back to article Microsoft U-turns on 'free' Windows 10 upgrade promise for ALL previewers

Microsoft has been forced to quietly edit a misleading blog post that seemed to suggest that anyone could get their mitts on Windows 10 for free – if they first installed a test version of Redmond's upcoming operating system for PCs. The only caveat appeared to be that folk had to use a Microsoft Account (MSA) that's connected …

  1. ZSn


    What does this mean for the final version that you can only use the OS if you have an MSA? If so then, frankly, I prefer to stay on Vista. I'm not having all my data synched to the NSA courtesy of Microsof...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Optimal?

      What it means is that the OS will be hamstrung unless you use a MS account to sign in, as many of the Apps require a MS account (even Calendar, for God's sake).

      You can use it without a MSA, but it will not be worth it.

      As for the main point of this article : screw you, Microsoft. I think I'll just wipe my VM, cos I sure as hell am not junking Win7 for this glorified mobile phone OS.

      1. John Sanders

        Re: Optimal?

        There is no cloud only other people's computers:

        Do you want to depend on other people's computers for your personal stuff? and pay for something you did not have to pay before?

        I for one don't.

    2. illiad

      Re: Optimal?

      Hey, of course you can use it without a MSA!! just wait for July 29, and give the nice seller the money for it!!! :)

    3. mafoo

      Re: Optimal?

      Windows 8.1 bing edition basically has this already.

    4. Greg D

      Re: Prefer to stay on Vista

      My friend, why would you torture yourself so much?

      At least go to Windows 7, which was the working version of Vista.

      I get your sentiment, but I can tell you with a modicum of certainty, there will be an option to create a local account without having an MSA set up. Although, they will try to obfuscate that option, meaning you'll need to look around for it.

      To be honest, what's the harm though? You don't have to hand over your life story when setting up an MSA. I have one, but mostly for certifications, ISO downloads and the like (I'm an MS/Linux systems engineer).

      1. Tom 13

        Re: At least go to Windows 7

        If he is one of the lucky few who managed to get Vista to work, why should he shell out for another operating system that doesn't have much support left in it?

        When Windows 10 is released those of us still running Windows 7 will once again face the option of going along with the tyrant's dictates, moving to the walled garden of Apple, or switching to open source. Given the changes in my gaming habits (only casual games and nothing that requires high end graphics), I may finally be ready to take the leap to open source after my Windows 7 PC dies/is no longer supported with updates.

        1. Greg D

          Re: At least go to Windows 7

          Well other than saying there are other means of getting it cheaply these days, that is a fair point. Although I don't know of anyone that bought Vista separately - it was one of those OS'es that was foisted on anyone buying a computer before Win7 was released.

          Not sure on the tyrant description. They are not forcing you to switch or upgrade or even use Windows 10. Incentivising, yes.

          I dual boot with Linux Mint - and I'm finding more and more games work well with Linux/OpenGL - however, OpenGL is lagging way behind DirectX now, and that gap is only widening. So for gaming it kind of has to be Windows. Although that's not really Microsoft's fault - general lack of actual competition.

    5. ZSn

      Re: Optimal?

      I should have followed the link, it's fairly obvious there <sigh>:

      This change is for the Windows Insider Program ONLY, and is specific to how we’re delivering the Insider Preview builds. Once available on July 29th, you do not need an MSA to upgrade Windows 10 on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PCs if they are not receiving Insider Preview builds. You will not be required to use an MSA on new PCs that come with Windows 10 preinstalled or clean installed from media. Some features in Windows 10 do require an MSA to use, such as downloading apps in the Windows Store.

  2. Frank N. Stein

    If you don't want to use an MSA, then you may as well remain on Vista because that's been required since 8.1 and apparently, that will be required for 10. That's why I only use Windows for Gaming. For everything else, I use Mac OS and VPN. Almost every website out there attempts location tracking.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge


      What's this about needing a Microsoft Account (assuming that is the meaning of the acronym). I'm fairly sure I didn't set one up on my Windows 8.1 laptop; though I might have been asked to create an email address at one time; but can't remember. Never used it if I have. Don't even know what it could be. Not that I use the Windows 8.1 laptop much. It is my least preferred operating system.

      1. frank ly

        Re: MSA?

        I signed up (early this year) with my old Hotmail (now Outlook) e-mail address and got an early technical preview. You had to 'sign up' in some way to get access to the preview download and you had to logon using that id. After that I lost interest in it.

