Is Windows 10 really free?

| Technology

Is Windows 10 really free?

Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 back in January and they had said the new version and further updates would be free.

However, the fine print on that deal isn’t very clear, after having Microsoft executives twice making public promises only to backtrack quickly afterwards.

First, it wasn’t clear if pirated copies of Windows would also get the free upgrade, after Microsoft’s Gabe Aul said in a blog post that anyone with a Microsoft account who has downloaded a preview build of Windows 10 would get a full, activated copy of Windows 10.

But the post was amended and words were removed leading to a lot of confusion about whether or not Microsoft was going back on their promise that Windows 10 would be free for any user that had installed the preview software.

Since the preview software runs on Windows XP and Vista machines, many who used XP and Vista believed they would be upgraded to Windows 10. However, all the backtracking made it appear like Microsoft might be cutting off hope that those users would get Windows 10 for free.

So who gets Windows 10 for free?

What was confusing was whether or not users who installed the preview software would only continue to run the preview software or actually get a genuine copy and a complete license of Windows 10. However, it looks like XP and Vista users who thought testing Windows 10 would give them a free copy were wrong.

Anyone on the Windows Insider program can however stay on it indefinitely. These users will continue to get preview builds as Microsoft update Windows, effectively getting what is described as "for all intents and purposes the same build as what other customers will get" on July 29, the official launch date for Windows 10.

However, if you want the real Windows 10, without the bugs that occur on the preview software, then you will have to buy a Windows license.

The only people who truly get Windows 10 for free are users that have Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. All of those users are entitled to a free copy of Windows 10.

Anyone else will have to pay for Windows 10, with prices starting at $119. 

Luke Stanley