While most of you probably already know that Microsoft ended the original free upgrade offer way back in July, 2016. What many of you may not have known is that ever since then there was still a way to get Windows 10 for free through the accessibility programs. However, now Microsoft has quietly announced that the even this free upgrade path will end on December 31 of this year.
This upgrade has been available for anyone who use any of the Microsoft assistive technologies to use their computers. Of course, many people figured out that you could upgrade even if you don’t use the technologies on a regular basis.
A Microsoft spokesperson addressed this issue when the upgrade was first announced. “We are not restricting the free upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies. If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer. That said, it is not intended to be a workaround for people who don’t use assistive technology and who missed the deadline for the free offer.”
Now, Microsoft has quietly announced an end to this upgrade path in their Upgrade to Windows 10 FAQ, where it reads “The accessibility upgrade offer expires on December 31, 2017.”
It was first announced on Twitter from the @MSFTEnable account back in October:
If you’re using assistive technologies and want to update to Windows 10, free upgrade available until Dec. 31, 2017. https://t.co/muL1wssDu9
— MSFT Accessibility (@MSFTEnable) October 17, 2017
Even the official Upgrade site for accessibility has now been updated, encouraging users to take advantage of the upgrade before it ends when the year comes to a close.
The impact of this change isn’t likely to change things very much for Microsoft. In most cases, users that wanted the upgrade have already taken advantage of the free upgrade last year. While some have taken advantage of this loophole, most that are still running Windows 7 and 8 probably won’t take advantage of this upgrade. Most users and small business owners that didn’t upgrade had specific reasons for not doing it, and this loophole in free upgrades isn’t like to change their minds.
Larger companies have more than likely already planned their upgrade paths, with some already doing it while others are holding off for very specific reasons. These companies won’t alter their budgets or plans for something as small a free upgrade path for accessibility features.
For those of you that haven’t upgraded, there is still time if you take advantage of this accessibility upgrade. Still, if you don’t do it, moving forward you will have to buy Windows 10 if you want to upgrade your existing installation. Otherwise, you will probably get it when you purchase new hardware. Most new laptops today will ship with it right out the box, although you can still find some that are powered by Windows 7.
Did you take advantage of the free upgrade or were you holding off before you did it? Do you plan on taking advantage of this loophole before it ends or are you going to stick with Windows 7, at least until they stop supporting it in 2020? Let me know if you plan on switching or if you already did in the comments below.
About the author
Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.