At the company’s Windows 10 preview event, Microsoft revealed that a Windows 10 free upgrade will be offered to existing Windows users.
When Windows 10 was announced back in late 2014, consumers and critics watched carefully to figure out how Microsoft planned to make amends for Windows 8. Windows 8 removed the Start bar and introduced the tiled Metro lay out which made navigating on a desktop computer or non-touchscreen laptop nigh on impossible. The bizarre design decisions were so polarising that many Windows users jumped ship to Apple’s iMacs and Macbooks or stayed on Windows 7 just to steer clear of Windows 8 altogether.
So the fact that Windows 10 would reverse these things – bringing back the Start bar and allowing users to decide what sort of navigational menu they use – was heralded as a fantastic decision on Microsoft’s part. The problem with this is that while everyone talked up Windows 10’s new features, there were still millions of people stuck on Windows 8, unable to access its successor without having to pay for it.
But Microsoft will remedy that, having now announced plans to offer a Windows 10 free upgrade.
Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, announced the plan on stage at the Windows 10 preview event. Myerson explained that for the first year following Windows 10’s launch, those using Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade to their latest operating system for free. Other than hardware requirements (which will tell you if your device can run the operating system or not) that have yet to be announced, there don’t appear to be any strings attached.
Myerson also said that the policy is part of their new ‘Windows as a service’ stance. As a result, devices (including those that upgraded to Windows 10 for free) will be consistently updated during the “supported lifetime for the device.”
While this is obviously an attempt to bump up Windows 10’s numbers early on, and avoid the abysmal adoption rate that Windows 8 suffered from, it would be unwise to turn our noses up at it. Not only does it get us a free operating system, but as this allows developers to “target every single Windows device” we could very well have more games and apps to play with too.
Windows 10 will launch later this year. We’ll keep you posted once we know more.
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