Windows 10 Upgrade May Be Cheap, Or Free

John Lister's picture

Unconfirmed rumors suggest Windows 10 may be free of charge for people already on Windows 8.1. An announcement may be coming later this month to clarify the pricing structure. Meanwhile, Microsoft has confirmed that only people on Windows 7 or later will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 directly, while those users running Windows XP or Vista will need to carry out a fresh install.

The pricing rumors stem from a report by the Softpedia website. It's generally considered credible, but is only citing its source on the pricing structure as "some people close to the matter." According to the unnamed sources, Windows 8.1 users will get Windows 10 free of charge, Windows 7 users will pay a small fee, and Windows Vista and XP users will have to pay a "full" price rather than get the usual discount for upgrading.

Why Windows 10 Might Be Free, or Almost Free

While such a pricing model would be a complete rethink of Microsoft's usual pricing for a new edition of Windows, there have already been signs to suggest that such change might actually take place. For example, Microsoft recently announced it would no longer charge manufacturers to include Windows on phones and smaller tablet computers.

It's also possible Microsoft may conclude it's simply too soon to expect people to pay for a new version of Windows, particularly as it's likely many of the new features and tweaks with Windows 10 will be seen as a "correction" to some of the less popular features of Windows 8. (Source:

Some analysts have even talked about the idea of Microsoft switching to a subscription model for Windows, in which it drops the idea of completely new editions and instead offers more frequent updates to customers who pay a monthly or annual fee. However, there appear to be no signs of that happening any time soon.

Official word on the pricing may come as early as January 21, 2015. That's when Microsoft is holding a special event to not only unveil the latest test edition of Windows 10, but also talk more about how the system fits in to its overall software business strategy.

XP / Vista Users Need Fresh Install For Windows 10

One thing for certain is that anyone still running Windows XP or Vista will have to do a fresh install in order to upgrade to Windows 10. That means users will lose any existing files on their hard drive during the process, and will need to use a back-up tool to transfer documents onto secondary media temporarily while the installation takes place. (Source:

XP and Vista users will have to download and run an ISO file, which is a large file that replicates the contents of a CD or DVD. Windows 7 and 8.1 users will be able to use a special upgrade tool that not only downloads and installs Windows 10, but copies across files and some system settings.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think it makes sense for Microsoft to offer Windows 10 for free or with a steep discount? Would you be prepared to pay "normal" upgrade prices on a subscription-based model? If you run Windows XP or Vista, do you think you'll ever upgrade before replacing your current machine?

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Dennis Faas's picture

If these rumors are true, it sounds like Microsoft is finally getting the hint that their current pricing structure is in need of a major revamp. In fact, it sounds as if they're following exactly what Apple has already been doing for years.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a subscription model in the very near future. Almost everything online is subscription-based with 'micro' payments. Netflix is a great example. Gone are the days where software companies can sell software for a significant fee, and then hope users will pay the same next year or the year after for an upgrade. Microsoft's recent strategy for rolling out new versions of Windows certainly seems to coincide with that structure.

dnbyer_3659's picture

A free or reduced upgrade to windows 10 from my Windows 7 would be a welcome change. A subscription model might be problematic depending on the price. Probably not inexpensive, with Microsoft's reputation.

I have the Windows 10 Technical Preview (Running on a separate hard drive) on three computers and I am very well impressed with the performance. As soon as they make new drivers available it should be a "keeper".

D Byer

kas_0713's picture

I too have been a early adopter of 10 and have been very impressed with the speed and stability of the technical preview version. I'm very interested in seeing what changes are implemented in the consumer preview that should be arriving in the next week or so.
If the usability of it continues along the same vane as what I've seen so far, then I won't have any qualms about upgrading as my go to OS.
So far, so good.

gbruce40_3626's picture

We have gone from Windows 95(1995), 98(1998), XP(2001), Vista(Early 2007), 7(2009), 8(2012) to 8.1(2013). Windows 95, 98 & XP were stable and very good, Vista was an abomination, 7 was an improvement at most over XP, 8 was a rock bottom abomination and 8.1 was a failed attempt to make 8 seem acceptable.

