back to article Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

Microsoft wants to give me Windows 10 for free! Hooray for freebies! OK, some of my software no longer launches or works quite the way it’s supposed to, but I got used to that after upgrading to Windows 8, and then again with Windows 8.1. Free software, yay! Give it away, now! Youtube Video To be honest, I only thought about …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Kudos for the 1970's music reference

    [Disclosure: I bought myself a pair of Beats in-ear phones recently in a sale and they’re OK. I am currently trying to destroy them with anti-culture by playing only early-1970s Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield on them. I like to think Dr Dre would be appalled.]

    I was given a pair of Beats headphones for Crimble. They do seem to be able to handle Kraftwerk quite well but fail with some of the quieter moments of similar aged rock pieces. I know that I'm getting older but playing the same track through my trusty Sony Noise Cancelling (essential for use on planes IMHO) I can hear the missing bits perfectly.

    They seem optomised for Bass and loudness as is the norm with most modern crap that passes for music.

    I will be passing the Beats device onto a grandchild very soon.

    1. Stoneshop
      Megaphone

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      They seem optomised for Bass and loudness

      ITYM lobotomised

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

        "ITYM lobotomised" -- Stoneshop

        Indeed. Both my teenage boys requested headphones for birthday presents, cue trips to hifi shops to try them on, and one trip to HMV to try Beats. Both boys said the same thing "Are these faulty?"

        I put them on. OMG, do people really like that? It just sounds like nextdoor's music turned up way too loud. I have not heard any genre of music, hip hop included, that sounds better on Beats than any similarly priced offerings from Sennheiser, BeyerDynamic, hell, even Bose.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

          I have not heard any genre of music, hip hop included, that sounds better on Beats than any similarly priced offerings from Sennheiser, BeyerDynamic, hell, even Bose.

          Now that's what I call an insult :)

          I found Bose only usable when anything related to bass is turned as far down as possible, ditto for PC speakers. I'll stick to Sennheiser, I think, shame they don't do PC speakers (the wireless stuff is a tad too big to fit on my desk :) ).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spot the stock shorter!

      "I will be passing the Beats device onto a grandchild very soon"

      ...

      "Where did you get the new ear gear?"

      "From me grandpa. As a hand-me-down. Next Xmas he says I'll be big enough for his second-best cardigan..."

      After that coolocalypse you'll be getting Apple shares in boxes of breakfast cereal (for the best profits wait for a BOGOF sale)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      Kudos, a classic wank/bullshit bingo word.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

        "Kudos, a classic wank/bullshit bingo word."

        Not in your dictionary? Get a better one. It's Greek, borrowed into English many years ago. More classical than classic.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

        Kudos to all those who downvoted me. ;)

    4. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      >I will be passing the Beats device onto a grandchild very soon.

      Pardon?

    5. AlbertH

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      They seem optomised for Bass and loudness

      They are horribly distorted at any level. It's as if they've been manufactured to impart 30% thd to anything you feed them. All you need to know is that they're manufactured by "Monster" - the very over-priced cable manufacturers.....

    6. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      I test the bass on headphones with this track - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DeNq3f-rZs . On Beats headphones, I can't hear the Conta Bombarde at all.

      1. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

        >> I test the bass on headphones with this track

        Huh, typical Reg commentard, waving his organ around.

    7. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: Kudos for the 1970's music reference

      What've you got against your grandbrat? Ours quite likes Nanny & Grandpa's music (Mostly Classic FM)

  2. 45RPM

    Bleep and Booster? Now that's a pair of names I never thought I'd hear again. I thought that, along with Bengo, I was the only one to remember them.

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      >> Bleep and Booster

      Tell you what, we even had the puppets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I remembered them too. Didn't even have to look at the video to understand the reference.

      By the way - congratulations to Alistair for the usual humourous read which, at the same time, was more insightful into what MS are up to than many of the more serious articles so far.

  3. Mystic Megabyte
    Windows

    nice!

    Holy cow, the price tags on those Surface Pros make Apple Stores look like pound shops.

    LOL

  4. Candy

    It's all about the developers

    My take on the free upgrade to W10 is that it will give the Microsoft Store enough customers that the developer community will see it as a viable way to make money.

    The Universal Apps thing may even get the Windows Phone App Store full to overflowing with Apps people actually want/need. Which lifts out one of the big ticket barriers to WinPho adoption.

    It would certainly lower the bar to corporate adoption as there would be a mobile version of pretty much every desktop app. (Yeah, alright, even I can't take that seriously...)

    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: It's all about the developers

      That is the theory. But Windowsland, most are used to side-loading their software because there never was a true Winblows repository system. Also, MS makes most of their money from enterprise licensing fees not home users.

      The question remains how is MS going to get my money. Windows as a free upgrade sounds nice. Other than geeks how many users will actually upgrade (or more likely downgrade to W10)? Most Windows sales to home users came from replacement and new kit not upgrades.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's all about the developers

        The question remains how is MS going to get my money. Windows as a free upgrade sounds nice.

        "Sounds", yes, but I don't like the accompanying itch between my shoulderblades that tells me I am in Microsoft's sights, so I think I'll pass.

      2. JLV

        Re: It's all about the developers

        >most of their money from enterprise licensing fees not home users.

        I'll take your word for that. But at the same time, how many corps have upgraded to 8x? Not many, I gather. They are slow and conservative at the best of times, but 8's massive consumer WTF must have rang big fat alarm bells at the retraining costs and productivity loss for users. I mean it took me 5 mins to activate the charms on 8.0 and I roughly knew where to look for it and that it was a mess to find.

        You're nailed it that upgrades are likely not a big $ hit. And I think that's the key to Dabbsie's conundrum. Goodwill, much needed, at a cost most accountants would rate as negligible. New comps will still get the Windows tax. Companies will still pay MS corporate rates. Most users will buy new computers. And in one year, things revert back to pumpkins.

        Now, if only Apple would apply the same cost/benefit analysis and realize locking their computer RAM earns them minimal extra money but much badwill from power users...

        1. P. Lee

          Re: It's all about the developers

          >MS make most of their money from enterprise licensing fees not home users.

          ^ this.

          The freebie is for home users who have a relatively recent MS OS already.

          i.e. Likely OEM home users who almost certainly are not going to spend money on a new OS anyway. They would wait until the next hardware upgrade and get the OEM windows from that too.

          There's almost zero hit to MS' pocket and all the "opportunities" of the MS shop and a more unified developer target.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's all about the developers

      Except Microsoft's Astoria project plans to allow Windows phones to run Android binaries. What's the incentive for developers to create a Windows phone specific app when they'll already have the Android version Windows phone users can download.

      Those developing PC apps aren't going to worry about making them run on Windows phones - does anyone think that Intuit is going to worry about making Quickbooks run well on a phone, or that anyone would want to use it on a phone?

    3. Si 1

      Re: It's all about the developers

      Personally I think it's free because MS are desperate to show they are still relevant. If they can point to Windows 10 adoption rates and show it actually beating Windows 7 instead of languishing way behind like Windows 8 and 8.1 combined then it counters the current narrative that Windows is dying and that Microsoft are basically running a legacy platform.

      The other clever master stroke was announcing you could only get the OS free for the first year, thereby causing people to rush to reserve their upgrade to ensure they don't miss out.

      I also think the free upgrade queuing mechanism means that MS are in control of when people get Windows 10, so they can spread adoption out evenly and even boost it in slow months to give the appearance that Windows 10 is selling steadily and that their business model still works.

