back to article Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year

Microsoft is planning a big push for Windows 10 and will be giving away the new operating system to Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8 users in the first year of release. "With Windows 10, we think of the operating system as 'Windows as a service'," said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of operating systems. "In next few …

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  1. Banksy
    Pint

    I'm free!

    A very sensible move from Microsoft, they're obviously aiming for a very high installed base from the outset. Much unlike Win 8.

    I'll be taking them up on the offer.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'm free!

      Interesting that they didn't include WinXP in the list of starter platforms. Seems to me that, if they really, really wanted to do away with XP once and for all, they'd be targeting it with this offer from the outset.

      But then, my daddy didn't raise me to be a marketdroid, so ....

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: I'm free!

        Since Win8, the kernel has required CPU features that didn't exist when XP came out and which weren't universally available until the middle of the last decade. I imagine that offering a free upgrade to a load of consumers with XP-era hardware would have been a support nightmare. Yes, you would rig the upgrade process to check before changing anything, but you'd have to tell the ineligible users that they weren't in fact eligible, contrary to what they'd read in your adverts. Good luck with trying to explain instruction set extensions to Joe Public.

        Also, they probably figure that anyone still using XP after last years doom-mongering is unlikely to have done so purely on grounds of price, and Win10 won't actually run all those IE6 intranet apps.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: I'm free!

          TBH I do not know if it would run on my XP PC, which was built just before Windows 7 was released (so XP was the current version of Windows at the time), but it is a quad core 4GB and thinks it is embedded.

          Perhap it way, perhaps MS should offer a checking tool.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I'm free!

        XP isn't getting a free upgrade because of hardware specs and there's still real money to be made with updates and support contracts.

        What about people with Vista though? It's practically Windows 7 once the Platform Update has been installed, the install base isn't that high, yet MS still can't resist giving them another poke in the eye.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

      ""With Windows 10, we think of the operating system as 'Windows as a service'," said Terry Myerson, Microsoft's VP of operating systems."

      So is he saying you can't buy Windows 10, you have to pay protection money forever and ever? (Subscription only?) If so, then in my organization, Windows 10 is DOA.

      1. Radelix

        Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

        I am cautiously optimistic about their future model for windows. Adopting a wait and see etc

      2. J J Carter Silver badge

        Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

        >in my organization, Windows 10 is DOA<

        Are you speaking as the CFO? Many organisations are heartily sick of IT needing big lumps of capital for point-in-time "upgrades" which create an asset of dubious value. The predictable, tax-deductible payment for 'Windows as a Service' which can be ramped up or down to match headcount may be preferred.

        1. Andy Livingstone

          Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

          "upgrades". Capital Expenditure?

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

          >"upgrades" which create an asset of dubious value.

          So then you depreciate the asset, which gives you your tax deduction?

          Rental might be easier, but I know banks who were still running XP last year. I would hope a CFO might take a 13-year sweating of assets over paying four times that, just to get an easier tax deduction.

        3. Lord Egerton

          Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

          >in my organization, Windows 10 is DOA<

          >Are you speaking as the CFO? Many organisations are heartily sick of IT needing big lumps of capital for point-in-time "upgrades" which create an asset of dubious value. The predictable, tax-deductible payment for 'Windows as a Service' which can be ramped up or down to match headcount may be preferred.

          I completely agree, we've moved to yearly payment via an Enterprise Agreement. It's great for us in IT as we have a constantly shifting workforce, but we have to keep explaining what it is to the Finance Dept. Collective memory like a goldfish comes to mind.

      3. Stefan Leslie

        Reply to: The Man Who Fell To Earth

        No, that is *not necessarily* what they are saying. At this point do not draw conclusions. He could be intending that the approach to Windows will not be version by version (e.g. XP to Vista) for the next while, rather like a web service i.e. you get "Windows" once, and new versioning just gets rolled out as updates, no need to buy 'upgrades'.

        But at this point don't jump to conclusions.

