Microsoft: Final Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer Ends Dec. 31 | News & Opinion

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Those using Windows’ assistive technologies have until the end of the year to score a free upgrade to Windows 10.


Windows 10 Upgrade

If you’re looking to score a free upgrade to Windows 10, your options are currently few—and about to run out completely. For most, Microsoft’s free upgrade program expired in July of last year. If you snoozed, you earned the unpleasant task of paying at least $120 for the most basic version of Microsoft’s latest operating system.

However, Microsoft did offer one loophole for those still looking to acquire Windows 10 for nothing. Those who made use any of Microsoft’s assistive technologies in Windows 7 or 8.1 remained eligible to download a free Windows 10 upgrade throughout 2017.

“With more than a billion people with disabilities in the world, we are excited for customers to experience the new accessibility features in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. These include improving the screen reading experience with Narrator, the accessibility of experiences and apps like Microsoft Edge, Mail and the Start menu, as well as better tools and resources for developers to build more accessible apps and experiences,” wrote Microsoft employee Daniel Hubbell on the company’s Accessibility Blog last year.

As a number of eager downloaders figured out, Microsoft made no effort to verify that those downloading the free upgrade actually needed assistive technologies or not. To Microsoft, this probably wasn’t that big of a deal, given that it had previously offered Windows 10 for free for a full year—few likely “abused” the system to get a free upgrade. (And if you haven’t upgraded by now, more than two years since the official debut of Windows 10, you probably aren’t going to scramble to take advantage of the assistive technologies upgrade in its final months.)

Microsoft recently updated its Windows 10 upgrade page for assistive technology users to reemphasize that its free upgrade offer will be expiring shortly. And while Microsoft doesn’t say it, the loss of this free upgrade offer is a bit of a milestone: the final, official way users can upgrade to Windows 10 without paying.

That’s not to say that Windows users don’t have a few clever ways to upgrade, however. According to Ars Technica, it’s possible that users may continue to install Windows 10 as an upgrade with an unused Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key. Microsoft could easily change that around and require users to have an actual Windows 10 key for the upgrade to work, but it’s also likely that any ol’ Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 product key will continue to allow legitimate Windows 10 upgrades once 2018 hits.

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