      I think this is all about getting the casual users back on Windows, many of which probably use their phones or tablets for Facebook/YouTube/Twitter/Email. They don't care to buy a new PC when Windows 7 does the job, but if the upgrade is free they will decide they might as well grab it while it lasts.

      That's my conspiracy theory anyway!

  5. Fihart

    Word Free

    The "urban myth" that MS let Word get pirated seems more plausible when you consider that Microsoft Press did a roaring trade in an overpriced guide to using Word which more than replaced the printed manual that accompanied legitimate copies of the appplication.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Word Free

      The alternatives to Word aren't always better. I would dearly love to get Office 365 on the work iPad instead of the horrible Good fapplication suite.

      Re: why Windows 10 is free. One reason is that it's not yet in a fit state to charge money for.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Word Free

        Neither was 8 .

        Didn't stop them.

  6. BrazzaB

    Free you say?

    Dabbsy - I think you've missed a point - I'm one of the Linux boys - yes I know, Linux isn't for you average Joe, having to occasionally drop into the command line, but it's getting better and easier to use.

    There are two things that is worrying MS.

    Firstly the obvious - it's free - forever, with as many upgrades as you like, with no tie-ins.

    Secondly the security - no antivirus for me! This may, or may not be the norm in the future, but for now you've not got an annual tax a la antivirus. MS has had to abandon Tuesday patch day as there are too many zero day exploits turning up which need to be patched immediately. I my experience of Linux, an exploit rears it's ugly head and you get a patch the next day or so - sometimes the same day! and unles it's a major kernel update, you don't have to reboot every time.

    The Linux desktop is coming and it's worrying MS and Apple. I know this, as for the first time a major software vendor, who which I cannot remember - damn my memory - stated that their package was available for download for Windows, Mac AND Linux. More and more software vendors are now catching on to Linux compatibility to expand their reach.

    Linux is only going to get easier and more attractive to the public with major vendors now pre-installing their laptops with Linux, leading MS to offer Windows 8.1 very cheaply.

    MS is worried - in 20 years time people will wonder why on earth people had to pay £100 or so for Windows 10 Professional.

    Thoughts anyone.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Free you say?

      I imagine that MS are more worried than Apple, MS haven't got the shiny consumer ecosystem that Apple have where you buy another thing because you've got one thing.

      Windows 10 is not free, you pay with exposure... of your personal data, it makes the Yosemite Spotlight thing look like a storm in a teacup. Either Apple will follow them or they won't and as they are blabbing on about privacy lately hopefully they won't.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Free you say?

        Also Apple X86 kit can run Linux. If you do that, then Apple still get paid for the Hardware.

        Microsoft lose out all round and get nowt.

        It matters little to Apple what OS you run on their hardware. MS on the otherhand only have an OS to sell. (not including Surface devices because they don't run anything but windows)

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Free you say?

      Everyone seems to be forgetting that Win10 is free for now.

      A year from now when it's a bit less buggy, but still equally crap, you'll be expected to start paying for it.

      Based on Office 365, I'd guess the asking price is going to be something like a fiver a month. And it's going to be hard to pirate - assuming anyone will want to - because the payment authentication will be tied to your MS account.

      This would be a genius plan if Win10 was a thing of beauty. But it's not - it's a pile of elephant crap whose main USP is that it's not as bad as Win 8, which was the worst and most hated modern OS ever.

      And the spyware features aren't going to sit well with corporates.

      So... mass stampede to Linux and OS X. Penguin boys, your time may finally have come.

      1. bobgameon

        Re: Free you say?

        How many times must it be said?

        YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR UPDATES ONCE YOU GET WINDOWS 10 FOR THE SUPPORTED LIFETIME OF THE DEVICE. WHICH MICROSOFT ALREADY EXPLAINED MEANS THE SAME 10 YEAR UPDATE MODEL AS WINDOWS 7 AND 8.

        So please stop spreading lies trying to get more people to the linux cause.

        Just because linux gained a little ground thanks to the shit show microsoft called windows 8 doesnt mean windows is doomed. The emergence of the mobile computing platform might actually be a good argument for the doom of windows but linux? Yeah right. You linux fanboys have been saying the same thing for the last 10 years and where has that gotten you??

        Windows 10 is already on more than 60 million devices in 3 days of its launch. Thats what more than the total number linux devices in the world if you take out the enterprise devices?

        I know i'm going to get downvoted and probably get a lot of flak from the linux fanboys which seem to be a majority here. But someone has to talk sense.

        1. GrumpenKraut
          Linux

          Re: Free you say?

          > ... But someone has to talk sense.

          Absolutely! One voice of reason gainst the commie Linux propaganda of this left wing outfit the Register. Thank you so much!

          Icon is a left wing propaganda bird...

          (Troll icon implied)

        2. AlbertH
          FAIL

          Re: Free you say?

          But someone has to talk sense.

          You're right - someone does have to. Unfortunately, it's not you.

          You conveniently overlook the small print in the Windoze 10 paperwork - they (as usual) reserve the right to change the charging model at any time. As usual, the large print advertising blather gives, and the small print takes away.....

          Win 10 isn't quite as bad as Win 8.X, but it's even less backwardly compatible. Corporates won't be happy with having to purchase all their applications again.

          10 is bloated, unstable, insecure and certainly not ready for the mass market. It's just as virus-prone as its predecessors, still vulnerable to the same old exploits, still uses the broken BSD IP code that was "borrowed" for NT back in 1990, still has the mish-mash of bits that have always been the cobbled-together kernel of all the NT-series of OSs since Cutler threw together the demonstration version that Gates shipped......

          Win 10 is also designed to be an advertising medium. You'll certainly have to pay a subscription to some other M$ service to cripple the irritations!

          Sadly, the fragmented Linux culture isn't ready for prime-time either. "Mint" and "Ubuntu come close and "Fedora" is a pleasing display of what's possible, but as long as you have to go to the hassle of "Arch" to get truly stellar performance, it's not ready.... Guys - get yourselves together!

          1. bobgameon

            Re: Free you say?

            Could you point me to somewhere it says that MSFT can change the charging model. I couldn't find any articles on it. And i'm pretty sure if something like this was in there the click bait headlines would have lit up.

            As for backwards compatibility i dont seem to be having any issues. Even softwares i bought during the windows XP days seems to be running fine.

            Bloated: Yes. Unstable: Just a tad. Insecure: No more than any other OS.

            While i agree with you that the whole thing has become a mish-mash of unmanageable code but that code is there for backward compatibility although why MSFT cant clean it up a little despite the workforce they have i have no idea.

        3. Richard Lloyd

          Re: Free you say?

          > YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR UPDATES ONCE YOU GET WINDOWS 10 FOR THE SUPPORTED LIFETIME OF THE DEVICE.

          This is correct (and has been true for older Windows too), but you *will* be charged (as an indirectly absorbed cost by OEMs for pre-installed versions or directly for retail versions) if you want to get Windows 10 from 29th July 2016 onwards.

          > Windows 10 is already on more than 60 million devices in 3 days of its launch.

          That was always going to happen - MS have pushed this free Win 10 upgrade like crazy for months now and "who doesn't like free"? I hope people know that they've only got "30 days downgrade rights", after which time I presume a Windows downgrade involves a clean re-install (or image restore if you were clever enough to make one before the upgrade...but I bet the average user doesn't though!).

          > Thats what more than the total number linux devices in the world if you take out the enterprise devices?

