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 …

  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

        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"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Options...

        Cortana Built in..., just Just like the damned cloud junk in 8.1 that takes witchcraft and human sacrifices to disable..

        I like the idea of an AI in my PC, I like the idea of being able to ask it to do something and it does it.. I do NOT like the idea of it going off and talking to the outside world to do it... Not just because of security, but because I want it all to work even when I have no connectivity at all.. I hate the cloud because of that... Cloud should always be a bonus, not a requirement...

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Options...

      I'm thinking of my missus' iThingy with its SIRI. It'll be sitting harmlessly charging its little batteries, when suddenly Siri will pipe up* and tell us that he/she is searching for something or other. I assume at some point or other it will phone someone at random.

      *Always when the TV is on, so I guess some phrase coming out of the ether made him/her wake up.

  6. myhandler

    What out poor old Vista? I've got a Vista PC that could easily run Win10.

    But I'm quite happy with my Win7 PCs, so why would I bother to mess with them?

  7. ZSn

    Vista

    Bugger, I have an old Vista desktop that would be great to upgrade. The hardware's fine so this is a bit irksome if it doesn't extend to vista.

  8. illiad

    BUT!!!!

    we are still waiting to see what the **final** will be like!!!!

    oh, and WHAT year... 2016???

  9. Dave Pickles

    So everyone (all three of you) who paid to upgrade from 7 to 8 needn't have bothered; they could have stayed on 7 and got the free upgrade directly to 10...

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Correct Dave. You see, microsoft are so loved they actually need a reason for people to loath them just to get real.

  10. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    Security

    "Security is also going to be a big feature of the new OS."

    Haven't we heard that for the last 4 or 5 revisions of Windows? What happened to Trustworthy Computing?

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Security

      That was probably down to SLIC Code on OEM BIOSs. Otherwise I've never heard of it.

    2. BitDr

      Re: Security / Trustworthy Computing

      Trustworthy computing was never intended to benefit you, it was for them! They could trust that the version of windows was not stolen.. and you thought that it meant that you could trust the OS? Kind of like UEFI and secure boot, it's not for you really, it's for them.

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Developers are always thinking of the next million sales"

    Really ? Wow, I must really be missing out.

    I'm not thinking about the next thousand, I'm thinking about the first thousand.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security is going to be a big feature...

    That just about sums up Microsoft's attitude to security. It's a feature rather than and inherent part of the OS, and here we are, 20 odd years since Eindows first came out, and it is still seen as a "nice to have" instead of a legal requirement under the "fit for purpose" bit of the Sale of Goods regulations

    1. dogged

      Re: Security is going to be a big feature...

      > That just about sums up Microsoft's attitude to security. It's a feature rather than and inherent part of the OS

      Really? You think so? Who spends as much on securing their products as MS? Anyone? Anyone at all?

      Didn't think so.

      And it's not an inherent part of any OS except TAILS and even that's broken in places.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Security is going to be a big feature...

        "Who spends as much on securing their products as MS? "

        Probably no-one, but a fair proportion of that cost results from the fact that it is always an afterthought.

        Security *is* an inherent part of most OSes, even Windows. The problem with Windows is that every time someone comes along with an existing app that depended on a small hole in the design, Microsoft reason that *their* customer is the end-user, who buys a Windows upgrade and expects everything to carry on working. Therefore, every version of Windows must be backwards compatible with every security hole ever used (even accidentally) and a second layer of attempted security has to be poured on top.

        Contrast this with the Linux approach which consists of Linus bawling out the "f*cking cretin" who made the "buggy pile of shite" and then issuing a new kernel that plugs the hole.

        Lastly, for extra points, compare and contrast the market share of the two approaches. Then explain to me why it is worth caring about security in the current business environment. :(

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Security is going to be a big feature...

        MS spends huge on security because their product is such a security nightmare that they HAVE to. Oh, and they are FAILING at it.

