More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Windows 10 Free Upgrade 'Still Available'
by John Lister,
Dec 31, 2020

A free Microsoft offer to upgrade to Windows 10 was supposed to expire in 2016. However, it appears the upgrade still works, with claims the deadline was simply a marketing ploy.

With Windows 10 released in the middle of 2015, the free upgrade offer was advertised as running for a year. It was available for Windows 7 and 8.1 users, with most getting an upgrade to the Windows 10 Home edition. Those running Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 8.1 Pro could upgrade to the Windows 10 Pro edition.

As most people either upgraded in the first year or decided to give Windows 10 a miss, the deadline passed without too much attention. Now and again people would try the offer out and discover it still worked, though it's perhaps surprising the most recent attempts have found it's still working more than four years later. (Source:

Legit Licence Needed
The free upgrade offer only works for users who are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and have a genuine licence to do so (including the relevant product key). Those users can get the Windows 10 Upgrade from Microsoft, though they have to take care what options they select.

To get the free upgrade, users will need to select the option to keep existing files and information, then activate Windows 10 after installation using the "Activation" option in Windows Update. Note that the free offer doesn't work with the option for a fresh install of Windows. However, it's definitely a smart idea to back up important files before upgrading just in case anything goes wrong.

Windows 10 Deadline Was "Fluff"
Microsoft has given little if any public acknowledgement that the free upgrade still works. Earlier this year somebody claiming to work at Microsoft posted online that the one-year deadline was "fully marketing fluff" to deter people from putting off upgrades. (Source:

The mystery poster claimed the policy was largely driven by how Microsoft measured its success internally. According to the poster, Microsoft bosses were more interested in stats on the number of upgrades than figures on revenue from Windows sales.
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