Microsoft has announced that the free upgrade from Windows 7/8.1 to Windows 10 for those who use assistive technologies will cease at the end of this year.
Microsoft has updated its assistive technologies upgrade web page to state (opens in new tab): “Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31, 2017.”
The software giant had previously said that the accessibility-based upgrade would not last forever, and that it would make a public announcement when the scheme was being brought to an end. And, obviously enough, this is that announcement.
Theoretically, you aren’t supposed to use the assistive tech upgrade if you don’t make use of Windows 10’s relevant accessibility features, but as no verification system is in place to check whether users do or not, anybody has effectively been able to use this as a morally dubious upgrade route. But, not for much longer.
However, another potential route to a freebie upgrade could still remain open.
As for the other upgrade path which has existed since the Windows 10 free upgrade offer expired in July 2016, this is a completely unofficial route that Microsoft has never acknowledged or talked about at all. It involves using an existing Windows 7/8.1 product key to activate the installation of the new OS.
And, apparently it’s still a usable method of upgrading, as Thurrott.com (opens in new tab) observed at the end of last week.
However, Thurrott does note that you have to use a retail Windows 7/8.1 product key, and not an OEM key (i.e. an installation of Windows which came pre-installed on your PC when you bought it).
There also seems to now be some doubt as to whether the retail key in question has to be unused, but anecdotally, even keys which have already been used to install a copy of Windows have been known to work for some folks upgrading to Windows 10.
The question is: will this second route to a free upgrade also cease at the end of this year? We won’t know about that because, as we’ve mentioned, Microsoft has never officially commented on this particular avenue of upgrading. In official terms, it doesn’t exist.
But, if you do want to upgrade to Windows 10 via an existing retail product key, we’d probably do so before 2018 rolls around, just to be on the safe side.
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