  13. adnim Silver badge

    'Windows as a service'

    Yup, just as I expected.... I have mentioned this before.

    If I cannot do anything on my PC without notifying or asking Microsoft first then to me it is a disservice.

    Goodbye Microsoft.

    1. dogged

      Re: 'Windows as a service'

      I'm sure the loss of you as a customer has Satya Nadella heartbroken.

      Or not.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: 'Windows as a service'

        Of course he's not heartbroken losing customers, if he were he'd be on his fifth transplant by now.

      2. Simon Westerby 1

        Re: 'Windows as a service'

        "I'm sure the loss of you as a customer has Satya Nadella heartbroken."

        A singular you - possibly not....

        A collective you - might well do ...

  14. peterkin

    like for like?

    So will my W7 Ultimate upgrade to the best available W10?

    1. thomas k.

      Re: like for like?

      And can I go from 32-bit to 64?

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: like for like?

        If there is a 32bit.

        And if not will 32bit Win 7 devices be included, or just left to vista, sorry, fester?

  15. SecretSonOfHG

    Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

    If all Windows 7 and 8 users get a free upgrade, Microsoft will only get revenue from sales of Windows 10 bundled with new computers or from Vista upgrades, which seems to me they are a much smaller number than W8+W7 users.

    So either Microsoft is leaving a lot of money on the table, or expects to recover it in Office365 subscriptions (doubt it), or I've understood this incorrectly and they mean that W10 upgrades from W7/8 will run W10 for a year and then you'll have to pay for using it after that first year?

    1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip
      Holmes

      Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

      Realistically Microsoft are not going to sell more than one licence for the lifespan of most devices, so there is no profit in selling upgrades. If its free users are more likely to upgrade, allowing older versions to be killed off sooner, cutting costs of maintaining legacy code. This combined with the huge marketing opportunity is worth more.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

      We'll know soon enough when we see the EULA for the upgrade. (At that point, we'll also discover whether all forms of Win7 and Win8 licence are equally eligible for the "service pack".) However, my guess (hope?) is that even Microsoft aren't so clueless as to opt for your "pay after one year" model, not least because it might turn out to be unenforceable in those jurisdictions where EULAs have been deemed "not as enforceable as a real contract".

      Since Win8.1 is just a lean version of Win7 once you've put a decent shell on, I reckon this may be how MS intend to get around the end-of-life issues around Win7. (It is clearly easier that adding SHA-1 support to the Win7 kernel.)

      It also raises the interesting question of how long software developers will continue to support Win7. In the past, the answer would be "as long as we have paying customers" and this tends to be a block on using features that were only introduced in later versions. However, that logic has never applied to (free) service packs. (Plenty of vendors will expect you to have installed all applicable updates.) Maybe Microsoft are trying to convert their 7+8+8.1 market shared into a 10 monoculture, so that they can push the platform's new features.

      1. sgp

        Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

        I´m pretty sure there is no option to downgrade back afterwards. So maybe it´s not about the profit but rather making sure this one gets the market share right.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

        >It also raises the interesting question of how long software developers will continue to support Win7.

        Do you want to sell to enterprise? if the answer is yes then you will be supporting Win7 until at least 2020.

        The main beneficiaries of the 'free' upgrade will be consumers, so your decision to rush to support 10 will be driven more by whether you are developing consumer software (eg. games) or business software.

    3. regadpellagru

      Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

      "So either Microsoft is leaving a lot of money on the table, or expects to recover it in Office365 subscriptions (doubt it), or I've understood this incorrectly and they mean that W10 upgrades from W7/8 will run W10 for a year and then you'll have to pay for using it after that first year?"

      Or they're gonna go the pay for patches updates, which I'm increasingly seeing coming, in light of the recent "we don't patch difficultly exploited reported bugs". Since the whole thing is a security nightmare, there is money to grab, here, and probably nowhere else.