      4. BonezOz

        Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot

        I think that this paragraph points to Windows 10 not being subscription:

        "The upgrade will only be free in the first 12 months after release and will last for the "supported lifetime of the device." Microsoft said the new OS will run on PCs, tablets, phones, and a new device to be announced later today."

        And honestly, don't most organisations already pay a type of subscription fee? It's called "Software Assurance."

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot: Re: Subscription

        "2:24PM

        Q: Subscriptions?

        A. Nadella: There is no fundamental shift to our business model....We want to be able to service our customers more like an Internet service. (So, emphatically NOT subscription Windows.)"

        [Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/windows-10-live-blog-2015-1#ixzz3PUnIswAv]

        1. Jes.e

          Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot: Subscription

          Re: I'm free! No, you're an idiot: Re: Subscription

          "2:24PM

          Q: Subscriptions?

          A. Nadella: There is no fundamental shift to our business model....We want to be able to service our customers more like an Internet service. (So, emphatically NOT subscription Windows.)"

          [Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/windows-10-live-blog-2015-1#ixzz3PUnIswAv]

          ...

          So they want to service you like Comcast or your ISP?

          Good thing I don't have a dirty mind..

    3. mafoo
      Meh

      Re: I'm free!

      ""Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we'll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime for the device.""

      So... does that mean that windows is locked to my hardware profile? and every time I upgrade a component after 12 months I will have to re-purchase it? Or the serial number I used to procure the Win10 update is consumed and locked to that device unable to use it again?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm free!

        "So... does that mean that windows is locked to my hardware profile?"

        Basically they are saying its the same licence as W7 OEM - which was basically only allowing re-installation during the manufacturer's hardware warranty period. Presumably the OEM builders had an arrangement to do that. In my home experience you can't move, or reinstall, on a new motherboard. Even the W7 Retail seemed to have cloning protection that limited any hardware changes, including a new disk, to one every three months.

        If they are treating their free upgrade as an OEM - then that could be debated as fair enough. If that's the only option for W10 then they are cutting out anyone who does their own hardware upgrades.

        1. James 47

          Re: I'm free!

          You can install windows on a new motherboard.

          There's a program somewhere (spui maybe) that displays a set of numbers and a freefone number to call. You enter the numbers and it gives you back some more. Enter those in that program earlier and windows is activated again. It's all free, no human interaction, and takes about 5 mins.

          1. Hazmoid
            Go

            Re: I'm free!

            Went through this exercise as Christmas time with the son's computer, took his hard drive and video card and built a new computer around them. Because we had the OEM version of Win 7 pro 64 bit, it fired up ok then expected us to re-activate. Had to do this over the phone as we had issues with connecting to the internet service. All good now.

        2. BillG Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: I'm free!

          In my home experience you can't move, or reinstall, on a new motherboard. Even the W7 Retail seemed to have cloning protection that limited any hardware changes, including a new disk, to one every three months

          In Win XP you can move to new hardware by a nice hack.

          Clone the original HD, put new HD back in the original hardware, boot, say a prayer then open Device Manager and delete all system devices and drivers (ouch!). POWER OFF the machine (do not shutdown Windows), then put new HD in new hardware. After a few reboots, you're in new hardware. Works most of the time, if it doesn't, that's why you saved your original HD.

    4. thames

      Re: I'm free!

      I suspect they want to kill off Windows 8 ASAP, so they can forget it ever was. As for Windows 7, it's shaping up to the be next Windows XP - the thing that refuses to die and devours their product evolution strategy. Windows XP users however will be left to slowly die on the vine.

      I've tried the betas of Windows 10 in a VM and used it to test software. While I'm not a fan of Windows in general, I think that you could sit most Windows XP, Vista, and 7 users down in front of it and they wouldn't be any more unhappy than they would with any other change. I remember trying the betas of Windows 8 and thinking what a mess that was. I'm not seeing that with Windows 10.

