Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade programme has long expired. The company is also going to end support for Windows 7 in January next year. Microsoft is expecting more and new users to embrace Windows 10, some users have discovered a workaround to get the upgrade for absolutely free.
Windowslatest.com reveals how this workaround works: Users with an activated Windows 8, 8.1 or 7 running PC need to download and run the Media Creation Tool. Then, enter the product key. From here, you will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 without paying any money.
A reddit post by a user who claims to be a former Microsoft employee claims that the limited period free upgrade programme was “fully marketing stuff.”
“After the cut off happened, the direction given was that it requires a paid license HOWEVER, this was brought up by the brick and mortar stores that they were doing simple clock changes on customer devices during the upgrade challenge to get around it and then ultimately it was clear two years later that anything Windows 7 and up would go to 10 fully activated and still to this day,” he wrote in the post.
“WDG didn’t care pretty much at all because Terry Meyerson at the time cared more about his upgrade stats than license revenue as Windows isn’t Microsoft’s cash cow anymore. It’s the same stance back in the day where Microsoft would allow Windows Updates on pirated copies of Windows 7 as the bigger picture was to thwart security threats based from those copies,” he added.
The user also warned IT admins of exploiting this workaround for large-scale free upgrades.
“You still can do this no problem, however careful, do an upgrade keeping everything as if you choose to yeet everything and start fresh, you lose your free upgrade. That old 7 license converts to a 10 digital license and from there you can clean install no problem. As for audits, this mainly is for volume licensing than anything. An SMB with 10-200 Windows 7 machines that were OEM licensed don’t really matter. If you try this with 1,000 computers, iffy,” he wrote.
Microsoft introduced Windows 10 roughly five years ago. Since then, the company has stuck to Windows 10-branding and rolled out two major updates each year. The company introduced a limited-period free upgrade programme for older Windows users to upgrade to Windows 10. The company had predicted Windows 10 will run on a billion devices by 2018 – a target Microsoft admitted it would miss. Windows 10 as of March 2019 was running on 800 million active devices.