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How to hack Windows 10 and get free upgrades forever

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Windows 10

Microsoft is about to cease offering free Windows 10 updates. What do you do if you ultimately want to upgrade to the new OS, but aren't ready to make the leap just yet? Here's a simple hack to save you a bit of dosh.

By now, you're probably aware that Microsoft wants you to upgrade to Windows 10. Like, really, really wants you to upgrade to Windows 10 – to point that it's prepared to dupe you into making the leap.

The company has been offering users of most of its older operating systems the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 free for exactly a year following the software's release – a deal that's set to expire at precisely 11:59pm UTC-10 today (July 29).

What does that actually mean? Here's when Windows 10 stops being free:

  • 02:59am PT, July 30
  • 05:59am ET, July 30
  • 10:59am BST (UK time), July 30

Related: Who can upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

After today, Windows 10 will get a substantial update called the Anniversary Update and the firm will start charging for the software.

It probably goes without saying that it's better not to spend money when you don't have to, but what if you're not ready to upgrade to Windows 10? Here's a simple trick that will allow you to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. Forever.

The workaround hinges on the fact that Microsoft gives your PC a 'digital entitlement' when you upgrade from (a legit version of) Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

This means that its servers recognise your hardware is eligible for a free Windows 10 install – and that you're entitled to re-install at any point, should you subsequently switch to another OS.

Related: Windows 10 vs Windows 7 – should you upgrade?

That means you can upgrade to Windows 10 on your PC, and then make use of Microsoft's 'roll back' feature to go back to your old OS of choice.

Just accept Microsoft's offer of a free Windows 10 update via the Windows 10 upgrade tool, and then wait for the installation to complete.

Once Windows 10 is fired up, head to the Start menu, and then navigate to 'Settings'. Now, go to Update & Security > Activation.

This next step is key. Before rolling back, ensure that it says, "Windows 10 on this device is activated with a digital entitlement" or something similar. If it doesn't say it immediately, just wait, as it can take a while for Microsoft's servers to note the change.

Windows 10 activation

When you're all clear, navigate to the 'Recovery' tab under Updates & Security. If your previous operating system was Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, you see the option to go back – just click 'Get started' and you're away.

Related: Windows 10 Anniversary Update Preview

Windows 10 will thereafter uninstall itself, your old OS will spring back to life, and most importantly, you'll be able to get Windows 10 for free whenever you want. Neat, huh?

However, note that this method can entail the odd hiccup, so you might need to re-download and install certain applications.

We haven't noticed any reports of data being wiped by completing this process, but as ever, backup key files to an external storage device just in case.

That really is all there it to enjoying a free Windows 10 upgrade forever.

Watch: What's new in Windows 10?

Know of any other tricks to get a free Windows 10 upgrade after July 29? Let us know in the comments below.

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