          You've got to be careful here about what "Linux" means - if you're talking about the Linux kernel, you're on losing ground here - there are *massively* more devices running the Linux kernel then there are running Windows. Most consumer devices with a half decent CPU/RAM in them run a Linux kernel, not forgetting the metric ton load of Android devices out there.

          Outside of the phone/laptop/desktop arena, Windows isn't run in many consumer-facing places (ATMs are about the most common one I can think of and many banks are considering Linux to replace Windows ATMs).

          Windows still dominates in the desktop arena, that's for sure, but some of this dominance can be laid at the feet of the major OEMs, who rarely want to ship machines with anything but Windows. It's less comfy in the laptop segment because of Chromebooks and convertible tablets running Android. In the phone segment, Windows is hopeless and show no signs of joining the big two any day now.

          It may be that "universal" Windows 10 helps - if a lot more popular apps turn up for Windows 10 Phone because of it, it could gain some market share there. Having been in the Insider Preview programme myself, Windows 10 seems fine once you get Classic Shell on it and as long as the Modern interface stays hidden from me on the desktop, I'm quite happy with it. It'll still only get 5% computer time from me, since my CentOS desktop is much more functional and productive in my books.

        4. Richard Plinston

          Re: Free you say?

          > FOR THE SUPPORTED LIFETIME OF THE DEVICE. WHICH MICROSOFT ALREADY EXPLAINED MEANS THE SAME 10 YEAR UPDATE MODEL AS WINDOWS 7 AND 8.

          No, they have _NOT_ "already explained" this. If you think that they have then please provide an actual link.

          1. bobgameon

            Re: Free you say?

            http://bit.ly/1KJd46v

            Here's your explanation of the "For the supported lifetime of the device" statement.

        5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Free you say?

          @ bobgameon

          As far as I can make out what you say about costs is correct for those taking the free upgrade. It will only cost if you delay more than a year.

          But the odd thing is the two, apparently contradictory, statements coming out of MS: this is the last version of Windows & there's an EOL already set. The "last version" implies that it will be rolling updates from here on in - they were already talking about that when they were calling it Windows Blue. But if there's an EOL set what happens after that?

          What will likely drive Windows>Linux migration for home users isn't 10* but XP EOL. If there'd been a free Windows upgrade path the home XP users they'd have taken it. As it is at least some of them are moving to Linux. I migrated a couple of very ancient boxes for a cousin in law. LibreOffice opens their Works files, Firefox is faster than IE. That's all they want.

          I think what's changing is the public perception that PC = Windows.

          *OTOH privacy concerns with 10 might be a driver as might an upgrade that borks a lot of boxes.

        6. Michael Habel

          Re: Free you say?

          YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED FOR UPDATES ONCE YOU GET WINDOWS 10 FOR THE SUPPORTED LIFETIME OF THE DEVICE. WHICH MICROSOFT ALREADY EXPLAINED MEANS THE SAME 10 YEAR UPDATE MODEL AS WINDOWS 7 AND 8.

          sniff.. sniff... Aghh that refreshing smell of someone who's wetting themselves over the realization that soon all their MCSE's are about to fall down the crapper...

      2. marioaieie
        Linux

        Re: Free you say?

        Can anyone show me where it says that after the first year you will start to pay? In the microsoft website I can't find it and this seems something that they should be forced to put on a small footnote.

        As much as I would love this to be true (see icon), I think this is just BS.

        And I won't be downgrading, I'm already on version 14.04. That's more than 4 versions ahead.

        1. Michael Habel

          Re: Free you say?

          Can anyone show me where it says that after the first year you will start to pay? In the microsoft website I can't find it and this seems something that they should be forced to put on a small footnote.

          You Sir are 100% correct... In and, of your own generalizations. The base OS will be free for the life-time of the Machine, or 2025, whichever comes first! But, this doesn't mean that it all FREE! Lets take a look at our old friends Minesweeper and, Solitaire. Agghh yes for the penance of only 1.49$ a Month, x12 =17.98$, or a mere 9.99$ per annum yes, you too can enjoy a traditions old (+25 Year's of), ad-free gaming. on Windows 10.

          Oh how we all laughed about this only but, Twelve Month's ago, how MicroSoft were gonna Nickel & Dime us all to death with the most asinine things we all have taken for granted.... And, now its arrived!

          MicroSoft reserve the rights to alter Windows 10 AT ANY TIME *cough* UI *cough* at, any time, so they could in theroy change the way Windows 10 works now, into something that you have to pay for per Month - Annum.... Should they choose too!, That's the great unknown right now. I'd personally would think this strategy to be perfectly potty, and downright suicidal myself. Though this has never stopped MicroSoft before. I guess the mass adoption of Windows 10, over the coming Months shall tell the tale.

          Myself I expect to see a lot of happy Windows 8.x users, and a lot of old Windows 7 codgers shooting GET OF MUH LAWN! In fact that's more or less how these Threads hear are reading pretty much where ever I look. MicroSoft, have miscalculated their mew OS again quite badly... Yeah its new... Yeah its Free! -- SO WHAT! MicroSoft forgot to add just one tiny little bit to their sales pitch... And that's; Why should I even consider updating from a Windows 7 OS that's still in support till 2020! And, take what is markedly a massive downgrade to Windows 10?

          Perhaps they are indeed correct... The less said about that, the better.

    3. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Free you say?

      I think traditional Linux distros are more a long term threat as people get savvier about their needs.

      Apple, being a hardware manufacturer, has tighter integration between the OS and the kit. There are many advantages for Apple one of which they do not need to sell their OS to make money. Apple users are more loyal and generally wealthier - MS has Apple envy bad. I think Apple will continue to be the more visible thorn.

      Google is offering at least two Linux based OSes (Android and ChromeOS/Chromebooks) to OEMs at a very attractive rate - free. Google is making their money from the app store/repository and advertising. Their play is to get users to use their OSes and collect money in other ways. Linux was probably chosen by Google because it is mature OS and the key bits are free to them (and me). Other than adding a pretty GUI and possibly a Google specific package manager it is good to go without much money being spent by Google. I think Google represents the more dangerous threat to MS.

      Google has realized that most users use their computers in very limited ways - the specifics vary depending on whether it is home or work. Most home users basically surf, email, watch cat videos, etc. These activities do not require expensive, proprietary software and in many cases the available FOSS is more than adequate. Users can get by without ever needing Windows at home. Business users are more likely to be tied to a specific application such as their accounting software. If it ran on another OS they would not be tied to Windows.

      Android and iOS have shown many people they do not need Windows at least on a phone. The next logical question to ask is does one need Windows on the PC.

    4. Teiwaz

      Re: Free you say?

      As much as it would be gratifying that MS considered linux a threat, generally accepted market share statistics make this seem ludicrous.

      My take is that it is more likely Google and Apple MS feel threatened by (and the thriving dev community that seems to dive in and out of Google, Apple and Linux, hence the 'OSS'ing of .net).

      The push for Win10 everywhere (hence free for a year) is to push the new app ecosystem to replace the old win32 api so they can add them through the store and take a cut, hence OSSing it's base, .net.

      Issues with the store as an income source is whether their customer base is apple oriented, which have been noted before as more likely to pay for apps, or Google android oriented, which have been noted to prefer frreebies over pay-for apps.

      Linux is certainly catching up in terms of casual user interface needs, some distros more than others, but it's it's not GNU/Linux itself that been the catalyst for Microsofts recent moves, despite the odd mudball and occassional wary handshake the company have offered over the past few years.