      How it's gonna go with users is anything to go by ...

    4. joed

      Re: Where's the profit for Microsoft then?

      It's also possible that while consumers will skip the bill (I surely will) it'll be businesses that end up paying for 10 and any future versions (and all of us will just pay more for services/products we buy). I believe that MS already required that any of these consumers/employees devices connected to the corporate system with one of their devices and it becomes a license that business technically had to cover for. Plus MS made it trivial to burn through the 5 device licenses per head (that come in SA). It'll be fun watching this and trying to lower usage.

      Plus all the usual ways to nickel and dime, no way MS will lose (though I would not mind;).

  16. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Its

    going to be free for the first year for a reason

    Because windows 8 was such a pile of unpopular poo, m$ needs the free loaders to grab as many copies of win10 as possible before they start charging for them

    Lets face it....even the m$ lover at work has dumped win8 and gone back to win7.....

    But then the only reason I can think of that Linux has'nt got a bigger user desktop base now is the old saying of "nobody got fired for buying IBM.. sorry microsoft"

  17. Chas

    What about new computers?

    The interesting question is, will MS give Win 10 free to OEMs for the first year as well?

    I wonder where MS got the idea from...

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: What about new computers?

      I doubt it. The cost of upgrading an old PC has been in three digits for the last version or two. Lowering it to zero will make a big difference to how many people bother. The cost of buying that same version on a new device is about a tenth of that and is in any case hidden in the cost of the device.

  18. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Woteva

    Woteva the OS it always seems there are two main user views:

    a - will it work out of the box coz I don't want to waste any time doing upload/install stuff

    or

    b - can I tweak it to do what I want how I want

    Good luck ms, the apple, Google n the rest?

  19. Michael Habel Silver badge

    And with that... Googles Chrome Books just gained a boatload of credibility. I'd love to say that I didn't see this Windows (as a Service)... happening, but that would be the understatement of the Century.

    And with this... closes the PC Age of Windows...

    Thankfully we still have Linux to keep us sane. That Year of the Linux might not be so far off now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Many businesses already have a subscription under the OVS, its nothing new, just becoming more mainstream. I am a Linux sys admin, and even I will admit that I wouldn't give my users Ubuntu or some alternative, the cost training to use it would be prohibitively expensive and i reckon 70% of them would revolt.

  20. J J Carter Silver badge

    Re: Must say it..

    For consumers not wearing sandals, choice of Windows 10 for £0 or some ragtag unsupported shareware OS for £0 is indeed a 'no brainer'

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Must say it..

      Microsoft really only supports Windows for Supersized Customers. The rest of us are on our own after MS is sure the check has cleared.

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      Re: Must say it..

      "For consumers not wearing sandals, choice of Windows 10 for £0 or some ragtag unsupported shareware OS for £0 is indeed a 'no brainer'"

      Quite so.

      However GNU/Linux is available in various distributions, some of which have paid support pricing models (warmtoned headgear), and some of which have 3 to 10 year free support and a fairly solid reputation (smallest US currency denomination plus OS, and Deborah and Ian, and those chaps in London who hold hands just down from the Eye).

      Theo De Raat does not strike me as the sandal wearing kind of chap come to think of it.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daring, I suppose

    A free upgrade to Win10 does two things for MS : (1) Gets rid of the embarrassment of Win8 and (2) Shifts significant numbers of users away from Win7. The latter one being the most important, I reckon - otherwise Win7 users will be hanging on for years like XP users have been.

    But what does it mean for me as a Win7 user? From what I can tell at the moment, if I upgrade to Win10 then I get a shiny new OS for free, but for only one year. When that year is up, I will have to pay regularly to keep it going.

    If I decline to pay, then I presume the OS dies and I'm left worse off than if I had stayed with Win7. And I will surely solve that problem by upgrading to something that is not subscription-based.

