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Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
#1

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
If you have Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Retail or OEM Windows 10 is still free to upgrade to. This will most likely never change. You can also do a completely clean fresh install of Windows 10 using the Genuine Ticket method.

So the question is - why?

Well it's not because Microsoft are altruistic.

The majority of Windows customers, aside from volume licensing customers, never purchase their own Windows license. It's provided for them by the system manufacturer. And those that did purchase retail editions shelled out big money for the product.

Most computers running Windows 7 have old out of date hardware. Charging people running old slow systems to upgrade to an OS that may not be fully compatible with their systems is a very bad business plan. On the other hand Microsoft's "partners" (both system manufacturers and retail computer shops) are probably not thrilled about the idea of Microsoft giving their customers Windows 10 for free.

Microsoft are not technically able to prevent Windows 7 OEM customers from validating a Windows 10 license. Let me repeat - they can't stop them even if they wanted to, and this would be a big reason why they've left it free for everyone with OEM or retail licenses. Windows OEM uses a pre-activation scheme where the manufacturer's clean install off their product installation disks installs an activated Windows without ever going online, this is known as SLP activation. Windows 7 used shared generic product keys (manufacturer specific) across thousands upon thousands of computers - not the "sticker key". Windows would validate the license by looking up the SLP certificate embedded in the motherboard BIOS. Windows 8 and 8.1 changed to a newer system that embedded a unique product key in each OEM motherboard (this is why Windows 8 OEM stickers don't show product keys). Anyway let's say you upgrade an OEM computer to Windows 10 - later you want to re-install, if you completely wipe the hard drive (or replace it entirely) the Microsoft server can't tell the difference between an OEM computer that was upgraded prior to the 29 July 2016 "deadline" and one upgraded later.

So why does Microsoft deny that users can still upgrade for free?

[Image: RuFWG1O.png]

Because there are competing interests, that's why. Retailers and system manufacturers don't want Microsoft telling customers that Windows 10 is free to upgrade to. Microsoft themselves would prefer to sell licenses to those prepared to pay for them, and they also don't want people who bought a license thinking they wasted their money on something they could have had for free. Let's go through their Upgrade FAQ claims:

(1.) The Windows 10 free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app ended on July 29, 2016.

That is true, however you can still upgrade for free using the Windows 10 media creation tool.

(2.) Yes, the media creation tool and Windows 10 installation media (ISO files) are available for customers to install Windows 10. If you’re installing Windows 10 for the first time, you’ll need to enter a valid Windows 10 product key or buy a full version of Windows 10 during setup for this tool to work.

No you don't need to enter a product key, and in fact you won't even be prompted to enter one. If Microsoft actually wanted people to pay for an upgrade, they wouldn't design the tool to not even ask for a product key! If you have a retail license (including an upgrade licence) or an OEM license and Windows 7/8/8.1 is installed and "activated", and you run the media creation tool and select "upgrade this PC" then it will install Windows 10, select its own product key, and automatically activate. It's only enterprise customers that need to purchase Windows 10 for the tool to work.

(3.) After you upgrade to Windows 10, you can reinstall or do a clean installation on the same device. You won't need a product key to reactivate Windows 10 on the same hardware.

That's completely true for OEM licenses, so long as you don't replace your motherboard. For retail licenses you'd better not delete the hidden System Reserved partition prior to doing a fresh install or it won't find the "digital license".

At the end of the day we mustn't forget that Windows 10 is a privacy-invading nightmare. Microsoft abandoned their platform-neutral approach to one that resembled Apple and Google - complete with Advertising ID and App Store. Because it has an App Store Microsoft can afford to give it away for free, but in doing so they've completely betrayed their customers.
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#2

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
Alternatively we can all dance naked around the big idol. ;-)
  [Image: pirates.gif] Dog  
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#3

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
FYI I confirmed the behaviour on the system I rebuilt yesterday (it'll be rolled-back to Windows 7 tomorrow). I cloned the SSD so I just have to swap out the cloned one for the original. This was a system never previously upgraded to Windows 10, using a retail upgrade license for Windows 7 Ultimate. Retail ASUS motherboard - I have the box, the installation CD and the manual - I didn't actually do a check for SLP in the BIOS but I guarantee there isn't any (the system was upgraded from Vista, it has a retail Windows Vista COA attached - I can check the manufacture date of the motherboard, pretty sure it's pre-2009). Getting Windows 7 to activate was more difficult than getting Windows 10 to do so as it required the two simple steps I outlined yesterday, whereas Windows 10 activated right away with a different product key that it automatically applied (i.e. not the Win 7 Ult product key).
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#4

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
This is common business practice. If you look at sale ads, you will often see that the prices aren't advertised, because it's lower than the manufacturer's MAP. This is a variation on that, seems to me.
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#5

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
Well yes, but it's still very different to what Microsoft did previously with their operating systems. It was never the loss-leader before...
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#6

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
There are things to like about Windows 10 and things to like about Windows 7. Windows 7 seemed more stable and efficient. I guess it's just a matter of preference. A lot of software won't run on Windows 7 and keeping it secure is a nuisance given that it's EOL, so running Windows 10 is just easier. I'm running Server 2019 Essentials on my file server, but because that doesn't support consumer OS backup software, I may switch that to Windows 7 or Windows 10. Maybe Linux. I'm also thinking Linux for my video server. No clue what to run on the next machine. I just discovered that I've got an Acronis disk cloning program license I didn't know that I had. So I have four licenses, and one or maybe two machines for it. I may sell the unopened copy.
[Image: signature%20The-Ascension-of-Iweko.jpg]
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#7

Windows 10 is still FREE to upgrade
(01-12-2020, 09:03 PM)Dānu Wrote: There are things to like about Windows 10 and things to like about Windows 7.  Windows 7 seemed more stable and efficient.  I guess it's just a matter of preference.  A lot of software won't run on Windows 7 and keeping it secure is a nuisance given that it's EOL, so running Windows 10 is just easier.  I'm running Server 2019 Essentials on my file server, but because that doesn't support consumer OS backup software, I may switch that to Windows 7 or Windows 10.  Maybe Linux.  I'm also thinking Linux for my video server.  No clue what to run on the next machine.  I just discovered that I've got an Acronis disk cloning program license I didn't know that I had.  So I have four licenses, and one or maybe two machines for it.  I may sell the unopened copy.

Apart from my Imac, I have a laptop with  Windows 10. Sadly, its processor is far too slow for the job.  So I  installed  Linux  Mint as part of a dual boot system.   Using Linux halved the response time.  Today there are a large number of free Linux apps  available. I use Linux as my sole OS on the laptop.
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