When Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in late January, we learned that the operating system would be a free upgrade for customers currently running Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. Considering how much of a leap that Windows 10 is over Windows 8.1 — and especially Windows 7 — this move represents an excellent opportunity for the millions of customers that rely on the Windows ecosystem.
We already knew that Microsoft plans to offer the free upgrades for the first year of availability; what we didn’t know until this point is what happens after the first year. Thankfully, a new blog post Microsoft's Australia Partner Network has confirmed that Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will be available for a period lasting one year after the operating system’s retail release. After that point, all Windows 7 and Windows 8.x users will have to purchase a retail boxed copy of Windows 10 Home/Pro. There’s no mention of a digital download being made available, but we so no reason why Microsoft would not provide this option at some point.
Microsoft Australia Windows product manager Alex Nelson then went on to explain in the blog post how upgrades will be handled for current customers running Windows 7 and Windows 8.x:
- Microsoft will offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices in the first year. After the first year, upgrades will be paid via boxed product and VL Upgrades.
- Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium devices upgrade to Windows 10 Home
- Windows 8/8.1 Pro and Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate devices upgrade to Windows 10 Pro
- If upgraded within the first 12 months following launch, the device will receive ongoing Windows 10 updates for free for the life of that device
- Excludes Windows Enterprise and RT devices
- The free Windows 10 upgrade is delivered through Windows Update; domain-joined machines can manually get the update via Windows Update. The upgrade cannot be deployed through WSUS.
The paid option will of course be available from day one for customers currently running Windows Vista or, heaven forbid, Windows XP.
Windows 10 will bring with it a wealth of new features including Universal Apps, the exciting new Microsoft Edge web browser, Cortana integration, and the ability for developers to port iOS and Android apps over to Windows 10 Mobile.