    This move might backfire and result in a lot of ex-Win7 users shifting to Linux.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Daring, I suppose

      A better question... And One that MicroSoft should ask themselves sometime. Is how to you retain "Customers" on your new x:was Platform, and not cause a backwards rush on Windows 7?

      And are the Pleb Classes ready to fork out Year on Year for this One privileg to do so, when other means exist. e.g. Phablets, and other such Linux or Apple based Products now exist. And for the most part of the Majority out their. Much better, possibly safer? if not more simply then is the case on Windows today?

      What are Microsoft's "Plans" to address other Architecturers like ARM? Do they expect us to be driving huge Beige Boxes in the foreseeable future? 'Cause I don't!

      1. montyburns56

        Re: Daring, I suppose

        "But what does it mean for me as a Win7 user? From what I can tell at the moment, if I upgrade to Win10 then I get a shiny new OS for free, but for only one year. When that year is up, I will have to pay regularly to keep it going."

        Errr no, it quite clearly says "The upgrade will only be free in the first 12 months after release and will last for the "supported lifetime of the device."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @montyburns66 - Re: Daring, I suppose

          I don't know about 'quite clear', since this confusion is evident elsewhere, even on the Win10 Insider forums.

          But having searched for the original text of this I agree that the upgrade seems to be free. Can't wait for a proper set of legalese on this one.

  22. WonkoTheSane
    Linux

    The unasked question

    How is it at cohabiting with another OS?

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: The unasked question

      Leaves toenail clippings in the sink...

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: The unasked question

      Does anyone dual-boot these days? I'm sure it will work fine in a virtual machine.

      1. regadpellagru

        Re: The unasked question

        "Does anyone dual-boot these days? I'm sure it will work fine in a virtual machine."

        What a burden dual-boot is ! No way I'm doing this, giving how much time Win 7 takes to boot fully. I'm choosing an OS, and stick with an MS VM above this, for every MS obligation.

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: The unasked question

      It doesn't understand the concept- as usual... Does Not Play Well With Others V10.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is interesting that every tentative mention of a possible W10 rental business model gets 3 downvotes - as if to say that is a wrong suggestion.

    Does that mean the downvoters know something that is not public? It suggests two alternatives:

    a) that is NOT what is planned

    b) that IS what will happen - but we weren't supposed to rumble that in advance.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      If someone downvotes without explaining why, it is probably futile for you to try to guess what they are thinking. These forums have plenty of examples of people downvoting purely factual statements, so it is unclear whether they were thinking anything at all.

  24. Graham Marsden
    WTF?

    So...

    ... the first hit is free, as the Dealers say...

    Oh and as for "when you put one device down you can pick up another Windows device that you are signed in on and carry on where you left off", do you mean that you can't use your devices without being connected to WiFi/ Broadband and M$ snooping on everything you do?

    "You look like you're browsing p0rn, would you like to buy some tissues...?"

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reasons to use Windows

    I recently realised that the sole reason I still have a Windows machine is to back up my phones and tablets, and update my satnav. I doubt I am going to need W10 for that.

  26. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "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 years, you could think of Windows as one of the largest internet services on the planet. The question of 'what version are you running' will cease to make sense."

    I'm guessing that this is weaselspeek for "Large protions of the Windows O/S will now download from the web on boot (providing you have a paid-up subscription) and Windows No Version Necessary will not work if you have no internet connection".

    I imagine this makes sense if you consider all PC users to be gamers who have to be connected to Steam etc get their games to start, or if you live in that parallel Stupid Universe.

    I see the operating system as fundamental bedrock, not "a service".

    Microsoft spokesweasels have a very specific meaning in mind when they talk about services, a meaning not predicated on being the most useful to me under the least helpful circumstances, which is what I require from an OS.

    1. Hazmoid
      FAIL

      Re: Bah!