      2. illiad

        Re: MSA?

        to access or create your Microsoft Account, click the following link...

        (yes, its a special language called 'Microsoftese!! )

        No linking??? well, cut and paste it!!!

      3. Joe Drunk

        MSA creation is optional in 8.1

        I have Windows 8.1 on my laptop - I was offered the option to skip the MSA creation process during initial setup (I did) and was able to use everything on my laptop including the web, installed all my favorite apps, etc. just like I did with XP and 7, no MS account required.

        If you want to install anything from Windows Store or use the afore mentioned calendar (I don't) then yes, you will have to create an MS account.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "... that's been required since 8.1 ..."

      This isn't correct. With 8.1, it does ask you to create a MS account if it detects an internet connection at install time. There is a non-obvious button (in the lower right I think, from memory), that lets you skip this and create a local account instead.

      Saying this because I've never created an MS account nor logged in with one on a Win 8.1 computer. If it was required, I wouldn't be running the OS.

      1. SolidSquid

        Well that's annoying, I apparently missed that button during installation on my tablet. Would have preferred a local account over a cloud sync'd one

    3. Comfy Chairs

      Read article before commenting

      To quote Gabe Aul from the exact post this article is commenting on, "Once available on July 29th, you do not need an MSA to upgrade Windows 10 on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PCs"

      You don't need an MSA to use 8.1, and how you read the above as meaning you'll need one for 10 is beyond me. Clearly Microsoft would like to sign up for their cloudy bullshit, as would Apple and Google on their respective platforms, but it's not a requirement for 8.1 and it won't be a requirement for 10.

      1. illiad

        Re: Read article before commenting

        "Once available on July 29th, you do not need an MSA to upgrade Windows 10 on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PCs"

        It will available at a very good price at your local computer store!!!

    4. Sandtitz Silver badge

      "If you don't want to use an MSA, then you may as well remain on Vista because that's been required since 8.1 and apparently, that will be required for 10."

      Bullshit. You just don't have any idea what you're talking about.

      Microsoft Account is not mandatory on any generally available Windows version. Just like Apple ID or Google Account are not mandatory on their respective platforms.

      Apple/Google/MS are of course pushing users to create these accounts on their mobile and desktop OS varieties but they are not required. Without these accounts you are just locked out of app stores and the backup/sync mechanisms and other perks.

      " For everything else, I use Mac OS"

      Oh. Are you using it without Apple ID? How easy was it to upgrade to e.g. Mavericks or Yosemite without it?

      "Almost every website out there attempts location tracking."

      Perhaps. But what does that got to do with the MS Account?

    5. Kiwi

      @ Frank N. Stein

      If you don't want to use an MSA, then you may as well remain on Vista because that's been required since 8.1 and apparently, that will be required for 10.

      You can set up an 8.1 system (not that I'd advise it - 7 is much better!) without using the account. Some hunting around on the screen where it tells you to create the account there is something that lets you get past that bit without making an account. IIRC it's near the bottom of the screen (bottom 1/3rd anyway) but not necessarily obvious - not a clear "click here to not have your private data stolen".

      BTW, you did do a custom set up where you can turn off all those "take photos of me and share them with advertisers" and so on stuff that is turned on in the default settings?

    6. Amorous Cowherder

      When you're installing 8.1 it tries to force you get an MSA account by default but you just have to fail that option and then force it to offer you the choice of creating a local account on the machine. Job done. I suspect after 29th July, the first commercial release will have the same option, force it to fail the MSA account creation and make it give you the local account option.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I always seem to get a free upgrade with Opensuse and no strings attached.

    1. thames

      What! No reading of tea leaves on the sacred corporate blogs? No news stories speculating on the meaning of the presence or absence of specific words? Just a solid OS plodding along in the background, doing its job without making a fuss of things? How unprofessional of them!

      (Mine's the one with the Ubuntu ISO in the pocket).

      1. Code For Broke

        I also favor Ubuntu, but the preinstalled Amazon search and some of the other marketing maneuvers recently are putting Shuttleworth's little project into the "making a fuss" column.

