Windows 10 – The Free Upgrade Lowdown

Windows 10 logo

We are now at T-0 as Microsoft plans to update millions of computers today (29th July 2015). We thought it would be good for our resident Windows MVP experts to share some of the essential information that IT Pros may need when considering the upgrade.

Here’s a quick overview from IT Masterclasses trainer, and Windows MVP Chris Rhodes.

Chris Rhodes, MVPWhat’s So Special Today? Today is in effect the consumer launch. Users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will by now have received a notification icon in their tray asking them if they wish to ‘reserve’ their copy of Windows 10 ahead of time. Those opted-in PCs will by now have the bits downloaded ready to rock and roll today as it officially goes live.

Builds and Updates
Windows Insiders already have been running the RTM (release to manufacture – although Microsoft are not really calling it that per se) build of 10240 for a couple of weeks now and it has looked to be pretty solid. From now on, (and including some day zero updates) all updates to those computers will be handled automatically. This is what Microsoft are calling ‘Windows as a Service’ or ‘WaaS’. It basically means that Windows can now continuously evolve as new features and updates are delivered in a much more timely way to user’s PCs than ever before.

Who Gets It?
People who have opted-in by consenting via the package that was sent out some weeks before over Microsoft update. This includes Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update computers only, with some exceptions (see below). Look for the app notification icon here.


Who Doesn’t Get It?
Quite a lot of people actually –at least to start with on July 29th. Here’s a brief list of computers that will not get the upgrade on that date (incomplete):

  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7 (no service pack)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1 (not Windows 8.1 Update)
  • Windows RT
  • Domain joined computers
  • Windows Enterprise edition computers
  • MDM managed computers

How Much Is It?
For the qualifying computers above, nothing. Ever. (Well, as far as we can see into the future). But only for 1 year from today. After that point computers that are eligible but did not upgrade before that deadline will be offered the choice to purchase it –pricing is $119.99 for Windows 10 Home and $199.99 for Windows 10 Pro from the store online and other retailers.

What’s The Catch?
None really, except that you are now locked into an evolutionary cycle of updates from here on in. Is that such a bad thing? You PC will now effectively always be up to date with the latest and greatest. Note: be aware that there are lots changes (obviously) and one gotcha is that Windows Media Center is not included and on launch day there is no DVD playback natively, though that will come in an update in September.

I Want To Reinstall My PC – Can I?
Yes. As part of the upgrade your product key is saved to your Microsoft account, so this will allow for a reinstall – for instance after hard drive failure. ISOs are also to be available for download, although initially the plan is to perform in-place upgrades – which is what the ‘offer’ of a free upgrade really means.

Eeek! I Don’t Want My Eligible Computers To Receive It – What Do I Do – Quick!
Of course, the best way to get ready is to get skilled up and attend our Windows 10 Masterclass!

However, if you can’t wait, there a couple of ways to suppress the upgrade if you are not ready for it. You can hide the upgrade notification app, or prevent it via Group Policy (you will need some new GPO settings first). See the article at the bottom of this page for more information.

For more information, check out:
The Windows 10 FAQ and How to manage Windows 10 notification and upgrade options