      1. GrumpenKraut

        Re: Free you say?

        > but it's it's not GNU/Linux itself that been the catalyst ...

        I tend to agree. I suggest the following as the MSFT problem: The O/S is increasingly considered as something that is expected to "be just there". That is, people are unwilling to pay anything for it. Linux (and, e.g, BSD) does it, all phones do, and (seemingly) Apple. Microsoft is entirely left behind here, once again bitten by their amazing lack of foresight.

        1. KA1AXY

          Re: Free you say?

          The other problem, is that Windows is known as "the OS you get when you buy a computer at Best Buy", which is not exactly the same as "look at the cool Macbook I just picked up at the Apple store"

          Microsoft is still fighting their image as the default OS that needs all kinds of extra stuff, like antivirus, to make it work right. Whereas Apple gear costs a bit more, but it "just works".

          For some reason, Microsoft thinks they can advertise their way out of this fundamental difference, and take market share from Apple (and Linux). I've said it before, what they really need to do, is pick a few core products and make them "world class" (another BS bingo keyword). Quit forcing users (and companies...mine just threw out our PBX and went over to Lync...oops...Business Skype) to upgrade to a new version with different bugs and concentrate on making a product with fewer buga and better reliability.

          1. DiViDeD

            Re: Free you say?

            I very much doubt that MS has any interest in taking market share from either Apple or Linux, at least in the desktop market. Let's face it - if MS took 100% of Apple's share, it would be a drop in the ocean comared to the current MS share.

            Maybe they're counting on taking a bigger slice of the mobile market, but even there people are already pretty entrenched in their existing choice. Perhaps the idea of being able to take their desktop game of Angry Birds with them on their phone might persuade people to get a phone that matches their new desktop, but I rather doubt it.

        2. Phuq Witt
          Linux

          Re: Free you say?

          ...I tend to agree. I suggest the following as the MSFT problem: The O/S is increasingly considered as something that is expected to "be just there"..."

          That's closer to the truth than the "stampede to OSX and Linux" notion, but I think you still way over-estimate the knowledge of the average computer user. Us Reg readers maybe opinionated about such things but (outside of my geeky friends) the vast majority of folks I know would stare at you blankly if you asked them what operating system their computer ran.

          It's not that they're exceptionally stupid, it's just not something that registers on their radar. Many wouldn't even grasp the concept of an operating system. To them the computer runs Word or Office, or is 'a Dell' an 'Asus' or 'an Apple'. And this last one is the reason that OSX has any market share with Joe Public at all:

          Apple have been exceptionally clever at building brand awareness. So Mr. J Public can ponder "Hmmm... Shall I get the Dell or the Apple?" and perhaps even opt for the Apple because it's the same brand as his nice iPhone. The awareness that an operating system is even "a thing", least of all one you can make choices about, need not even come into the equation.

          And that, my friends is why there's not going to be a 'stampede to Linux' this year, or any other year. It is a certain type of a certain component part of a device that most folks don't know even exists, so aren't going to make a purchasing decision upon, any more than they would buy their next phone, based on the manufacturer of the RAM, or their next car based on the brand of oil filter fitted.

          Ironically the only Linux dude who seems to "get it" is Shuttleworth who, with his commercial tie-ins, striving for idiot-proof interfaces and plans for mobile might actually threaten to make Ubuntu a recognisable brand that people might actually want to buy into. But unfortunately, such is the self-flagellating nature of much of the Linux user base that, rather than rally behind him, ShuttleBuntu is heaped with opprobrium for 'selling out' by the very people who most loudly, most often and most wrongly trumpet the 'The Year of Linux on the Desktop is Nigh'.

          Sometimes you just can't win!

    5. Terry 6 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: Free you say?

      Linux isn't for you average Joe, having to occasionally drop into the command line,

      As it happens command line AKA Powershell was pretty much my first port of call with Win 10.

      To get rid of as much of the Win 10 bloat as I could.

      And I like Win 10

      remove-appxpackage "packagefullname"

      for a whole bunch of c***p that comes with Win 10

    6. Not That Andrew

      Re: Free you say?

      The Linux desktop is coming and it's worrying MS and Apple

      You do realise that every year since 2000 or so has been the "Year of the Linux Desktop". I'd love for that to happen, but it's not going to

  7. Elmer Phud

    Upgrades?

    some of us remember the heady days of W98 and others -- where every single update needed a reboot or three just to get the Registry to agree with the rest of the system.

    (I've loaded a old crossword maker from W98 days to W8.1 and it's fine)

  8. Field Commander A9

    Typical El Reg FUD spreading machine going at full throttle.

    There really IS nothing new under the sun.

  9. Chronos
    Facepalm

    The answer is simple...

    ...and it's there as soon as you boot into the shiny, new OS: MS are playing catch-up with Google and moving into the targeted ads backed by profiling biz. Check out the number of "privacy" controls in Win 10 and pay particular attention to the names of the bits that they flip. We'll flip them but the Twitfacespacebookerati will probably remain blithely ignorant to their existence as long as they can still watch funny cat videos on Youtube.

    Cortana (hereinafter referred to as TSDB: That Spying Digital Bitch), Edge[ofReason], modern apps, they're all gateways for the flow of preference data from you and ingress portals to your eyeballs. Just like these free newspapers we used to get shoved through the door that lined the bottom of the budgie's cage, circulation is everything. That's why they're "giving away" Win 10 and it's also why corporates ain't getting it - because they generally have sysadmins who will come down on this sort of network traffic like a slightly manic, misanthropic ton of bricks.

    I do wonder whether the IT media's skirting around this simplest of explanations is due to the fact that most of it is ad supported anyway and Windows' taking revenue right on the desktop is seen as a little bit of a threat. Well, it isn't. It's more like using an H-bomb to open a bag of crisps given MS' market share and, like primitive people trying to avoid mentioning the devil just in case it appears, they're a bit afraid to look at the possible outcome.

    Once you get rid of all this dross by adding Classic Shell and Winaero tweaker then ripping out the spyware such as TSDB and OneDrive[sYouMad], it ends up looking remarkably like? Yep, Windows 7.

    The underlying OS isn't too bad, as far as I can see with my limited testing. However, don't mistake "free-as-in-beer" with "without cost." The bill hasn't dropped yet and, when it does, it may well turn out to be less of a bargain than we thought.

    And that's before we start on the cost to personal privacy.

  10. mafoo
    Coffee/keyboard

    Advert enhanced start menu

    Having seen what MS did with solitaire in windows 10, I wouldn't be surprised to see them add adverts to other parts of the system. In addition to the massive personal data slurp they've already put in.

    Cortana will defiantly have them - it basically does already courtesy of bing.

    I can see them slipping some adverts into the new start menu - removable, of course, by subscribing to office365 or windows365

  11. David Roberts
    Happy

    W7?

    "The daftest theory I’ve heard is that offering Windows 10 for free will encourage users to move away from older versions of Windows because Microsoft wants to stop supporting them. How does that work, then? It strikes me that 99% of all support calls taken by Microsoft at the moment will be from users having trouble with Windows 10. It would surely be in Microsoft’s own interest to dissuade users from upgrading at all, and support Windows 7 until the end of time."

    Consider that W10 may be W7 with what MS considers to be the bits worth saving from W8.

    Backward migration to W7 doesn't seem an option, especially as W8.1 is allegedly faster and smaller than W7.

    MS may have worked out that all the time wasted trying to prise XP from various cold dead hands has got in the way of world dominance and can't be allowed to happen again.