  4. BobChip

    Guessing games

    Without attempting to assign probabilities to the list below, this task being quite beyond me, either :-

    1 The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing, or,

    2 There is no coherent internal policy, or,

    3 There is more than policy, and they are arguing about it in public, or,

    4 They are rethinking the "free" policy for 7 and 8 users and want to introduce charges, or,

    5 The policy is obfuscation, but they don't want you to know that, or,

    6 They actually do have a policy, but they want to be certain that no one knows what it is, including their own people, or,

    7 They have simply lost the plot.

    Small wonder no one trusts MS or believes anything they say. I am just profoundly grateful that none of my IT requirements (or my future) depend on anything sold by Microsoft.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Guessing games

      Is this regarding the MSA business for Win 10 or just Microsoft licensing in general?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. regadpellagru

      Re: Guessing games

      That's 7: they lost it. They don't know how to make money anymore, after all the debacles.

      Give it for free for 1 year (legit W7 & 8 users), maybe. Force cloud usage to rip users off ? why not.

      They don't know where they're going ...

      1. Mikel

        Re: Guessing games

        >They don't know where they're going.

        Everything is changing so fast, it's hard for anybody to even know where we are.

        1. John Sanders

          Re: Guessing games

          Wait! who are you again?

        2. Amorous Cowherder

          Re: Guessing games

          "I used to be with it, then they changed what 'it' was." Grandpa Simpson

      2. Patrician

        Re: Guessing games

        _"Force cloud usage to rip users off ?"_

        In what way will they be ripping users off?

    3. adnim

      Re: Guessing games

      There will come a time when the words ... "I vaguely remember Microsoft" drift into obscurity.

  5. W Donelson

    MS is in deep trouble. Ballmer managed to drive out a good bit of the real talent there.

    How Ballmer completely wrecked Microsoft:

    1. Ian Easson

      Ballmer drove out those people who believed in silos.

      I.e., every executive who didn't want to cooperate with other executives for the overall good the corporation.

    2. Lorin Thwaits

      The Embalmer's last victim was his own!

      Good summary. The more complete article is from August 2012:

      In the nearly 3 years that have followed since that publication, Ballmer remained consistently unwilling to listen to reason. His incessant need to continually steer Microsoft down the worst possible path is nothing short of astonishing. After bailing at the apex of this nightmare, Nadella came in, being dealt the worst possible hand. Hats off to Nadella for quickly making lots of great choices under dire circumstances. Still he is saddled with the many ridiculous design decisions that emerged with Windows 8. Definitely the Windows 10 team did the best they could to cobble together something that no longer makes the average end-user freak out. But it's full of compromise compared to iOS / OSX.

      I do wish them luck.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: The Embalmer's last victim was his own!

        Definitely the Windows 10 team did the best they could to cobble together something that no longer makes the average end-user freak out.

        I can't agree with that. The thing that most makes the average Windows user freak out they continue to appear to be trying to force us to subscription/cloud platforms. That's exactly what we DON'T want. This brouhaha only highlight the fact that they haven't figured that out yet.

    3. cream wobbly

      Sure. It's fake talent that's creating all the Android, iOS, OS X, and Linux applications. Being a non-Windozer, I'm seeing an awful lot of good stuff come out of Redmond recently. (Or more like, out of India, by way of Redmond.)

  6. Chris Gray 1

    Same as Andy Non

    I also have a Win 8.1 laptop that I occasionally use (main system is KUbuntu desktop). I wanted a laptop to take to some meetings, and I wanted Windows to test some software on. I'm pretty sure I never setup any kind of account with Microsoft. I will be watching sites like El Reg carefully before any attempt to upgrade to Win 10, to make sure that silliness like being online or having accounts is not happening. If it is, no upgrade for me.

    Off Topic: Heck, I haven't even created a Samsung account, which is needed to access the Tizen app store to get new watch faces for my Gear 2 Neo. (Lots of people disdain such things, but I think its a fun toy! If you do think about getting some kind of smartwatch, check carefully what it needs and what it can do. On my G2N I can read and reply to texts, read emails, receive and initiate phone calls, see appointment alerts, etc.)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. illiad

    'registered MSA connected to their PC'

    can someone please clarify that phrase????? - I understand that 'be a MS insider' means you have a hotmail account, (or it's new name, or, or MSA ( MicroSoft Account ) )

    and then use this to download win10 preview to run on a pc...

    Does 'registered MSA connected to their PC' mean more than you just have win10 running, and have your MSA webpage open in the browser???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

      I believe it means the MSA used to register for the insider program, enabling you to download and install Windows 10. What they are now saying is that insiders will have to use that MSA to login to their PC if they wish to continue getting upgrades on the Insider program.

      Having a local account and then logging in to will not be good enough.

