Windows 7 officially entered its End of Life phase on January 14, 2020, and it looks like Microsoft is still allowing people to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
This is despite the original free upgrade offer officially expiring years ago. Not only does this mean you can get Windows 10 without paying $120 for the upgrade, but it’s also (sort of) legit, as Microsoft apparently knows of the loophole and wants people to use it, as the company would rather see people upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, even if that means it doesn’t get money from the upgrades.
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This comes from someone claiming to be a Microsoft employee, who revealed on Reddit that the "whole 'free' upgrade for a year was fully marketing fluff,” and that even after the original cut off date for the free upgrade, there are easy ways to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free.
According to the poster, CokeRobot, Microsoft didn’t care, as Terry Meyerson, who was previously Executive Vice President at Microsoft, and head of the Windows and Devices Group, “at the time cared more about his upgrade stats than license revenue as Windows isn't Microsoft's cash cow anymore.”
With Microsoft ending support for Windows 7 on January 14, it seems the company would rather take the financial hit and make it easy for people to upgrade to Windows 10, rather than them sticking with Windows 7, which could potentially become a security risk as no new patches or updates will be released for the operating system, or worse, switch from Windows to a free alternative like Linux.
However, it seems like while Microsoft knows about the loophole (and tacitly approves of it), it doesn’t want to publicize it, as that could annoy people who have paid for the upgrade.
Of course, bear in mind that this is coming from an unverified user on Reddit. However, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched, as Microsoft could easily stop the free upgrades if it wanted to – and so far, it hasn’t.
How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free
As CokeRobot explains, you need to choose the upgrade where you keep your files and information. If you choose to do a fresh install, you lose the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 for free, and will need to buy a Windows 10 licence.
If this happens, check out our pick of the cheapest Windows 10 prices.
However, we have also heard from readers who say that even doing a fresh install will work with the free Windows 10 upgrade, as long as you have your Windows 7 key to hand.
To upgrade for free, use the Windows Media Creation Tool and select to upgrade from there. Enter in your Windows 7 (or Windows 8) licence key, and you should soon have a Windows 10 running – for free.
For more in-depth advice, visit our guide on how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
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