10 within a year of its release, you'll have free access and support from Microsoft for the effective life of the product.
Can 'non-genuine' versions of Windows get a free upgrade as well?
More poor communication from Microsoft led some to believe that the company would include pirated or 'non-genuine' copies of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 in the free upgrade offer. That simply isn't the case.
"With Windows 10, although non-Genuine PCs may be able to upgrade to Windows 10, the upgrade will not change the genuine state of the license," Microsoft told Yahoo News. No genuine Windows, no free update it seems.
Is it worth upgrading to Windows 10?
Much of Windows 10 is designed to appease people who didn't like Windows 8 and convince people to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10. The new Windows 10 Start Menu is a huge part of that, as it combines the Windows 8 style with the core Start Menu features of Windows past.
Microsoft Edge, meanwhile, will be a brand new web browser with a lightweight design, brand new rendering engine, and integrated Cortana support.
For our complete verdict, check out our full Windows 10 review.
Ah, yes, Cortana. Microsoft's nifty personal assistant, fresh from impressing on the floundering Windows Phone 8.1 platform, will be integral to Windows 10.
You'll be able to do a lot with a simple vocal prompt, including setting up calendar alerts, taking hands-free notes, and initiating deep searches for photos and files using natural language.
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Finally ready to jump over to Windows 10? Let us know your plans in the comments below.