      An interesting point not touched on anywhere is that (at least so far), Win10 will only allow one MSA to be linked to a PC. That means that a Win10 machine cannot be fully used as a multi-user machine (eg two people using it with separate accounts having separate MSAs).

      They really do seem to be going down the path of treating a PC as simply another device (like a phone) linked to a MSA.

      1. Grade%

        Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

        "An interesting point not touched on anywhere is that (at least so far), Win10 will only allow one MSA to be linked to a PC. That means that a Win10 machine cannot be fully used as a multi-user machine (eg two people using it with separate accounts having separate MSAs)."

        F-that. Our household can only afford ONE main machine and it REQUIRES multiple user accounts because ADOBE I-stinking-D has to have ONE device that is considered a "computer" for our ereaders to legally interact with content. The hoop jumping to get working still makes me nauseous.

        The more I hear and read about W10 the more I'm coming to despise it. I hated 8/8.1 but it's awkward to loathe, actually loathe software like this big brotheresque win-bloody-10

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

          I run multiple accounts and some of those have MSA's and that "feature" is definitely in Windows 8. I'd create accounts whenever family needed access and have several people loving that. [Frankly I could reset the laptop in 20 minutes. This is why I'd like to have affordable VDI. God knows I have the equipment to spare, retail licensing, yada, yada. CALs are the stick end. Sigh.]

        2. Hellcat

          Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

          "An interesting point not touched on anywhere is that (at least so far), Win10 will only allow one MSA to be linked to a PC. That means that a Win10 machine cannot be fully used as a multi-user machine (eg two people using it with separate accounts having separate MSAs)."

          You must be holding it wrong. I have 2 MSA accounts attached to my WinX PC. Both appear on the login page, and have separate profiles and apps synchronised to the cloudy evilness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Hellcat - Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

            You must be holding it wrong

            Uncommonly polite for this place. I think I have been misled (a) by crappy error messages from the OS when trying to de-link my MSA from one account and link to another and (b) the clear statement from a MS engineer on the forums that it was so. That engineer was swiftly corrected by a moderator as it turns out.

    2. Miss Config

      Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

      Technically I AM an insider and registerd using my Yahoo account. tbf, Microsoft are NOT picky about your email provider.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'registered MSA connected to their PC'

        I have one registered to my main Google account, tied to my registered BetaID account. What's hilarious is that it has OneDrive and all the other trimmings. At the the time I was doing beta's for Microsoft and the first cut of GMail.

  8. Whiznot

    Windows 7 is the last Microsoft OS I'll ever use. I tried Windows 8 and despised it. When Windows XP support ended I had to install Linux on some older computers and I like it fine. I do favor Windows 7 for WMC and its DVR function but I'll be able to have the same functionality with Linux once Silicon Dust releases its DVR software.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 3.11 is the last Microsoft OS I'll ever use. I tried Windows 95 and despised it. When Windows 3.0 support ended I had to install Linux on some older computers and I like it fine. I do favor Windows 3.11 for Windows Media Player and its Sound Recorder function but I'll be able to have the same functionality with Linux once Silicon Dust releases its CD player software.

  9. 420Penguin

    The default login since Windows 8.1 is a MSA, which is usually a Hotmail or Outlook account, although I've seen users with non-Microsoft email accounts. You can log in with a standard local account, but it's access is hidden in 8.1 & 10. The MSA is required to access Microsoft's online services, most metro apps and store. If you don't have a MSA you don't have access to these services.

    There are 2 problems I've observed with this arrangement: one, if you want to do local networking with other computers you're out of luck (the other networked computers won't be seen by the MSA computer), and two, if you no longer have access to the MSA account (say you registered with an ISP email and later changed ISPs) you lose the ability to recover if you forgot you password. You can create another account in Windows, but the process deletes all your old files.

    I'll stick with 7 in the meantime because I don't like or need the metro apps, and local networking with my Linux box and BSD-based NAS is very important to me. I'm wondering if you'll need the Pro version of 10 to create local accounts, with 10 Home being MSA only?

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      "There are 2 problems I've observed with this arrangement: one, if you want to do local networking with other computers you're out of luck (the other networked computers won't be seen by the MSA computer)"

      Untrue. Windows 8.x computers I have at home work with other computers and the NAS just fine without MS Accounts.

      "two, if you no longer have access to the MSA account (say you registered with an ISP email and later changed ISPs) you lose the ability to recover if you forgot you password."