      On the other hand, I don't like the "all your data is belong to us" cloud/data harvest focus in Windows 10. It's an absolute pain in the arse to try to turn that off on installation, and I don't know how to turn it off retroactively, or check if it is off. If I wanted to send all my personal details off to another country to be pawed over by sweaty foreigners, I would type them into Facebook and forgo the illusion of privacy. Somehow the "personal" seems to be going out of the "personal computer" and it's getting turned into the watchtower in a panopticon.

      1. skeptical i
        Facepalm

        NOOOOOOOOO! [was: I'm free!]

        re: "Windows XP users however will be left to slowly die on the vine." I would never claim that XP is perfect, but has Microsoft offered anything since that would justify cost + time + hassle of "upgrading" and migrating all my goodies (some of which would have to be upgraded, unless MS' latest and greatest can really work an elderly version of Photoshop)? My choice to make, and YMMV.

        Need an icon with Munch's "The Scream" on it, but facepalm will do for now.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: I'm free!

        " they wouldn't be any more unhappy than they would with any other change"

        Well that just about wraps it up for product evolution strategy; go for minimum user unhappiness. The alternative being, of course, what we do should make people happy.

    5. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Re: I'm free!

      It's a trap.

      I will get a "free" upgrade to the 8.1 that I paid for and can keep for as long as I want, but after the free year is up I will have to pay for it every year on subscription, like Office365.

      Not free at all, then.

      1. Stefan Leslie

        Re: I'm free!

        He might not be talking about paid subscriptions, I think he's talking about 'service' i.e. Windows versions will be downplayed. You get on board and new versions are rolled out automatically, no need to go buy an upgrade DVD.

        It doesn't make much difference any way. The vast majority of computers will come with Windows pre-installed. The number of people who change the OS during the lifetime of the computer is very low. So the 'upgrade' merry-go-round is sort of out-dated.

        What I think he is saying in other words - don't hold me to this - is that you buy a computer with the Windows service pre-installed, and it upgrades automatically, no need to buy the upgrade DVD three years later.

        It's early yet and there may be changes.

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: It's a trap

        fair enough. Loads of journos now say this is not a subscription trap. I was probably wrong about that.

        I guess after years of being stitched up, suspicion comes too naturally.

        1. CompUser

          Re: It's a trap

          Go read their corporate 10 year plan AND Nadella's letter to employee's. Both state that the future of the PC OS is a subscription OS.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm free!

      Watch the small print. Rumoured to not include OEM installs. If you BOUGHT a retail copy of Windows7 or 8, then it's free, if your device came with it, it's not...

    7. Planty Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: I'm free!

      Are you prepared to pay for it after the first year? Yep. That's the small print. You are moving your operating system from a pay once, keep forever model, to a rent model.

      You get Windows 10 for the first year and then you pay for it yearly, like Office365.

      Still interested? I thought not.....

      1. skeptical i
        Pirate

        first hit's always free [was: I'm free!]

        "You get Windows 10 for the first year and then you pay for it yearly, like Office365."

        As your local neighborhood heroin dealer has been doing since forever. Crimes of moral turpitude indeed.

    8. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: I'm free!

      Subscription Windows is coming, like Subscription Office365. Two to three years from now it will be necessary to pay to keep your Windows licensed IF you want it.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Danger Will Robinson?

    "With Windows 10 we think of the operating system as 'Windows as a service,'" said Terry Myerson, VP of operating systems at Redmond."

    Free for starters, then regular rent payments required a la Adobe?

    1. dogged

      Re: Danger Will Robinson?

      That sounded like marketing given that they were talking about users installing updates. Sounds no different to 7 or 8.1 and Windows Update to me.

    2. MysteryGuy

      Re: Danger Will Robinson?

      > "The question of 'what version are you running' will cease to make sense".

      It sounds like their plans for world domination have continued unabated. Switch to a subscription 'perpetual rent' model, make it so you can only buy 'apps' from them in their walled garden (they decide what gets sold, and take a cut on every transaction), etc.

      It sounds like they still plan to give short-shrift to the 'traditional desktop' in favor of 'mobile everywhere'.