    Not paying for an upgrade by people who weren't going to pay for an upgrade anyway until their hardware died under them isn't a massive loss of revenue anyway. As I understand it most revenue comes from the sale of new systems. I would be still grimly using Vista32 if MS hadn't offered extremely reasonably priced upgrades to W8 64 bit (well, ordered on 64 bit W7 and then fettled via the clean install route). I did then get a free upgrade to W8.1 which is arguably a lot more than a service pack but more a mechanism for cutting W8 adrift from long term support or at least trying to persuade everyone to move on.

    So, although I enjoyed the light hearted article and especially the picture, it may be that in five years time we look back on the free upgrade as a stroke of genius.

    Or then again perhaps not.

    Oh, and to comply with commentard rules "Let the upvotes commence!"

  12. Chris_B

    Windows vs Linux

    After being a Windows stalwart for many years I finally switched the family laptop over to Linux Mint after contemplating paying hundreds for a shiny new version of Windows. Not only are the updates and patches now handled quickly and easily but more importantly it actually passes the SWMBO test. Easily.

    Haven't found anything I can't run under Mint that I need and the whole thing runs 100x faster.

    No wonder MS are worried when Linux is reaching a fairly mature (as in family friendly) age. A tipping point for Linux will arrive soon which I think MS might be trying to counter.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Windows vs Linux

      If they're trying to counter it they're going the wrong way about it. Their privacy policy can be changed at any time and Windows 10 autoupdates, so you accept the changes on the privacy policy by continuing your use of the computer.

      That, for many people, is enough to make them look for alternatives.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Windows vs Linux

        "so you accept the changes on the privacy policy by continuing your use of the computer" - that sounds like every single update to iOS or iTunes or...

        Here's our new policy, read all fifty pages of tiny text, then agree with it. It's even better with the iOS update, there's no way to say "eff off, no". You accept the new terms or your iDevice is a bit screwed since it has already upgraded and is showing you the terms before it'll let you use the upgrade...

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: Windows vs Linux

          On the bright side, showing the EULA after your device has already upgraded and not offering any way to reject it and roll back, means that it cannot be enforced in any civilised countries.

          Probably not even in the USA either.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Windows vs Linux

            "On the bright side, showing the EULA after your device has already upgraded and not offering any way to reject it and roll back, means that it cannot be enforced in any civilised countries."

            On the even brighter side, the last two iOS updates offered to email me the EULA so I opted for that.

            Neither of them arrived in my email, so Apple didn't keep their part of that bargain.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Windows vs Linux

          Well at the moment you can choose not to update iTunes or your iDevice.

          You can get the EULA's for iDevices from here before updating...

          https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/

    2. t20racerman

      Re: Windows vs Linux

      My elderly parents (78 & 74 at the time, now 4 years older) had used XP successfully for a few years and had become quite proficient as long as I kept helping them. However, their PC died and new PCs had the horrible Win 8 on, or if I searched around, Win 7. My parent's do struggle with any change, and as they have got older, they find IT things increasingly difficult.

      I decided to renovate an old PC and give it them with Linux Mint installed - set up as best as I could to look roughly the same as their old XP computer. It was a revelation. It took then very little time to get used to it and the many (oh so many...) phone calls I used to get asking me what various pop-ups or nag screens or malware notices were, decreased rapidly. It has been the best thing I did for them and now I only get very few phone calls asking me for help.

      They didn't even realise that they didn't have Microsoft Office on their Computer - My Mum got quite cross with me when I explained that LibreOffice was NOT Microsoft Office - "Yes it is" she said - "I do all my letters on it"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows vs Linux

        On one of my network of PCs I have UbuntuMate 14.04 LTS loaded. There is a useful little one line terminal tweak that makes the desktop look just like XP. They call it Redmond !

        see

        https://ubuntu-mate.community/t/ubuntu-mate-14-04-lts-useful-information/25

    3. mmeier

      Re: Windows vs Linux

      Linux might be considered for the desktop IF they ever get the necessary software working AND offer a better price (Why switch if there is no benefit). Currently that is not the case for

      OneNote in a "privat cloud/Sharepoint" mode (EverNote is "other peoples cloud")

      LightRoom (Darkroom is not on the same level)

      Photoshop (Sorry, GIMP is NOT in the same ballpark and that comes from a miser like me)

      Outlook/Exchange (okay Lotus/Domino does but it costs the same)

      Games (No, I will not mess with WINE, why add more work)

      Induktive Pens (Support is "as mouse" for Wacom, worse for NTrig)

      Miracast (Very useful privat and on the job)

      PowerPoint with all the bells and whistles

      Various commercial software packages

  13. jake Silver badge

    I much prefer my free upgrades to BSD and Slackware.

    Between the pair of them, two decades later ... It just works.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If something is free...

    ...you are the product being sold.

  15. Efros

    Tangerine Dream Concert

    Very entertaining, your ramblings brought to mind a TD concert I attended in Edinburgh back in the early 80s. Good concert populated by an overabundance of hair and greatcoats. Typically not a word was uttered by the band members throughout the concert and what makes the event memorable was the hairy who commented after the last encore... "Say sumfin you German bastards!", a master of wit and repartee.

  16. Irony Deficient

    disclosure

    Alistair,

    [Disclosure: I bought myself a pair of Beats in-ear phones recently in a sale and they’re OK. I am currently trying to destroy them with anti-culture by playing only early-1970s Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield on them. I like to think Dr Dre would be appalled.]
    If you bought it from an authorized retailer, Dr Dre won’t be appalled at all.

  17. muttley
    Pirate

    Tangerine Dream?

    Hip-hop will have sampled them, don't worry about that.

  18. Zog_but_not_the_first
    Facepalm

    Free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gillette and crack dealer tactics to name but two. Oldest trick in the book.

  19. Annihilator

    Free

    Until you try to change the handle and the brush of your broom in a year's time. Then it's far from clear what you're position is with regards to a Win 10 product key.

  20. Bill Ashley

    As long as you weren't talking smack about Lotus' Ami Pro. On BeOS 5.

  21. Tezfair
    Happy

    The way I look at it is....

    It's just Windows 8 with service pack 2 (hence binary 10)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The way I look at it is....

      And added adware.

      Microsoft gets into advertising just as revenues start to approach the zero asymptote and everybody else starts looking for a new funding model.

      Mind you, the NYT is getting really desperate these days trying to get me to look at it for money...only I don't visit NY any more, so not interested.

  22. x 7

    are them Beats thingies any good for playing King Crimson? Reason I ask is the Krims did make an album called "Beat" back in the early 1980's and I wondered if those head thingies had been optimised for Fripp's guitar. Or Levin's base......

    1. danielbUK

      Yes Beats have been optimised for King Crimson as Kim Kardashians husband sampled 21st century schiziod man for one of his songs called power

      1. x 7

        Indeed. Sampled without permission and then used in adverts.......

        he got a hefty suebill for that I believe........

      2. earl grey
        Happy

        Upvote for the Crimson ref

        +1, not allowed to give you more

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Was "Beat" the one with the blue cover? It didn't do much for me. The yellow and red ones were superb.

      1. x 7

        Alistair

        yes Beat was the blue one. A bit too MOR mainstream for most Krim fans. Easily the weakest of the three 1980's records.

  23. Stevie

    Bah!

    Riddled with factual errors as usual.

    Mike Oldfield and Phaedra+ TG are more accurately described as mid seventies.

  24. Nanners

    Just want to say

    well done sir, great piece of writing.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why free?

