In fact, so serious is Microsoft in righting the Windows ship, the company will offer a free Windows 10 upgrade to all genuine-licensed Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 consumer devices. It’ll also cover Windows Phone 8.1 with an upgrade to the new Windows 10 Mobile.
However, the company seems to have struggled to word this offer well, leading to confusion and reports of ‘Windows-as-a-Service’ and the free upgrade becoming a subscription service after the first year.
Actually, with Microsoft’s plan to provide continual updates to Windows 10 – and the growing rumours it will be the last discrete version you buy – it’s likely at some point in the future, Windows could become a subscription service.
But for this free upgrade offer, the word from Microsoft is this – you’ll have a year to download it free-of-charge, but once installed, you’ll have a free license for that install, valid for the life of the device, again free-of-charge.
Here’s what else you should know, according to David Kelleher - Director of Communications, GFI Software, who came up with these 10 key points.
Windows 10 can now switch properly between desktop and tablet mode.
Is it free?
According to Microsoft, the Windows 10 Upgrade Offer is valid for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices, including devices you already own.
Some hardware/software requirements apply and feature availability may vary by device and market. The availability of Windows 10 upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 devices may vary by OEM, mobile operator or carrier.
Devices must be connected to the internet and have Windows Update enabled. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update required.
In other words, if you currently have a licensed copy of a retail version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (but not Enterprise) then you can reserve your free copy.
How long is free?
For the supported lifecylce of Windows 10. This is not a trial, or a one-year subscription, or anything like that. This is the full and fully supported product.
When will the upgrade be available?
You will be able to download your full version starting July 29. Make sure you have a good connection, as it will be roughly 3GB download.
Will the previews convert to the full version?
No. If you are currently running one of the CTP (Community Technology Preview) versions, it will not upgrade to the final release. You will have to download that and install it fresh, or to an eligible Windows 7 or 8.1 system.
How do I reserve my upgrade?
If you are running the most recent version of Windows, you should have started receiving notices from Microsoft to reserve your version of Windows 10.
How do I control upgrades at work?
For starters, if your users are running on domain joined machines, they won’t get the free upgrade.
Presumably, they are running the Enterprise version of Windows, so that version is not eligible for the free upgrade, but more importantly, if you are running a network, you want to control the updates for your organisation yourself.
Can I download an ISO?
No, at least, not officially. There are various tweets from Microsoft employees that say you can, but that is not on the official website.
What is on the official website is that you can create a USB or DVD media to do a fresh install after you upgrade your eligible device to Windows 10. The distinction won’t matter to most.
Where do I get my license key?
That is one of the more important things to know. You will use your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license, so you do not need a new key. However, you do need to have your current key. So, start digging for it.
Can I downgrade?
Yes that’s an option.
What about the apps?
So, there are some apps in 7 or 8.1 that won’t be there in 10. Here’s the short list. Windows Media Center is gone. If you use that for DVDs, don’t worry.
Windows 10 comes with a DVD player, but if you’re addicted to Windows Media Center you should start saying your goodbyes now. By the way, have you ever seen VLC?
Vendor apps may not be compatible with Window 10, so you should consult the individual app sites to check for compatible versions, and expect Windows software to be updated to the latest version.
Desktop gadgets from Windows 7 are no more.
To find out more or to get a quote to install Microsoft 10 on your computer, contact your Qbit account manager on (08) 6364 0600.