      Still seems like a bad plan for the consumers (in general) and desktop users (in particular) to me...

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Danger Will Robinson?

      They cannot suddenly switch an OS that you bought or came with your computer to a rental model. As well as being illegal in the western world and getting them sued into bankrupcy, there'd be an avalanche of Wintel landfill when the 12 months are up.

    4. dogged

      Re: Danger Will Robinson?

      This is confirmed false and now clearly a case of dodgy reporting.

      During the post-event Q&A Terry Myerson said "Upgrading is free if you do it within a year. If you upgrade later than a year after launch there will be a cost associated with doing so.This is not a subscription model. *aside to guy next him* that would be nuts. Nobody would do that".

      So, there you go. Business as usual, one year special offer on price (100% reduction), no subscription, some really nasty spin from the journalists present* and the usual paranoid hate and FUD from El Reg's legion of Google employees commentards.

      * speaking of which, the video of the event is crazy. Watch what happens when they bring out the hologram stuff. Did you see that? That's right, nothing happens. Show these people a slightly bigger iPhone and they scream and cheer and clap and weep for the genius of Apple. Show them some Tony Stark-level working technology and they go "meh".

      I think we have the wrong journalists.

  3. GreggS

    I'm not frightened of installing this

    ..You will be. You will be.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    Cortana?

    I'm still waiting for it on my Lumia 1020. At least I think I am, nobody has told me it's available or that I have it installed, and voice recognition is only good enough for "phone mum" or "call 0123 456 789".

    1. Andy Non
      Joke

      Re: Cortana?

      I had a Ford Cortana thirty odd years ago. Used to overheat and dribble radiator fluid all over the engine. Hope the Microsoft version doesn't leak.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cortana?

        Don't forget the mandatory 'Engineers Friend' [1] that you had to have under the front seat. you know for the times when the starter motor didn't work. Dagenham's finest.

        [1] A decent sized Hammer needed if you drove a Mk 1 or Mk 2 Cortina esp the 1600E

        1. GrumpyOldMan

          Re: Cortana?

          I think you'll find it's Cortina with an 'i'. And anyway - I needed a hammer in my Mk 1 Escort. Cortinas and escorts could be opened with almost any key (did so by accident after a party!), wonder if Microsoft have built that feature in?

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Cortana?

            But is it XFlow or Pinto?

      2. joed Silver badge

        Re: Cortana?

        "Hope the Microsoft version doesn't leak." - Well, it sure does, by design. It'll rummage through user's one drive all connected device storage. It's either convenience or security.

    2. Fuzz

      Re: Cortana?

      For Cortana in the UK you need the Denim update. It's rolling out at the moment, check here https://www.microsoft.com/en/mobile/support/software-update/wp8-software-update/ to see if it has been released for your device/region

    3. cambsukguy

      Re: Cortana?

      Install an app called firmware update checker, or just wait, probably about 2 months for the 1020.

      Or, you can use it now by switching your phone to the USA locale. It won't be as UK centric though.

  5. keithpeter
    Childcatcher

    Options...

    "Cortana will be built into the operating system."

    And we can switch it off easily?

    Another paperclip looms for humble desktop users...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Options...

      And we can switch it off easily?

      To quote Robin Williams, "Fuck NOOOOooo!" They'll build it into Ring 0 just like they did with GDI, so as to "improve performance"...and make it neigh on impossible to be rid of. (After all, it listens to your conversations, doesn't it? Why would Micros~1, or any of its TLA "sponsors", want you to shut the thing off?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Options...

        Upvoted for "Why would Micros~1", how much pain that kludgey workaround caused me all those years ago - including a customer site where it prevented updates from being written, seemingly on random files.

        Brings back memories, and not fond ones.

      2. Andy Livingstone

        Re: Options...

        Bell removed? Replaced by a neigh?

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Facepalm

          @ Andy -- Re: Options...

          Nope...simply fat-fingered typing "nigh"

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