    Microsoft are like all large corporations in that they are creatures of habit. In this case they get their OS money from two sources; enterprise and retail customers. That is not going to change.

    Enterprise customers have expensive licenses and this will not change. They need support and being caught using unlicensed software is not worth the savings

    Retail customers do not buy OS. They go down to Currys, PC World or suchlike and buy a new PC and get whatever OS is bundled in with it. The problem for Microsoft has been that this hasn't been happening so much recently.

    It is here that we get to the (or at least a) answer to why Win10 is free. What Microsoft want is for everyone to take their five year old PCs and laptops, upgrade to Win10 without taking a full backup (I use Macrium) and then find that the drivers are a problem, the memory needs increasing, the processor isn't up to it etc. After a bit of frustration they head off to PC World or Currys and buy a new higher spec PC or laptop with Win10 bundled in and the Microsoft money pump is restarted.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Why free?

      Eastfinchleyite

      As it happens, I did buy a new laptop today, largely because of the update.

      Older child's three year old HP laptop has been a pain in the a*** from day one.

      It already has had a serious warranty repair then another repair out of warranty, and now having problems with the sound socket. So when the update to Win 10 stalled at 55%* I just thought sod it, headed up to Tesco at Borehamwood and got her a new one to take back to uni ( she can keep the old one to use at home - or else I'll wipe it and stick Mint on.)

      But if it hadn't been for the update I'd probably have had a new socket soldered in and kept it running for another year.

      *There are a few reports about this happening, on the web, but none seem to have a relevant solution

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why free?

      "What Microsoft want is for everyone to take their five year old PCs and laptops, upgrade to Win10 ... and then find that the drivers are a problem, the memory needs increasing, the processor isn't up to it etc"

      If so they may be disappointed. I ran the preview on an early Atom Mini-ITX board which is pretty basic H/W. The only driver issue was for an HP printer which I solved by downloading the 8.1 version from HP. As a matter of interest it would run Lotus Smartsuite (installed in backward compatibility mode) which I installed as a prerequisite for one of the old Office 97 competitive upgrade installs, also running in compatibility mode.

      Will it tempt me to migrate back from Linux? No. Migration from Linux will be to BSD.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Why free?

        Win10 is equal or even slightly less memory/power hungry than Win8.1. And that is smaller than Win7(Upgraded a few W7 boxes) So any decend 2010/2011 hardware capabel of running W7 should be able to run the stuff. And driver support for W8 works in W10 and is quite extensive.

    3. Michael Habel

      Re: Why free?

      It is here that we get to the (or at least a) answer to why Win10 is free. What Microsoft want is for everyone to take their five year old PCs and laptops, upgrade to Win10 without taking a full backup (I use Macrium) and then find that the drivers are a problem, the memory needs increasing, the processor isn't up to it etc. After a bit of frustration they head off to PC World or Currys and buy a new higher spec PC or laptop with Win10 bundled in and the Microsoft money pump is restarted.

      Or figure out that MicroSoft couldn't code its way out of a Paper Bag, at this point, and transition over to Cinnamon Mint, simples!

  26. Paul 87

    Microsoft is already making money from Windows 10 thanks to the sheer volume of data that they're able to harvest from users machines, and the direct tie-in to Bing as an advertising platform. You're an idiot to believe that you'll ever be able to fully prevent Windows 10 from phoning home unless you use the machine totally offline or cripple the functionality by blocking the network access.

    1. Martin Maloney
      Thumb Down

      @ Paul 87

      Does the "average" PC user have a clue about privacy? They endlessly blab intimate details of their lives on Facebook and Twitter and upload stupid videos of themselves to YouTube.

      They will LOVE Cortana and the "convenience" afforded by the Microsoft account. They don't comprehend that the same technology that gives them access to everything from one location also grants Microsoft the same access. Don't even try to tell them that it should be named "Windows 1984."

      On a completely different note, after reading how to rollback, I did test upgrades on two computers. The old laptop has X1250 graphics, and the desktop has HD 5450. In each case, the Win10 Pro upgrade only loaded the default VGA driver, giving me only two choices -- 1024x768 and 800x600. Epic fail!

      Hell, I'm 71 years of age. Windows 7 support might outlive me!

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: @ Paul 87

        Hell, I'm 71 years of age. Windows 7 support might outlive me!

        I should dearly hope not dear Sir!

        1. x 7

          Re: @ Paul 87

          back when I worked at that muslim-owned company midway between Blackburn and Burnley, I got a support call from a chap who was 98 and just purchased his first computer and needed help setting up.

          As an aside I asked "why has a chap your age just developed an interest in computers"

          The reply "how else am I supposed to help the kids with their homework....."

          It wasn't clear if he meant his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren........I was too busy laughing myself silly. I hope he lasted a few more years to enjoy it - and I hope you do likewise

      2. mmeier

        Re: @ Paul 87

        The question is "do I care"? Company box has no live account and runs on the local AD, uses local Sharepoint etc. Sure, that is "da law".

        Privat units use a MS account, OneDrive, Sharing and since recently even Office365 with all the gadgets. Yes, that means MS can "read my mail". But I do not have anything in that box that I could not publish in the local newspaper so it simply does not matter.

  27. Palpy

    Strategy or grasping at straws?

    I just don't know if MS is really following a seriously thought-out strategy, or stumbling from temporary tactic to fallback tactic.

    I mean, the idea was to unite Windows Phone and Win Tablets with their PC OS, making a unifying Windows Experience -- one so Winderful that users would drop their Android and iOS devices in the bin the instant they saw Windows. That would be Windows 8.

    No-go.

    Fallback: Repair the hated Win 8 in Win 8.1, promise better things in Win 10.

    Behind the scenes, surely the MS corporate strategists are still trying to see how to get Windows into the mobile computer market in a bigger way. Yadda, yadda: they see iOS and Android running on all these hand-helds and the MS strategy thinkers still think that's the future and MS is still not part of it.

    So. I dunno, but it seems MS giving Windows 10 to consumers for free is, strategically speaking, stumbling from mistake to failure to a fallback. The strat boys still want One Windows Everywhere but it can't be Win 8.0, or 8.1. That failed. It has to be 10. So they have to get every PC possible onto 10, and along the way tie users as closely to the MS system and slurp as much data as possible. And then somehow, someway, manage to break into a phone-and-tablet market where Android already has the low-end market and iOS owns the high end -- after the first attempts failed. (So long Nokia; nice try, Surface.)

    Actually, I don't know that any of what I've written makes sense. Personally I'm at the periphery of digital consumerism; all my machines are relatively old and run Linux, except for the second-hand Macs, and one rather sad Win 7 relegated to a small partition on one box. So I probably misunderstand MS strategy vis-a-vis markets and consumers. Just my two pfennigs.

    1. GrumpenKraut

      Re: Strategy or grasping at straws?

      > So I probably misunderstand MS strategy ...

      That happens to a lot people, because MSFT doesn't appear to have any. Unless "current strategy, to be dropped withing two years" does count.

      Decades of complacency, this is the result of it. Well and truly deserved.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Strategy or grasping at straws?

      >> Actually, I don't know that any of what I've written makes sense.

      I experience this every week.

  28. John Gamble

    "I am currently trying to destroy them with anti-culture by playing only early-1970s Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield on them. I like to think Dr Dre would be appalled.]"

    So, are Tangerine Dream playing in the left ear while Mike Oldfield plays in the right, or vice versa?