      I can see problems with this approach ( always on Internet) as I support equipment that is quite regularly out of range of any Internet service (Can you say ship board computers?) and even on land (in Australia, the land of the non existent broadband) there are places where there is no wifi, or Telstra services that can be utilised.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not gonna do it... wouldn't be prudent

    And who decides when your device has reached end of life? Is it when the smoke starts pouring out the back of it or is it when someone at MS (or one of their partners) decides it's time is up. These are the folks who put fake error messages in Windows 3.1 so it would not install under DRDOS, who tried to obfuscate OpenOffice file formats by naming their format "OfficeOpen", who had their business partners sign up in droves to a "standards" body so they could push OfficeOpen.XML through the approval process.

    MS "giving away" a product is akin to the local drug dealer giving away free samples of crack, you'd have to be nuts to want to have your computer pwned by M$ or anyone else for that matter, becoming dependent on the Internet for all of your computing needs is bad. Using the Internet as a tool is good. I don't NEED it for my day to day in-house operations, to do my books, print my paycheques, run my DTP or Office suite. I'm not buying into OSASS, SAAS, or PAAS, that way lies dependency on specific companies, and that dependency gives them power over you. If your Internet air supply gets cut off it can cost you huge sums of money, as can the blamethrowing game when they screw up or their cloud goes tits-up. REQUIRE an upgrade? Apps not working? Watch tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars fly out of your bank account when it was not necessary because everything was working well without the "needed upgrade". Go ahead, prove that they are screwing you, they own all the cards and you're on their life-support system. Good luck.

  28. Alex Wilson

    Pretty sure people are misreading this 'free for the first year' thing. All they mean is you wont get a free upgrade after the first year.

    The subscription model applies to features like Onedrive and Office 365 etc that aren't part of the OS but they'd like us to treat them as if they were...

    note*

    Other Cloud storage systems and Office products ARE available!

    Have to say that from the information available (so far!) I'm looking forward to it.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Wasn't there a , more limited, window of time in which Win 8 was also free, post-beta? I recall sitting on the fence w Win 7 and ultimately missing it.

      If this is a one year run of free update a la OS X then it seems like a pretty good deal, if you like Windows. MS needs a bit of goodwill, badly & this probably wont cost them much (what % of folks upgrade?).

      I will assume no rental Windows past that year. Imagine if your machine stopped working altogether. An OS is not like one program asking for a license top up a la Adobe because a non-working OS would devaluate your hardware. That would be a PR disaster, last thing MS needs.

      I think they just want to make sure their new kid isn't shunned like her immediately preceding sibling. This "no chooses to run Win 8x" has been a horrible failure for them, I believe this is intended to make the avg user think well of Windows again.

      Buccal orifices of cost-less equines & all that. Rather than seeing Greek hollow statues everywhere.

      For those who dislike MS... well no one's forcing it on you. Or us, cause I aint their biggest fan either.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trojan Horse

    Sounds suspiciously like one of them Trojan Horse type thingies. Will your anti-malware utility quarantine it?

  30. bill 27

    MEE TOO!!!

    This space intentionally left blank.

  31. Nya

    OEM's

    It'll be good for trying to limit OS fragmentation as they discussed. But the issue is it's really going to murder the OEM market. The OEM's are still going to be buying licenses so that will make MS some cash. But with hardware in the last fair few years now happily handling WinX. The amount of people buying upgrade licenses was probably be so small it was ignorable.

    But what happens if many users (highly likely) don't bother buying new hardware and just go down the home upgrade route? Will the large corporate customers go into rolling out upgrades instead of a hardware swap? If they do than MS is really digging a hole here for the OEM's, and they aren't exactly in a strong position as it is. Do think it's going to be interesting though to see how it shakes out down the line.

    1. regadpellagru

      Re: OEM's

      "But what happens if many users (highly likely) don't bother buying new hardware and just go down the home upgrade route? Will the large corporate customers go into rolling out upgrades instead of a hardware swap? If they do than MS is really digging a hole here for the OEM's, and they aren't exactly in a strong position as it is. Do think it's going to be interesting though to see how it shakes out down the line."

