Microsoft´s free upgrade confusion
Microsoft previously had created some confusion about a supposed giveaway for testers of the Windows 10 Insider Preview. In June rumors appeared that Microsoft was considering giving Windows 10 away for pirated copies after this blog post from Terry Myerson.
“While our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to Non-Genuine Windows devices, and as we've always done, we will continue to offer Windows 10 to customers running devices in a Non-Genuine state.”
Some days later Gabe Aul added to those rumors with another article which was corrected afterwards.
Original Text: “We've reached a point where it doesn't seem like Microsoft actually wants customers to pay full-price for Windows 10. If you're using a PC with Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or RT, Windows 10 is free. If you're sporting a device operating on a pirated, or non-genuine, version of Windows, Microsoft is planning a “very attractive” upgrade offer. Unfortunately, those stuck with other legacy versions of Windows, such as Vista or XP, would have to pay a minimum of $199 to make the jump to 10. The same pricing applies to owners of custom hardware with no operating system, or Linux, installed.”
Those statements were removed and you can read the corrected blog post here.
I´m confused now – So how do I get Windows 10 now for free?
With the release of Windows 10 RTM as the last Windows 10 Insider Preview version Microsoft has factually decided to upgrade everybody on the Insider Program to the final and full version of Windows 10.
When you apply the automatic upgrade from the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build to Windows 10 RTM Build 10240 and check with the winver-command, you can see the changes.
The watermark on the desktop will also be removed and you are a happy user of a valid and free copy of the final version of Windows 10
Is this a licenced copy of Windows 10? What about activation and the product key?
You can check your current license status of Windows 10 by running the command slmgr.vbs /dlv .
Then you will asee something similar to this window.
What this means is that by upgrading from the Windows 10 Insider Preview to Windows 10 RTM Build 10240 via automatic updates you get dedicated a retail license.
And your copy of Windows 10 is also activated. You can check this by typing See if Windows is activated in the search field.
This will open the Windows 10 Activation menu in Update & Security of your Windows 10 Settings. If nothing has changed since the writing of this article you will see that you actually got a fully activated version of Windows 10.
How do I get my free copy of Windows 10 without having installed the Windows 10 Insider Preview?
That´s quite easy. Just install the Windows 10 Insider Preview using one of the many leaked ISO-Builds. Just take care to use one of the later builds as earlier ones might not work with the automatic upgrade.
Is my copy of Windows 10 RTM legal?
Let´s say this is a bit unclear. As Microsoft is giving you the final version of Windows 10 as an automatic upgrade, you should not worry until further notice. Is seems that although Microsoft does not want to admit it publicly, they actually decided to give the final version of Windows 10 as a gift to their beta-testers.
We don´t expect them to deactivate the Windows 10 RTM version in the future. But if this happens, you will still have enough time to save your stuff and switch to another purchased version.