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Microsoft clarifies who gets a free version of Windows 10 [hint: it’s probably not you]

Microsoft is forced to clarify exactly who gets an upgrade and how to get it after confusion and frustration swarms the release of Windows 10.



Windows 10 rolls out, but isn’t actually free for most…

Initially it looked as though everyone who tested Windows 10 would get a free copy, but this is not necessarily the case, unfortunately. There was so much confusion surrounding this issue that Microsoft was forced to update their blog in an effort to clarify the situation. Apparently, even Microsoft itself seems a bit confused about how this program is supposed to work.

Initially, it was widely reported that Microsoft planned to give away free Windows 10 licenses to anyone trying out the Preview, but this is not true.

So how can you actually get the update?

In order to receive the upgrade you needed to have an authentic version of Windows 7 or 8 installed. If you didn’t have either of these installed, you can still get a copy of Windows 10, in theory, but it is a bit tricky. When you install Preview, you must remain “opted-in” to future preview updates all the way through the final version and beyond.

If you install a Windows 10 preview copy right now, and then opt-out of pre-release updates, you will no longer be genuine. Microsoft will then prompt you to “roll back” to a previous OS version, or get a new Windows 10 license. This is not exactly the convenience people were promised.

No roll out is perfect, but come on

Every roll out has bugs, but this seems to have gone above and beyond the confusion threshold for an OS release. Microsoft says, “if you do not roll back or acquire a new license the build will eventually expire.” In essence: you’ll be left with an outdated OS, or no OS at all. In the blog post, Microsoft makes it abundantly clear that installing the Preview and upgrading to get the final beta releases (and then opting out) is not a path to getting a license.

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So what does this boil down to? You have to opt-in to future pre-release updates to get Windows 10 for free, but keep in mind, you will also have to endure the bugs, updates, and issues that comes with it. Microsoft says, “Windows 10 is intended to be installed on Genuine Windows devices;” but, if you don’t have a Windows 7 or 8.1 license, you can still get a copy, provided you remain opted-in and endure the entire process. At least that’s the story at this point.


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.



  1. Pingback: How to get your Windows 10 upgrade notification (while it's still free) - AGBeat

  2. Dan

    June 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    So, free upgrades for those who purchased the last two major versions.

    And, free upgrades to anyone who is testing, and commits to continued testing.

    Where's the problem?

  3. John

    June 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Sounds like a non-issue being blown up to try to create news.

    The preview editions are for testing. Opting in is how you participate in the preview program. If you remain in the program, you are eventually rewarded with the RTM version showing up on your computer. If you opt out, you might as well uninstall since you are not participating anymore.

    Otherwise, you are a genuine Windows 7 or 8 user who can upgrade for free after July 29th.

    Seems clear and fair to me.

  4. kftgr

    June 24, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Sounds fair. Microsoft gets to keep their preview pool sizable, and preview members get a free license as long as they continue.

  5. mike

    June 24, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    1) so Microsoft is not rewarding people who got a pirated copy of windows with a free copy of windows 10…is that a crime?

    2) your title basically claims that the majority of people don't have a genuine copy of windows, which can't be true. You should really try to be less click baity

  6. Pingback: Here's an even easier way to determine your Windows 10 eligibility - AGBeat

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