Windows 10 Free Upgrade Loophole ends Dec 31, 2017

John Lister's picture

The final route to getting a free upgrade to Windows 10 will officially end on December 31, 2017. That's when Microsoft has decided to ditch a special program that many users have been using as a free upgrade loophole.

Officially home users could only get the free upgrade (from Windows 7 or 8.1) between July 2016 and July 2017 - the one year after the new system launched. That meant avoiding the standalone price of $119 for the Home edition or $199 for the Professional Edition.

No Proof Needed For Loophole

However, eagle-eyed users noted after this date it was still possible to upgrade by visiting a special page designed for users of assistive technologies. These include tools such as screen readers (which read text out loud) and magnifiers. The offer has no verification system and simply involves clicking a button underneath the phrase "Yes, I use assistive technologies." (Source:

While theoretically taking advantage of this offer could be a gray area, it received plenty of publicity and Microsoft did not clamp down on the loophole, suggesting it is happy to get more people using Windows 10 - and possibly have users buy more apps from the built-in Windows store.

Windows 10 now Full Price From 2018

For those who still have ethical concerns, the Lifehacker site argues that if it comes to splitting hairs, even using keyboard shortcuts such as "Control + C" to copy text could be classed as using assistive technologies. (Source:

Either way, time is running out as the page has now been updated to say the offer will end on December 31 this year. After that, there will be no discounted price for upgrading from an existing edition of Windows, as happened with many previous releases. Instead, users will have to pay the full price to get Windows 10 regardless of what system they are currently running.

1-on-1 Help Upgrading to Windows 10: From Dennis

If anyone reading this article is considering the free upgrade but wants to make sure they are properly backed up before taking the plunge, Dennis can help. Proper backups provide two very important roles: 1) you can revert back to your previous operating system at any time in case you don't like Windows 10, or 2) if something goes wrong and Windows 10 doesn't install properly, you can restore your backup as if nothing ever happened. Dennis will also backup your system after Windows 10 is installed, plus help customize the Start menu and install Windows 10 anti-spy software. If interested, send him a brief message using the contact page and he'll get back to you as soon as possible.

What's Your Opinion?

If you're a Windows user, have you got Windows 10 yet - and if not, what's putting you off? Do you consider it ethically OK to take advantage of this loophole? Should Microsoft keep the free upgrade running permanently, or is it safe to assume anyone who is seriously considering upgrading an existing PC will have done so by now?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Windows 7 is an especially mature operating system and is definitely rock solid. Windows 8 has its quirks and is half-baked, especially compared to Windows 10.

Windows 10 is much more refined than Windows 8 and includes many new and important security enhancements including anti-ransomware software, and now a Windows Defender Security Center. Also, Windows 10 has a MUCH better mobile experience.

Most die hard Windows users have most likely already upgraded to Windows 10 - but one thing to consider in all of this is that Windows 10 will be supported with security updates until October 2025, whereas Windows 8 will reach its end of life in January 2023 and Windows 7 in 2020. That alone is worth the free upgrade in my opinion.

sirpaultoo's picture

'For those who still have ethical concerns'! Kind of ironic after how Microsoft admitted to bad coding that installed Win10 when the
user clicked 'No' or 'X' on the initial pop-up screen and the user received a new operating system - amongst other unethical means.
I plan on installing Win10 to have the ability to reinstall it after 'downgrading' to Win7 - until 2020.
I'll also be installing (several?) Linux distros and see how that goes before (re)installing Win10. I'm looking for a desktop operating system as opposed to one with any mobile features. 'One size fits all' usually never works out well for me.

nate04pa's picture

I upgraded three of my systems to Windows 10 during the free period. So I am good to go with them until they fail or I decide to replace one of them and it will most likely have Windows 10 on it.

Another system I use cannot be upgraded so I have to use Windows 7 there.

I have played with Linux but two of the applications I use often have not been ported to Linux which deters me from using it in place of Windows.

royala_5291's picture

After Win10 came out and near the start of the upgrades, my 2 business pc's crashed on an MS update. I lost the business pc completely, and my lab pc could only boot with a flash drive. I went back to 7 on my business pc and have not used my Win10 lab pc for over a year.

I'm not proficient in 10 but can wind my way around when my clients need help. But I still am greatly lacking and very distrustful. I will try to reinstall 10 on my lab pc over the holidays since it can still be downloaded...and I have no qualms about getting it now since the first one crashed both of my computers.

I will still use 7 on my business computer since I need it to be reliable for my Teamviewer. Most of my work is remote now due to age and mileage matters, so 7 it is.


Dennis Faas's picture

You should be making daily disk image backups specifically for this reason. If you had the backups in place you could have easily reverted without any down time. Also, keeping your user data separate from the operating system will help to expedite this process. If you need help setting this up I would be more than happy to assist you by remote desktop - send me an email for more info if interests.