      Untrue. If you select in the password recovery process that you no longer have access to the mailbox you are given a chance to recover the password via another email address and after that you're taken to a web form where you are supposed to enter as much info as possible including previous passwords, credit card information (if bought anything), and so on. Probably someone at MS looks at the info and if it is satisfactory - you can reset the password. Not that I've ever ventured that far.

      The same thing with Google Account, and maybe with Apple ID as well.

      "You can create another account in Windows, but the process deletes all your old files."

      Untrue. You can login to the same computer with other MS Accounts but they're all restricted to their own user folders unless you give them admin rights. It's not different to local accounts and not data is deleted from other accounts, why would it?

    2. Keef

      'You can log in with a standard local account, but it's access is hidden in 8.1 & 10'

      I found it so it wasn't that well hidden.

      By the way it's is a contraction of it and is so you should have written:

      'but its access is hidden'.

      Or, if you really wanted to use 'it's' just drop the 'access is' bit and you're good to go.

      I await the flood of corrections to my spelling and grammar.

    3. Angol

      "it's" means "it is" not "its"

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        "it's" means "it is" not "its"

        I could care less....

        1. Aqua Marina

          I couldn't care less....

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: I couldn't care less...

            Ya missed the joke!

            I think this also might be your jam!

            1. Ship of Fools

              Re: I couldn't care less...

              +1 for "jam" link

    4. Amorous Cowherder

      "...but it's access is hidden in 8.1 & 10."

      I wouldn't go that far, simply refuse to create one at install time and it fails over to offering a local account. I can live without my calendar needing to be sync'd to "the MS cloud" thanks very much. Plenty of FOSS Windows kit out there that will happily fill the void and is actually usable rather than the Fisher Price school of GUI Design that the Metro designers must have attended to come up with an interface so simple that it's impossible to actually use it without re-learning all you ever learned about using GUI applications!

  10. John P

    You can happily use Windows without an MSA, you just need an MSA to download apps from the store, which is exactly the same as needing an iTunes account to download from the Apple App Store and a Google account to download apps from Google Play.

    Why is it that when Google or Apple do these things, no one bats an eyelid, the second MS do it, everyone cries evil conspiracy!

    1. vogon00

      Everyone cries, because

      1) MS-published rules and information is generally incomprehensible and/or ambiguous, leading to confusion;

      2) When it comes to the WWW, the ratio of speculation/assumption/supposition/bullshit to accurate facts is huge....well written and accurate info is hard to come by and too many people read the bullshit without realising that it *is* useless/erroneous crap....

      3) People like to moan!

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Entropy writ large?

    2. joed

      Why - possibly because the company with - de facto - monopoly in desktop OS space (and keeps trying to inject itself into mobile space) will be forcing its users (especially the more ignorant) into their cloud service and - sooner or later - creating another monopoly that's much harder to break (once your data is on cloud providers server you're on the hook).

      Dependency is the biggest issue for me, no matter how convenient I don't like the idea of powerful business with full control over my OS/device, overseeing my online habits (ISP is enough) and keeping my data hostage (not even rent to own scheme).

      So far I've been able to avoid MSA requirement across all my system (heck, I've even upgraded from 8 to 8.1 outside their Pawn-Shop) but since there's not upgrade path for 8Pro w/WMC I have no reason to go to 10 (what for, fancier Metro apps I wished I could completely remove).

    3. hplasm

      "You can happily use Windows"

      Citation needed.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    And in the near future

    "What is this 'micro-soft' you speak of".

  12. Eddy Ito

    Stop smiling – the PC's not even plugged in

    Clearly she is victorious in her struggle against the silicon overlords. We should all be so lucky.

  13. The little voice inside my head

    MS market

    Linux offers basic functionality that most people would be perfect with unless they are gamers, or a business big enough to require some formal support, but then we have companies like Red Hat that provide support for their OS, ... then the question becomes what is it that MS has that people still want to stick with it? The answer I think is:

    Applications for business ranging from Office to custom made software for companies...

    Games... that is going to change with Steam OS...

    Don't see any home users that can't use Linux as Windows replacement... email, videos music, web... all free...

    Business sticking with software made for Windows... I guess that's it... Active Directory? Not very cost efficient to migrate to other solutions, plus end user training.