      Easy fix for you: Win 10 will probably not boot on any of the systems running W7 (CPU tweaks, RAM, ...). But surely it'll boot on most default W8 gear. Solved. W7 killed through "no support", and W8 killed through "I want the mistake fixed". Actually quite clever.

  32. Fungus Bob Silver badge
    Windows

    and a new device to be announced later today.

    the new Super-Duper Microsoft ZuneBob Bingthing, maybe?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: and a new device to be announced later today.

      "the new Super-Duper Microsoft ZuneBob Bingthing,"

      They have announced the name of the new Surface 4 as well?

  33. AnoniMouse

    Will it be an in-place upgrade?

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

    Oh yes it will, unless MS offer absolutely seamless, in-place upgrade and guaranteed backwards compatibility for applications.

    Installing an OS is only the start: then there is all the hassle of installing and configuring the OS _and_ all the applications.

    1. MysteryGuy

      Re: Will it be an in-place upgrade?

      > Oh yes it will, unless MS offer absolutely seamless, in-place upgrade and guaranteed

      > backwards compatibility for applications.

      MS has been having trouble not breaking things just for relatively simple 'security patches' lately.

      Imagine how well things might go if relatively significant 'OS Upgrades' are automatically installed onto your system.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Will it be an in-place upgrade?

        >Imagine how well things might go if relatively significant 'OS Upgrades' are automatically installed onto your system.

        Don't need to imagine - I know the pain from having to do a WUP enforced W8 to W8.1 update...

  34. tempemeaty
    Mushroom

    Who's PC is it?

    No Microsoft. It is not your PC!

    IT'S MINE!

  35. Planty Bronze badge

    Sucks to have bought Windows 8 right now.

    LOL.

    I doubt I will upgrade, there is no point. Windows 10 is just undoing the Windows 8 disaster.

  36. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Cortana conversation

    situation: cooperative gaming session

    Friend over headset: "Take out that guy behind the car."

    Me: "I'm fucking trying"

    Wife's Win10 laptop, suddenly awake: "No. Try not! Fuck, or fuck not! There is no try"

    Friend over headset: "um... what?"

  37. pirithous

    Clever Marketing Scheme

    Microsoft's lifeless presentation today with nobody giving much applause, featured speakers talking about how Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows 8.x and 7 users. They talked about how Windows 10 will be an evolving platform that will constantly be getting new features. What they didn't say, is that the point of the free upgrade is to get people locked in, just as are the users whom are trapped in the Office 365 prison. I wonder how many people will take the bait?

    Richard Stallman has been warning of computing as a service for years, and all his points are valid, especially in the era of government spying and data breaches.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    switch Skype calls to a new device with a gesture

    but try flicking the middle finger to make Skype go away... and you'll get a nasty shock.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does this mean for me as an OS X user?

    Well, I'll still be as smug as ever.

  40. BWD Group

    Microsoft a Dinosaur struggling in the Modern Era

    I presume Microsoft had no choice to make Windows 10 free , with Apple and Linux already providing a free OS and with PC sales declining the typical Windows user doesn't need a new OS , with more applications now web based and with iOS / Android dominating the mobile sectors Microsoft has nothing new to offer besides headaches for IT managers around the globe.

    As a web / application developer I have Windows on a laptop just for IE compatibility testing , otherwise its just collecting dust.

  41. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Alert

    Drug pusher business model?

    Isn't this kind of how drug pushers work? Give you free product for a while, then when you can't do without it, start charging and price the product as they see fit? After a year's free ride, is the user (or corporation) going to go through a painful upgrade process? Nope, MS has you where they want you.