Most Windows users appear to be losing patience with Microsoft and commercial users are distraught! Therefore I would say that a free or very cheap upgrade to 10 is in order lest we all migrate to Apple, Ubuntu, or other OS's.

If Microsoft try to charge their usual high prices for Windows 10, I think it will spell the death knell for Microsoft in the operating system business, and rightfully so.

blueboxer2's picture

I have never installed Windows 8 to my Windows 7 computer though I took advantage of a Microsoft special offer to get the legal CD and key at a strong incentive price. So now I'll have to install 8, get 8.1 installed, then install 10 to get it free? Hey, I'm in my mid-80s, not sure I have that much time left! ;-).
As for my three XP computers, they continue to putter along nicely, but once I fix the desktop (munged MBR) maybe I'll see what the older laptop looks like with Ubuntu or Linux Mint and make a all from there.
The weasel in this is that the things I do with a computer work within the minimum requirements for XP, the hardware requirements for Vista up are expensive overkill, so why should I buy, rent or even take free an expense I don't need?

guitardogg's picture

Microsoft should sell Windows 10 for $10 to all XP and Vista users who have the hardware to handle it. Same for Windows 7 users. Give it free to the poor schmucks on 8 and 8.1. In the long run, I think it would actually make Microsoft more profitable. Of course Apple only does it cause they charge so damn much for everything else!

Some IT Guy's picture

I have made comments before on here about the upgrade, and I feel most of the IT community just didn't take the time to learn the new OS, which is why so many had an issue with Windows 8/8.1. I have Windows 8.1 running on two laptops, a tablet, two HTPCs (one an old gaming rig, the other a completely new and cheap build,) and have only had incident with one pc, that being the cheap build with the refurb SSD.

I am happy with Windows 8.1, and have looked at the additional features of Windows 10 and am not impressed. The only way I would go and upgrade is if it was free, and I was relatively sure that the upgrade was going to be stable.

tmcd's picture

I never do an "upgrade" from one major version to another. I do a clean install as it's a good opportunity to start fresh. I also keep the old drive and install to a shiny new disk as well. It offers the ultimate in "going back" if things go wrong.

Perhaps if Microsoft adopted an annual license model and fee they would feel less need to constantly tinker with things that are working well. I wish they'd quit mucking with the UI and just keep refactoring to improve performance and eradicate small bugs.

I've used Microsoft products since the early DOS days. In my experience things got very reliable with XP but I did skip Vista and Win 8.0. Win 8.1 seems solid enough but other than trying it on one machine I can't see any reason to use it over Win 7. Even a modest machine with 64-bit Win 7 and plenty of RAM is hard to beat for stability and performance.

Linux is okay and I use it a lot for non-desktop stuff. You can use it for the desktop but the cost of re-training and supporting an office full of non-geek users who know MS Office, etc. inside and out is high.

hybridauth_Twitter_529258376's picture

Microsoft FPP Product keys are sensitive case, Because Microsoft provide it for only one system at the same time, I was need the windows 7 key for my laptop to upgrade from home premium to professional, So I contact to Microsoft but they denied to give me a sigle fpp key, So I search all over the world to purchase it.
Recently, I ordered at a site from India, They provided me 3 windows 7 pro oem keys with their stickers and 2 windows 8.1 pro oem keys, Which is legal and working good. I'm happy after getting so cheap oem license.
You can also get an unused Windows 7(any version)8, 8.1 pro License key from: ODosta Store
Otherwise, FPP keys are very costly, Usually it come with full package with DVD media, So I suggest to buy oem keys, Which has branded from Dell, Hp, Lenovo etc, As its mean "Original Equipment Manufacturer" Goods.