    The problem now is that people working in those companies are using other devices or OS's at home, then over time, they find out that they like or don't need Windows but only for work... MS is losing ground because of other OSs being good enough (Linux) or better Marketing (Apple) (What is so good about Mac OS? Looks pretty and then?) Anyway, after all these users switching to other OS's and being satisfied with them, they start questioning MS predominance for everything (like myself).

    Many choices out there, one can be really picky on how we want our desktops to look like, functionality wise, all are the same, web mail, videos, music, word processing.

    What I found out about Linux is that even though new releases are very complete and stable, they are not fine tuned, so there's room for improvement and with that comes the tinkering and issues that are difficult to fix. It's discouraging to know, for example, that the my graphics card could run better but installing and fixing drivers can really be time consuming, at least for now, until better documentation becomes available or versions between the same distro start being more consistent.

    MS wants to spread its OS's as much as they can so people can focus again on the easy way of running everything in a familiar way.... making it as fun and pretty as possible like Apple did with OS X, but not as complicated or costly,buggy, (Vista,8) that everybody starts looking at free, stable, familiar alternatives.

    1. Bluto Nash

      Re: MS market

      "Games... that is going to change with Steam OS..."

      For Steam stuff, yes. Unfortunately, I'm locked into EAs Origin platform for the games I like to play, and there won't be a Steam variation. Virtually everything else I do, however, I've been able to pretty much duplicate in Linux Mint on a VM, either natively or using WINE.

  14. Shannon Jacobs

    Hard to trust Microsoft on Windows 10...

    The words "free" and "Microsoft" do not mix well, so when Microsoft says this is a "free" upgrade to Windows 10, it is basically impossible for me to believe that there is no catch. Here's the best I can do:

    I need to see a credible explanation of WHY Microsoft would do this. To be credible, there are at least two requirements:

    (1) It needs to explain the money side of it.

    (2) The venue of the explanation has to be independent of Microsoft's control.

    Let me try to make those conditions as clear as I can:

    Condition (1) is not an expectation of opening their books. However, it has to make it clear at least roughly how much this "free" will really cost Microsoft and why MS would feel that it's worth that much money. The most plausible public explanation that I've seen is that MS believes that this is the best way for them to retain unified control over the Windows OS community. If that is true, then the threats need to be made clear. Mac? Chromebooks? Linux? In any case, the public explanation doesn't make much sense to me, and I'd like to see credible explanations of the nonpublic possibilities.

    Condition (2) is actually split. One side is that it can't be published by Microsoft or on any Microsoft-controlled website. The other side is begging for journalism of credibility and integrity, which may be too much to hope for these days. The Reg's skepticism might be part of it...

  15. Kaltern

    Microsoft has reaffirmed that Windows Insiders who clean installed the Windows 10 Preview can upgrade and activate the Windows 10 RTM for free, regardless of whether they have a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license. This announcement was made on Friday, and on Saturday was silently changed to remove any mention of being activated unless you upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This caused confusion, but Gabe Aul has again reaffirmed that Insiders who clean installed the Windows 10 Preview will receive Windows 10 for free, and activated.

    Now you may be wondering why Microsoft went ahead and confused the situation by changing the way the announcement was worded in the first place. Well, in short, they did it to cover their backside. Soon after the original announcement, a number of media outlets began posting stories such as "How to get Windows 10 for free". This is not what Microsoft wants, and continues to advertise Windows 10 as being free for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users only.

    It does appear that upgrading from the preview builds to RTM doesn't get you a valid license however. You will remain activated (and can clean install if you wish once upgrading), but you will not have a valid license. This isn't something normal users need to worry about though.

    1. illiad


      You have the RTM?? if not, how do you know?? I DO know that MS does check win7 now and then - my company has a LOT of laptops, and one of then 'failed activation' once, after months in use! A quick call to the auto-activation service put it right again..

      I forget how long the gap was between win7 RTM and actual availability, anyone remember?? still more than a month left!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "... cover their backside"

      I'm inclined to agree. It is telling, I think, that on the Insider Hub it was still giving the original text of the announcements - without the tweaks.

      I think Microsoft would be foolish to treat the Insiders who have stuck with this thing for months with exactly zero gratitude : they would find a lot of people leaving the program with pretty firm 'anti' feelings, as opposed to staying and eventually (maybe) coming to appreciate their vision and spreading it.

  16. Anguilla

    W10 (per)version 10030 Sucks

    Having let (per)version 10030 install itself automatically, not only did it totally screw up my 500 GB Samsung SSD, but also a 120GB Intel one as well, & to crown it all, it somehow managed to screw up my 1TB "Viagra" Disk when I swapped over - to get a what was a previously working W8.1 & connected up the Samsung SSD.