  29. Mark 85

    A lot of things unsaid behind the scenes...

    Yes, MS could suddenly start invoicing for "upgrades", patches, etc.

    Or as has been pointed out, they want your data for advertisers.

    By pushing this to the PC and then the tablet market there's a foot in the door for the advertising model. All that's left is the phones... get them and they have you as a captive audience for whoever flings cash for ads at them.

    It's also possible that MS is looking at a combination package.. "don't want ads while working in Word or anytime we feel like pushing some at you... here's an invoice each month but we'll still suck your data for when you're browse the web."

    Yes, they need income, and while their execution on things like phones and tablets has been less than steller, I suspect they've learned a few things. Plus, with Ballmer gone, there's a bit room for a grand plan instead of a reactionary one.

    Like a lot of others here, I'm holding fast on Win7. Once I see where this is headed, I'll either go with Win10 (as one should with any "new" OS from MS) or go with Linux or (god forbid) a Mac.

  30. Keith 12

    My 2 cents worth:

    Let’s recall Office ’97: Free with a new PC with most of the Office suite included…

    Microsoft have nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by giving away Windows 10 – even as a temporary upgrade to pirated versions. (MS are fully aware of how easy it is to obtain & install a pirated version of 7 or 8)

    Most pukka users with Win 7 & 8 will be looking to obtain a “free” copy of 10 when they buy their next PC – which could be years away (and no income for MS in the meantime - look at how many XP PC’s are still around).

    As MS sees it the sooner (and the more the merrier) MS can get everyone on 10 the faster they can introduce and enjoy some form of payment from it.

    Everyone and his Uncle wants a pound of flesh every month nowadays: Amazon, Adobe, Netflix, Mobile contracts, Sky, et al – it’s the not so new business model.

    Personally, I see this as THE opportunity for Linux to really go mainstream – IF they can get their act together to persuade Joe Public it’s a real and easy to use alternative. (That’s not MY opinion of Linux by the way, it’s an opinion shared by many end users of MS Desktops)

    It will be a small window of opportunity though – the Mobile generation, already indoctrinated into paying monthly for everything, won’t have any issues with paying for 10 on the same basis.

    I’ve run up a Virtual of 10, based on that, and many articles I’ve read since, I won’t be upgrading anytime soon.

    1. DavCrav

      "the Mobile generation, already indoctrinated into paying monthly for everything, won’t have any issues with paying for 10 on the same basis."

      I'm not so sure. I wouldn't pay monthly for a dishwasher or a freezer. Not many other people would. If you are the sort of person to conflate Windows and the PC, then you would not be impressed at buying the PC and paying a monthly fee to rent it as well. It's not going to work.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there before..

    .. although not with free, but with 'substantially reduced" prices for education. I don't hink there is a soul in existence who didn't warn the schools that this was the proverbial first free shot of crack and they would end up paying, but no, "Bill Gates was supporting education".

    And lo, what happened a few years later? Yup, the prices went up. Not sure if that was before or after Billy boy goy knighted by the Queen for his ability to extract money from the UK school system but boy, oh, boy, you should have heard the wailing. But, like all good crack addicts they kept buying, because that was less embarrassing than admitting they were played, and played proper.

    I suspect this will be a replay. Yes, it'll be free now. And then there will be v10.1, which will come in as yet another automatic update, you know, the stuff you cannot avoid because you may otherwise have a giant hole in your OS through which any random hacker can suck you bank details. And v10.1 introduces monthly charges for updates. Because you have nowhere to go - all the Linux boys are forgetting that you have just sunk a lot of money into software that will not run on anything but Windows. And then MS Word gets an update, probably with another way to avoid ODF properly, but it is an update and guess what? You need that paid-for version of W10 to run it. Or maybe you need to pay a subscription to prevent advertising taking more and more of your screen real estate.

    These are just some scenarios. I am not certain which one will play, but I am *absolutely* certain that "free" is not on the cards. Anyone who thinks Microsoft will offer ANYTHING for free needs a serious lesson in economics - and history.

  32. Pronounce

    Drinking the Win10 Koolaid

    I've had to uninstalled and hide KB3035583 and KB2952664 numerous times on a whole fleet of computers. Microsoft is being Mola Ram from Indiana Jones - Temple of Doom and trying to force me to drink their poison.

    http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/3416263_f520.jpg

    1. earl grey
      Flame

      Re: Drinking the Win10 Koolaid

      I just took ownership of their POS program, renamed it, and never see it again....didn't have to uninstall anything...

  33. Planty Bronze badge
    Mushroom

    It was never free.

    Nothing is ever free when it comes to Microsoft.

    http://oi60.tinypic.com/2rypoio.jpg

    They basically think everyone is an idiot and they can get everyone onto "Windows 8+2" by sticking a free sticker (limited time offer of course) and then start charging them for every little feature.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Just think about it

    MS makes money off its OS via new computers and upgrades. With Win10 they will still get money from new computers. As far as upgrades, as the XP installed base shows, charging for them makes people ignore them and means that MS programmers have multiple OS versions that have to be maintained for zero revenue.

    MS's business model is moving to SAAS - software as a service. Office 365 brings in more revenue than a standalone product starting in the second year. I wouldn't be surprised if Office 2016 is the last standalone suite they offer. It also increases people's use of and commitment to OneDrive as opposed to Google Drive and other cloud services.

    In addition, Win10 integration with Xbox will shore up their console market at a time when Sony is making gains. Expect to see this emphasized in Xbox ads this holiday season.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just think about it

      Nope. IMO, seeing the decline in desktop sales - MS's main revenue stream historically - they've decided to switch to the Google /Facebook model. So they provide WIn10 free, but now they're getting money from advertisers, who buy data Win10 gathers on your interests and habits so they can 'help you' with personalised advertising.

      In short, WIndows is no longer the (main) product being sold. Users of Windows 10 are the product being sold, so it makes sens eto make Win10 uptake as easy as possible, and 'free' helps that enormously. I don't think it's either Linux or Apple MS have their eyes on - I think it's Facebook and Twitter.

  35. OzBob

    Windows 10 seems to be designed as spyware

    From reading other articles about it (on el Reg), it appears to upload to micro$ all your usage information for the purposes of "customer service improvement". So your information will be marketted around to vendors to offset the costs of developing the OS. So much for Ghostery.

  36. John Tserkezis

    Bloat? What bloat?

    "Don’t blame Microsoft: WordPerfect and its ilk committed slow-motion suicide. Essentially, they turned themselves into bloatware and died as a natural consequence of morbid obesity."

    Because Microsoft have NEVER EVER been accused of bloat. EVER.

    Yeah right.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Bloat? What bloat?

      That happened AFTER they got a stranglehold on the market.

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Bloat? What bloat?

      >> Because Microsoft have NEVER EVER been accused of bloat. EVER.

      Except when I did, at the end of the column.

      1. GrumpenKraut
        Trollface

        Re: Bloat? What bloat?

        What do you expect? Actually READING the article before commenting? Madness!

  37. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I think it's the store

    I think the reasons for free Windows 10 are probably simple and 2-fold:

    1) They have not had the success with the Windows Store they wanted. They have often proven over the years to be QUITE stubborn, when something doesn't sell how they'd hoped, they'll just try again and again and again (maybe not again after that, but at least 2 or 3 times) to build sales. Even past the point where it doesn't make economic sense (see Surface tablets for another example -- and yes, to me it's a tablet with a bad add-on keyboard, not whatever they want people to call it.) I could fully see them releasing Windows 10 for free JUST to try to show they can increase Windows Store sales.

