Want Windows 10 for free? You can still upgrade for nothing

Officially, the free upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7/8 users expired at the close of last July, but it seems that, a year later, there are still two routes by which you can make the leap to Microsoft’s newest operating system.

As Techspot highlighted, both these routes have remained open since the free upgrade expired.

The first method is to get an upgrade because you use assistive technologies with the desktop OS. Note that Microsoft doesn’t ask for any verification that you will use assistive tech, which is why in the past we’ve labelled this a morally dubious method for getting a free upgrade, although Techspot does point out that there's a potentially wide umbrella of qualifiers for those who use accessibility features.

Microsoft says: “If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the upgrade offer.” The company uses the terms assistive and accessibility rather interchangeably, and accessibility features include elements like Windows 10’s Speech Recognition, or even Cortana or keyboard shortcuts.

Clearly, this is still something of a grey area though, although not one Microsoft has ever policed, presumably because it’s simply happy to have folks upgrading to Windows 10 – which would seem to be the main reason these methods have continued to remain available.

The product key option

The other loophole which is still active is to simply use your Windows 7 or Windows 8 product key to fire up a Windows 10 upgrade – it will still work just fine. We're quite surprised that this particular avenue hasn’t been shut off yet, but as mentioned, it would appear that Microsoft just wants to beef up Windows 10 user numbers and stats.

How long this will remain the case is anyone’s guess, but if you do wish to upgrade it’s probably best to do so sooner rather than later. It won’t be forever, that’s for sure, as Microsoft has previously said it will announce when the assistive technologies upgrade scheme is coming to a close. 

The company hasn’t said anything official about the other product key route, simply because this (theoretically) shouldn’t exist at all. It’s an elephant in the corner of the desktop, for want of a better phrase.

Talking more broadly about accessibility matters for Windows 10, Microsoft is promising some big steps forward on this front with the incoming Fall Creators Update, including a really nifty-looking eye-tracking feature.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).