The Windows 10 event was huge and not just because it listed a lot of new changes that are to be implemented in the next Windows 10 build or because of Cortana but also because of the HoloLens announcement and the news that Windows 10 will be free for everyone running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. I’m still very excited about the HoloLens preview and the mind blowing Minecraft integration shown but apart from that this news of the free upgrade is a major point of interest for me, and possibly for many other people. Here’s a look at what the announcement means for both consumers and for Windows as a product.
The Free Upgrade
Windows 10 is going to be free for one year after it has been released to anyone running any version of Windows 7 and up. You will be allowed to upgrade easily. Windows Vista users have been left out of the free offering. This upgrade will be permanent meaning you cannot downgrade to Windows 7 again with your old license. The upgrade will be free for the first year of the Windows 10 launch and any upgrades made after the year expires will cost you.
Why You Should Care
Many new laptop models are built entirely for Windows 8 at present with very few still coming with Windows 7 pre-installed. This announcement means you’re entitled to a free OS upgrade and if your current Windows 7 license is OEM restricted, you can still get in on the action without shelling out money for Windows 8/8.1 or buying a new device.
If you were considering buying a new system the same time you upgrade to a newer OS, you might want to rethink the decision to do so, especially if your current one is working well and a new OS was all that was motivating you to get a new laptop. For me personally, this announcement has made me reconsider buying a not only a new laptop, but also persuaded me not to shell out a ridiculous amount of cash on a MacBook which I was considering because I didn’t want to wait until Windows 10 came out. The announcement has persuaded me to wait.
This upgrade is going to be permanent. It is likely Windows 7 will cease to be available for purchase and your current license may be all that remains of an authentic Windows 7 license. Since the upgrade is going to be permanent, it’s a big decision to make and you might want to do a Windows 10 test run before you make the plunge. You do have a whole year to decide what you want to do but once you upgrade, there is going to be no way back.
What This Means For Windows
A while back, Apple used to charge for OS upgrades. I remember Mountain Lion cost something around $20 but the last two upgrades have been free. Windows 8 had a price tag on it and where it had its set of problems that contributed to users abstaining from an upgrade, the price might also have dissuaded some from buying an OS that was only half-cooked.
Microsoft is realizing that it needs people to upgrade and that it is more about market share than profits at the moment. It is a very conscious effort by the company to get people to move to the newer version. Windows 7 is going to be pushed out and slowly made obsolete and this free upgrade will play a huge role. It lets users keep their currentPCs, and get the new OS with very little effort. The question is, will we soon see a decline in Window 7 market share as people upgrade to the much improved Windows 10? I personally think it’s very possible because Windows 10 has fixed just about everything wrong with Windows 8/8.1 and Free is a price that’s hard to beat. The new OS has plenty to offer anyone running Windows 7 which is now looking very dated.