    2) Even when they've wanted to increase usage of some product or service, in no case have they been wiling to add support for any older version of Windows to do so. Could they port WinRT and the Store to Windows 7? I'm sure they could, and it probably would even be pretty easy... it probably all just runs on top of a .NET runtime. But they will not do so.

    To summarize, I think they want to increase Windows Store sales at any cost, except the cost of porting it back to Windows 7.

    1. Michael Habel

      Re: I think it's the store

      To summarize, I think they want to increase Windows Store sales at any cost, except the cost of porting it back to Windows 7.

      Well OTOH, that would be pretty stupid.... Assuming this was indeed their endgame. On the other hand, I'm just as happy for them NOT doing it.... 'Cause that would probably be the start of the Great MicroSoft exodus to the promised lands of BSD / Linux then. I mean what does Office365 care what I run... As long as it presumably runs a HTML5 Browser?! Assuming I'm that hard tied to their Office Teet. That a break with Open / Libre / Star -- Office was somehow not possible.

      I gather retro sells well?! So why not resurrect Word Perfect again for the 21st Century?! As the replacement for a non-existent M$ Word?!

  38. earl grey
    Stop

    Software as a service

    I will repeat what my father used to tell me.

    Service is what a bull gives a cow.

  39. Michael Habel

    [surly...]

    It would surely be in Microsoft’s own interest to dissuade users from upgrading at all, and support Windows 7 until the end of time.

    But, wheres the Money in that?! When you can pay M$ a 1.99$ a Month, or a penance of 9.99$ per annum to remove ads on Solitaire now? This is where the future of Windows lies in Micro-transactions, and Freemiums. Of course your jaded, clueless Windows 8.x user will point out that they've known no other way (as far as Ads in Solitaire go..), even if the rest of our memory's can trace it back as part of the OS proper these last what Twenty-Five Years, or so now?!

    ... And, don't call me Shirley!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    I see more machines have been upgrades to Windows 10 in tha last 72 hours than the entire installed base of OS X since Time Began.

  41. src

    Wheezer

    I really liked that Wheezer video on the Windows 95 install disk. Does Windows 10 come with a nice song?

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Wheezer

      Wheezer?

      Mine had this on it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqL1BLzn3qc

      (goodness, I've just realised it's been about twenty years since I last watched/heard that - I now feel positively ancient)

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Wheezer

        My W95 OEM CD had both! =)

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: Wheezer

          Mine also had both

    2. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: Wheezer

      "Does Windows 10 come with a nice song?"

      One Direction?

  42. Matticulas

    How Microsoft plan to make us pay!

    If you're upgrading from a full licenced copy of Windows 7 or 8.1 then you get a Windows 10 licence that's like an old Windows OEM licence. Hence if you ever change your PC's internal hardware (i.e. motherboard, CPU, GPU) then the hash code for your unique hardware combination will change and Windows 10 will ask you to reactivate your copy. Your choice at this point will be to pay Microsoft for a new licence or downgrade to your previous version of Windows (which I guess may have to be a clean reinstall, so make sure you don't keep data on your system drive). Alternatively leave your hardware as is.

    I don't think many people are clear on these conditions but it certainly seems that it's Microsoft's plan to give us our first taste of Windows 10 for free and once were addicted then they're going to make us pay.

  43. cashxx

    Windows will be a subscription service in another couple of years is what I think is going on! Get everyone on board with a free upgrade and keep releasing updates and then turn it into online upgrades then start charging a monthly/yearly fee.

    That will be the day I stop building PC's and remove them from my house and only use Macs!

  44. MrScott

    Warning: Windows is not free everywhere ( ...thats statistically improbable )

    Microsoft latest OS enclosed. User may self destruct if installed. If Windows OS found wandering the wild, dispose of software in flame retardant container Brilliant really, reminds me of Windows 2000 and Vista(aka 2003). Nothing really special about an OS X. X marks the spot. Start digging and emerge in China. Probably already available on black market in China for 100000 Yen. Maybe Microsoft will come out in the black after all.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: Warning: Windows is not free everywhere ( ...thats statistically improbable )

      Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Windows 10.

      Do not taunt Cortana.

      Windows 10 has been shipped to our forces in Syria and our warplanes are bombing IS with copies of Windows 10 now.

      Do not splash Windows 10 with water after midnight.

  45. Trollslayer

    Maintenance

    An honest, modest maintenance fee would be fair but won't happen.

  46. Palpy

    A bit orf-topic, but...

    I booted to my home Win7 partition for the first time since mid-June, and had a try at disabling the Win10 updater. GWX.exe is owned by "Trusted Installer" and can't be deleted or renamed ... no changing permissions, either, at least not from the admin avenues I tried. OK, fine, got all instances off-disk anyway. But it appears that the updater will re-install. There's a scheduled task to check and re-install GWX.exe if it's missing. So I edited the registry keys for that too. (Note that running scheduled tasks applet as admin didn't do it in my case -- again, the GWX re-install task was locked and loaded.)

    Do read Dediomedo's write-up, it's more knowledgeable than my brief whine: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/windows-7-to-10-gwx-how-to-remove.html

    The point is, regardless of the merits or demerits of Win10, I now dislike Microsoft's malware-like updater enough to avoid the OS through sheer pique.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Please

      I suppose your day job isn't Windows admin, which is of course fine (or indeed merciful!), but to change permissions like that, you'd have to take ownership first, then allow full control.

  47. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Coat

    I’ll ask my window cleaner if he’ll accept “exposure” instead of the usual £20

    Try that Dabbsy and he's likely to punch you in the throat! :-)

    Mines the dirty Mac!

  48. CrosscutSaw

    Rockin' article

    Thanks for providing a soundtrack to the article, well done :)

  49. Matthew 17

    spyware

    A lot of sites reporting on the high level of customer data W10 collects about its users.

    You wouldn't expect to be spied on that much if your machine had been rooted!

    I think this is how MS is able to give an OS away for free without having to sell hardware.

  50. Vetis

    2 pages without actually saying anything, nice work.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Et tu?

      I also reckon he got paid a lot more per word than you did for your asinine comment as well. Is your blood actually boiling?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get your company to spaff out for an MSDN account and get a source ISO that can be installed from scratch without buggering about with upgrades prereqs and potentially dodgy emails. Or simply pull a torrent proxy site and fill your boots!

  52. Geoffrey Madden

    Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

    Initially, not knowing whether I was being offered a gift horse or a pig in a poke, I agreed to have Windows 10 on a backup PC, but ignored the UK state broadcasting monopoly's backing of the new Microsoft project and cancelled the reservation after reading a little more about it. A Trojan horse might be a more apt metaphor.

    Microsoft say that I would have a month to revert to the Windows 7 that I paid for. Some hopefuls think that WindowsImageBackup would be a lifeline for the existing OS, but as Microsoft has a record of the product key, presumably any machine online could be in jeopardy.

  53. Fading
    Alien

    So I spent Saturday...

    Upgrading the other half's Alienware machine from Win 7 pro..... took hours.....

    Long story short:

    She now has a lovely clean install of Win 7 pro.

    I'll try again sometime but I think I'll wait until the official - your upgrade is ready - message.

  54. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    Nah

    Get enough punters on there, take away any route back to the previous OS they bought and then hit 'em that it has become a subscription package.

    If you think you have discovered a gold mine, just be careful of the shaft.

  55. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    WIll the next iteration

    Be Windows Free point One?

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