    And one thing I find a bit worrisome is the statement re. upgrades "..For the supported life of the product." Hmm... that seems a bit arbitrary. Perhaps the supported life of the product is 2-3 years as defined by MS and whatever deal they've struck with Dell, HP, etc. That means no upgrades for you, but you still have to pay your subscription fee for Windows or no OS for you either.

    I think I'll keep on using Linux unless someone forces me to use Unity.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Drug pusher business model?

      'supported life of the product' phrase concerned me also. I at first thoight of 'the product' as a piece of hardware, and supported as in the guarentee period.

      Then I stopped thinking like a consumer and started thinking like a s/w salesperson. The product as the OS plus the service contract, pay for a year, get updates for a year. Fail to pay the following, might as well run XP as you get no updates (and probably hounded by the OS telling you this every hour or so).

      I doubt they are ready to deactivate the OS on service expiry, but it would be fairly dificult to watch any movies or play any games (even offline) with Cortana chirping in like a nagging P.A. every so often (I remember how annoying Windows got when it needed to reboot to install updates)

      And no, nobody is going to force you to use Unity, if you have issues with Systemd you are fast running out of options though).

  42. zaax

    ATM's are still using XP as its a known object - Windows 10 isn't

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    >Redmond's much-hyped concept of software that works equally well on the phone, tablet, and PC

    "equally well". hmmm.

    >and will last for the "supported lifetime of the device."

    "'supported'". hmmm.

  44. Anomalous Cowshed

    Windows 10 - available free of charge!!!

    Here...kitty kitty!

  45. CompUser

    mmmmm, I can get a brain dead OS for free......

    Brain dead operating system

    I'm a computer professional - I wouldn't use it if it was free, I wouldn't waste any time with such a crappy system.

    [.....Can a paid Microsoft commenter at this stage reply to me and say that I just don't understand the excellent intuitive interface which is the direction of the future and people are just stuck in their old ways and this is the future of computing and why don't people give it a go..........]

    I used to be a programmer for windows when it was a decent operating system. At windows 8, I refused to write for such a dysfunctional system and I will never buy another Microsoft product while they try to push their rubbish on customers who just want to use a decent system.

    I really don't understand why they want to create a system that degrades what users can do. My online banking implemented a hand held device banking system along the lines of what Microsoft wants to do. The system takes about 3 times longer to use and its just a painful experience.

    Windows 7 is decent, windows 8 is a joke and windows 10 is the same. Microsoft should make the OS more intelligent than windows 7, not 30% as usable. I am horrified by the mentality that takes a good product and a good company and produces a product that will bankrupt them. I'm running more than 10 computers and Linux is my next OS (and not a Linux that tries to emulate windows 8).

    [........Can a paid Microsoft commenter please say here that Linux is useless and only geeks use it and people who use it don't have a life......even though most of the internet servers are Linux machines which are much more stable than Windows......]

    Also I have software company that will never write software for windows 8 or 10 or any other brain dead OS and I have a reasonably high level of expertise with computers.

    [.......Can a paid Microsoft commenter please find another job and leave public opinion alone. It is very insulting to attempt to manipulate public opinion by writing rubbish in response to peoples genuine concerns about an OS going bad....]

    I'm waiting for the restructuring of the company. That's what will happen next (12 months I recon).

  46. Reg T.

    CORTANA sells it

    for me!.

    No hidden back doors, just CORTANA working busily away, collecting all the HD data for MS/NSA.

    I take two, please.

  47. Dan 55 Silver badge
    WTF?

    To El Reg: Re: Huge image of Bart Simspson

    Why? Have you had a meeting and decided you don't need a readership or something?

  48. John Munyard

    Thats a smart move by Microsoft - to globalise on a single platform what is basically a crap app store (if the Surface/RT app store is any guide)

    "All shall have crap" that is the mantra!

  49. Rick Giles
    Linux

    Give up Microsoft

    Stop dicking around trying to make an operating System, just build a GUI for the Linux kernel. You know you want to.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No

    Thanks

  51. CompUser

    The longest year...

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