You Can Still Get A Free Windows 10 Upgrade If You Follow These Simple Steps

When Microsoft released Windows 10 to the general public at the end of July in 2015, it generously offered free upgrades to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users for a full year. Sure, it was in Microsoft's best interest to get as many people as possible to run Windows 10, and at times the company was more than a little bit obnoxious about it, but those who took advantage of the offer benefited from improved security, DirectX 12 support, and many other features. That offer expired around five months ago, but there are still ways to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost.

Windows 10

For people with accessibility needs who use assistive technologies, Microsoft extended its free Windows 10 upgrade offer without any hoops to jump through. This is something we wrote about right after the yearlong upgrade offer expired at the end of July, and at the time Microsoft had not announced an end date to its extension for customers using its assistive technologies. As of this writing, it still works.

As we pointed out before, the free upgrade extension works on the honor system. Microsoft is not taking any steps to verify that people who upgrade for free qualify for the extension, nor is it limiting the upgrade offer to any specific assistive technologies. So yes, to address the elephant in the room, a person without any accessibility needs could use this extension to upgrade at no cost. We're not advocating that approach. At the same time, we're not sure Microsoft is too concerned about it, considering how aggressive it has been in convincing people to upgrade. Still, you'll have to consult your own moral compass on this one.

Windows 10 Upgrade

For those who do use assistive technologies, Microsoft said it has taken a number of steps to improve them since rolling out the Anniversary Update. If you decide to make the jump, go here and click the Upgrade Now button. This will prompt a small download (around 5.5 megabytes) that will lead to a bigger download of over 3 gigabytes.

Another way to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost is to use a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 key. This functionality was enabled in an update that Microsoft rolled out in November of last year to make things easier on users. While the free upgrade offer expired five months ago, there are plenty of claims on the web of this method still working. At some point Microsoft may flip the switch on this activation method, but for now it apparently still works.

While it appears that Microsoft is being careless about its upgrade program, that probably is not the case. Windows 10 is the last monolithic desktop OS the company has planned for consumers and it wants to get as many people as possible to adopt its latest platform, which it will continue to build upon. By owning ecosystem, Microsoft can cash in on apps and programs that tie into it.