The Windows 10 free upgrade deadline ended on July 29, 2016. However, that’s not 100% true. In fact, Microsoft is still letting you upgrade, if you know the secret workaround. If you missed the deadline for any reason, don’t worry. You still have a little time left to upgrade.
The Original Deadline
Many people decided not to take Microsoft up on a free Windows 10 upgrade. To give everyone time to decide if the operating system was right for them, Microsoft gave users a full year to upgrade. If you didn’t upgrade by the Windows 10 free upgrade deadline, you’d have to pay $119 to upgrade later on.
But, what if you purchased a used computer just after the deadline? The computer might have been eligible, but your timing was horrible. Originally, you were just out of luck and had to stick with Windows 7 or 8 or invest another $119 in a used computer.
Upgrading for Free
Despite how it might sound, Microsoft didn’t actually cut off free upgrades to Windows 10. The annoying notification window disappeared and you won’t find it listed in your regular Windows updates.
There’s a slight trick to getting the upgrade. It’s completely legal, but you’ll have to take advantage of a tiny loophole Microsoft left in the upgrade terms.
Anyone that uses assistive technologies is still eligible to upgrade for free. However, Microsoft isn’t checking computers to ensure they’re using assistive technologies.
Why Extend the Deadline?
Obviously, Microsoft didn’t exactly push the upgrade after the original deadline. The company did add a section to their website explaining the terms. Also, assistive technology manufacturers/providers were responsible for letting customers know about the Windows 10 free upgrade opportunity.
Microsoft chose to extend the deadline because they were working on numerous updates to improve accessibility. There are few areas within Windows 10 that aren’t focused on better accessibility. Even Cortana and Edge provide features to make it easier for anyone with a disability to use their computer.
The problem is, most of the accessibility updates came after the July 29th deadline. This means users may have opted out of upgrading because the operating system didn’t meet their needs. Plus, their assistive technology tools may not have been compatible at the time.
It wasn’t until the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2, 2016, that Microsoft showed they were serious about accessibility. Yet, that update came just a few days late. For users who waited, they weren’t able to take advantage of the newest features that could help improve their experience.
No Assistive Technologies Necessary
Yes, the extended Windows 10 free upgrade deadline states that it’s for users who use assistive technologies. However, it’s not a requirement. You don’t have to use any special hardware or software in order to still upgrade for free.
In fact, some experts have speculated that Microsoft left this backdoor open on purpose to allow more people to upgrade. No matter the reason, Microsoft doesn’t run any type of check on your computer before starting the upgrade.
All you need is a valid copy of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. As long as that part checks out, you’re free to upgrade.
Should You Upgrade?
Right now, Microsoft is saying that Windows 10 is their final operating system. They’ll release major updates, such as the Anniversary Update and the newest Fall Creator’s Update, but they don’t plan to release entirely new operating systems. In this area, Microsoft is becoming more like Apple.
Eventually, you’ll have to start using Windows 10. As the company ends support for older operating systems, it becomes too dangerous to use them for any Internet activity. Plus, when you buy a new computer, it’ll come pre-installed with Windows 10.
Since you’ll be using it sooner rather than later, take advantage of the free upgrade. While Windows 10 isn’t perfect, it’s still the most secure version of Windows yet.
Tips Before You Upgrade
Before you immediately try to download the upgrade, you should do a few things first, such as:
- Back up all your data. Upgrading to Windows 10 shouldn’t delete your files, but there were some instances of upgrades not going as smoothly as expected.
- Make a note about any custom settings. Windows 10 may reset some of your settings to what Microsoft believes are optimal settings.
- List all your programs. Some users noticed that Windows 10 uninstalled some incompatible programs. Please note that by now, most programs have updates to ensure they’re compatible. You may just need to upgrade them after upgrading to Windows 10.
Taking the time to prepare means you’ll avoid the most common Windows 10 upgrade issues.
Related Read: The Windows 10 Update Changed My Settings, Now What?
Windows 10 Free Upgrade Deadline
You only have until December 31, 2017 to upgrade. Don’t expect Microsoft to offer another extension. While it’s a nice surprise this time, Microsoft won’t offer Windows 10 for free forever.
Upgrading to Windows 10
If you’re ready to make the jump to Windows 10, but missed your chance the first time, get your upgrade now.
All you have to do is visit Microsoft’s Assistive Technologies Upgrade site. Click Upgrade Now. Double-click the downloaded file to start the upgrade. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process.
Please note that your computer will restart throughout the process. This is completely normal and you shouldn’t try to stop it. Overall, the upgrade requires very little from you. All you’ll do is input a few personal settings. For best results, go through all the settings versus going with the default installation.
Once you’re finished, ensure all your files are still on your computer. Next, check all your programs. You may need to re-install a few. Finally, ensure all your hardware is working correctly. Windows 10 has a nasty habit of messing around with drivers. Luckily, it’s an easy issue to fix.
Remember, you don’t have much time left. If you regretted not upgrading in 2016, you have a second chance. Think of it as Microsoft’s holiday gift to you for 2017.
Related Read: Windows 10 Update Stuck? Here’s How to Fix It
Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.