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article imageMicrosoft warns Windows 10 free upgrades are ending soon

By James Walker     May 5, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has announced it is to end the Windows 10 free upgrade offer in the near future, preventing current Windows users from installing the new OS for free. Purchasing a license will cost $119 as Windows 10 approaches its first anniversary.
Microsoft launched Windows 10 at the end of July last year. Millions of devices were quickly upgraded to the new OS, helped by Microsoft's free upgrade offer. In a push to get Windows 10 running on as many laptops, tablets and PCs as possible, Microsoft announced it would be available for free to current Windows 7 and 8.1 users during the year after launch.
That time is drawing to a close. In a blog post today, Microsoft confirmed the free upgrade offer will end on July 29. After that date, Windows 7 and 8.1 users will have to pay to get Windows 10. People who haven't yet upgraded but intend to do so soon should press the button in the next two months.
Windows 10 licenses aren't cheap, starting at $119 for the standard Windows 10 Home edition and rising to $199 for Windows 10 Pro. The pricing is likely to slow the pace of Windows 10 upgrades. The majority of new installations will gradually shift towards new devices and desktop PCs.
Microsoft said the free upgrade offer has been a success. It has driven more people to upgrade to a new version of Windows than ever before, including home users, schools, small businesses and organisations. In total, 300 million devices are now actively running Windows 10 every month.
Since launch, Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, has answered six billion questions. Gamers have played for nine billion hours with the new Xbox app. Other built-in apps, including Photos, Groove Music and Movies & TV, each see millions of active users every month. Microsoft said 144 million people use Photos alone, almost half the total install base of Windows 10.
"We're pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year," said Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group. "Core to delivering our more personal computing vision, Windows 10 offers experiences that are familiar, safer and more secure, and more personal and productive - enabling innovative new experiences. We're seeing people at home, at schools, at small businesses, at large companies, and other organizations adopt Windows 10 faster than ever, and use Windows 10 more than ever before."
Some analysts had expected Microsoft to keep the free upgrade offer active beyond a year to continue driving momentum for Windows 10 installs. Despite the blog post seemingly confirming Microsoft will go ahead with the original plan, the company has already partially backtracked on the statement, suggesting it could still expand the offer further.
When asked by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley whether free upgrades could be extended, company officials gave an abstract answer. Microsoft said "The free upgrade promotion is currently slated to end on July 29," an open response that goes against the blog post. The phrasing of "currently slated" implies Microsoft could keep the program running for longer than advertised.
Going with the official stance, the free upgrade offer will end around the same time as the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is expected to land. The update will introduce a multitude of new features and interface improvements to the operating system. It will be available for free to all existing users.
More about Microsoft, Windows, windows 10, Upgrade, Operating system
 
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