    I've only recently come back home from a trip across to Lenovo Service Centre the North shore of Hong Kong Island to dump my Lenovo 440E in for fixing.

    Even my previously burned "restore" disks were not recognised - though it is possible that this was because I was trying to restore 8.1 with 8.0 disks - I just don't know!

    Needless to say - I'm totally pissed off with the latest W10 evaluation (per)version - it co$t me hours of frustration & an upcoming large hole in my wallet payable to Lenovo.

    I *KNOW* that MicroSquelch warned against relying on newer evaluations - & the possibility of such chronic failures, but every previous "upgrade" ran smoothly - and I fell for it!!!

  17. Bronek Kozicki

    here is good explanation

    I know some will disagree with this, but personally I find this post on ArsTechnica forums (not mine) to be the best explanation of what's going on:

    This has nothing to do with Microsoft being unclear. If anything, this is the press (and I'm including you, Peter) shaping the discussion into something that was never explicitly stated.

    Microsoft starts the discussion from the assumption that you are a legitimate, licensed user of Windows. In that context, they have been crystal clear: If you already upgraded as an Insider user, you will get the update and remain genuine. It's a continuation of your existing status. That's reasonable and consistent with what's gone before.

    If you don't have a legitimate ("genuine") Windows license, Microsoft isn't talking to you. You are not their customer. You have no relationship, status, contract, or claim. You might find a work-around, or a nudge-wink activation process, but that does not mean you get "genuine" Windows for free. Technically being able to install it does not mean that contractually you are legitimately licensed. Also consistent with everything that's gone before.

    The trick to understanding Microsoft's communications is simple enough: Listen carefully to what they say, and assume the narrowest possible definition. And what they don't say is just as important as what they do.

  18. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Planty Bronze badge

    And so it begins

    Usual about turns that accompany all Microsoft product launches

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. brucej

      Then the users fault for not making a proper recovery disk after the upgrade. I would compare this to the guy who gets the lock changed on the front door, never makes a copy of the new key and then loses the only key. The old one might have worked before but because of a fundamental change it's not going to anymore. At least the guy with windows 7/8 can at least get a working machine again with his old recovery disks.

    2. Ian P

      In theory... because the Windows 10 installs are "pre-keyed" (a function of the version of W10 you are entitled to and the hardware you're installing onto) you simply... resinstall from any old ISO and the MS activation server will (re)grant activation... By magic. Somehow.

  21. Amorous Cowherder

    What about plain English?

    I'd be more embarrassed by Microsofts abuse of the English language during the installation procedure.

    "Getting finished" appears just after the files have been copied and it's about to reboot. Is that even proper English? Surely "Completing installation" would be better?

    1. Adam 1

      Re: What about plain English?

      At least you will know when you have your finished.

  22. WilliamLan

    I have been reading about this issue - am I to understand correctly that if Windows Update is enabled to automatically check for updates and you have win 7sp1 or 8.1 installed you will be automatically upgraded to Win 10?! Incredible. That is just one reason to disable automatic updates. On July 29 there are going to be a whole bunch of unhappy upgraded people.

  23. WilliamLan

    Seems original did not post - only logged in - if a dupe comment I am sorry

    If I am to understand correctly if you have Win 7SP1 or Win 8.1 installed and automatic updates enabled - on July 29 you will wake up to find Win 10 on your system?! Incredible. There will be many unhappy people on July 29. Just another reason to not have automatic updates enabled but rather choose which one you wish. My goodness - even for Microsoft. This is wanting me to turn my computer into a Phone

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Automatic Upgrade

      If Windows Update is on Automatic then a Win7SP1 or Win 8.1 machine will be quietly updated to prepare it for the Win10 upgrade, and the "Get Windows 10" icon will appear in the Taskbar.

      I've disabled this whole process as I have absolutely no intention of giving up Win7 for Win10, but I understand that you have to actively initiate the upgrade when the time comes.

      However, given how sneaky Microsoft have been about putting in the "Get Windows 10" icon and all the other deceptively named updates that it needs, many people have expressed the suspicion that Microsoft will decide to upgrade people whether they've asked for it or not.

      For my part I don't think they will - it would be a truly epic fail on their part as I'm sure millions of users won't have a clue how to deal with the upgrade and will be left with a machine that they cannot use.

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