back to article Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

First the good news: Windows 10 will be free – for one year. Microsoft announced upgrades to its next-planned client operating system during an outpouring of PR love and vision on Wednesday. We won't claim the credit for Microsoft’s decision to give its next version of Windows as a free upgrade for 12 months to those on …

  1. TheVogon Silver badge

    "Microsoft’s decision to give its next version of Windows as a free upgrade for 12 months"

    It's apparently a chargeable upgrade with an up to one year evaluation period. After that you presumably must pay....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. A lot of folk will be hanging on to see what the "free" part of Windows 10 is going to be. It sounds too good to be true, and given MS' healthy income in the past simply from the OS one has to assume there will be a subscription aspect to it.

      But maybe they are more worried about not getting their app-store to the unwashed masses then OEM fees, etc?

      One also has to ask what the OEM terms will be, and are MS now on the back-foot with PC makers looking to diversify in to the cut-throat world Android tablets, Chromebooks, etc?

    2. Platelet

      In respect to "It's apparently a chargeable upgrade with an up to one year evaluation period. After that you presumably must pay...."

      I'm still sceptical but It doesn't sound like that from this from Terry Myerson:

      "This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device"

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Sounds more like "For the first 12 months after release you can upgrade for nothing, after that you'll have to buy the upgrade if you want it" but once upgraded, you're OK for the life of the product.

        Or in other words "we need some cheap testers" ?

        I wonder if this means that you need a W7 or W8 activation code to activate the "free" upgrade? Might be worth shoving an old spare disk into my W7 laptop to get the "free" upgrade loaded, then pop the W7 one back in while they work the bugs out of W10. When W7 finally dies, W10 will be ready...

        1. Dr. Ellen

          This is why my desktop has changeable drive bays. Put in one hard drive - XP. Put in another, 7. Now I buy another hard drive, download 10 whenever it happens, and my computer will have yet another personality. On their proper drive, all the old (or new) programs will function just fine.If I get tired of it all, I pop in the Ubuntu drive. And it just takes adding a drive bay.

          It's not that easy, with a laptop; it's even harder with a fondleslab. The desktop stays.

          1. e^iπ+1=0

            Missing a trick

            'This is why my desktop has changeable drive bays.'

            Am I missing a trick here? I never physically remove drives from my desktop to boot from another drive, I just boot from that drive. Maybe I should try this and see if my life gets so much easier?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Missing a trick

              No, you should not. Have a fat disk and many partitions, install Grub. No need to physically change anything.

          2. Van

            Surely it's easier to install all of your disks and disable them in the bios when not needed and/or use a boot loader. Which you can also do on a laptop by emptying the DVD drive bay. Downside is the extra draw of electricity and noise of disks spinning when they wake, upside you can access data from other system's disks.

          3. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Except that your Windows 7 licence is now a Windows 10 licence. You may get an unpleasant surprise when you put your Windows 7 HDD back into your PC

        2. cambsukguy

          You have an entire year - just wait until you are happy that it is stable and then do it - or don't if you are not.

        3. Purple-Stater

          "Or in other words "we need some cheap testers" ?"

          No, when you tell people that they can upgrade for an entire year, it's not because you're looking for testers.

          Based on the little bits I've seen of it, my bets are that Microsoft wants to get as many consumers to W10 ASAP in order to push the Windows Phone connections. If they throw in "free trial subscriptions" to Office 365, that can also be their hook to try to "upgrade" people using older versions of Office as well. MS may finally simply be turning Windows into the "free" core to increase sales of subscription-based items over the long term.

    3. Craigness

      Free forever

      With reputable journalists stating "Windows 10 will be free – for one year" it's easy to be mistaken. They should write something like "upgrading to Windows 10 will free for one year".

      1. Van

        Re: Free forever

        "They should write something like "upgrading to Windows 10 will free for one year"

        As in losing the 'will' to live ? ;)

      2. Alan Denman

        Re:'Reputabe' =

        Trade.

        As in 'trade journalists'. We mainly have myths.

        1. LaeMing Bronze badge

          Supported life of the device

          Simply lasts as long as the Software Supplier (MS in this case) wishes to support the device. Once they decide to not support the device, its supported life is over. QED.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Stop

      Stop and think a bit, please...

      It means that if you hit the download button from a Windows 7/8/8.1 machine and the date is between the launch date and the launch date + 12 months then it the cost is $0. Otherwise there will be a price attached.

      "We will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device" - just like XP/Vista/7/8/8.1.

      If you think it's going to lock up after 12 months and ask you for your credit card number like Cryptolocker then you're barking up the wrong tree. It's just not legally possible to do that, the Windows you've got now is yours and can't be taken off you.

      What they may possibly do is charge for updates after the initial support period is over, like many people said should have been done with Windows XP when it was EOL'd.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        "It's just not legally possible to do that, the Windows you've got now is yours and can't be taken off you."

        I suggest you read the upgrade EULA before clicking through, it's possible to give away your current rights even if MS cant unilaterally remove them.

        You don't own your Windows install, you own a licence to it.

        1. Gideon 1

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          "I suggest you read the upgrade EULA before clicking through, it's possible to give away your current rights even if MS cant unilaterally remove them."

          EULA != the law, consumer rights trump EULAs

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            "EULA != the law, consumer rights trump EULAs"

            This may be so for consumer rights depending on your jurisdiction. But consumer rights don't necessarily apply to business purchases. So read the EULA just in case.

          2. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            EULA != the law, consumer rights trump EULAs

            What exactly does Consumer Law have to do with MicroSofts shady practices? Perhaps the Consumer, being forcibly bent over for the last time, will start to wise up and leave MicroSoft.

            So while the EULA may not trump the Law, per-say I wish you nothing but the best of luck in fighting it. I gather MicroSofts Lawyers, are bigger then your Lawyers.

            1. qtcoder

              Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

              "So while the EULA may not trump the Law, per-say I wish you nothing but the best of luck in fighting it. I gather MicroSofts Lawyers, are bigger then your Lawyers."

              I'll give you an example. Selling your used Windows license is/was illegal according to the EULA, but is legal according to the law of Finland. Microsoft's lawyers cannot do anything about it.

          3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            "EULA != the law, consumer rights trump EULAs"

            Really? You have the money to fund that lawsuit?

        2. MrDamage

          You don't own your Windows install, you own a licence to it.

          That all depends on which country you are in. In Australia, software is a product that you own, not a licence that you own.

          Also, given that the EULA only pops up after I have paid my money for the product, this renders the EULA invalid under Australian consumer law, as you cannot impose extra terms and conditions after the point of sale.

          What really interests me though is "the supported lifetime of the product". Given most of the regulars here are technically based folks, odds on at least 90% of us are supporting at least one device that went end-of-life with the manufacturer years ago, but that does not stop us from supporting it.

          Companies and their lawyers like playing semantics, lets see how well they go when end users start playing semantics back at them.

      2. Credas Silver badge

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        The problem is that tricky phrase, "for the supported lifetime of the device". He could easily have said "for the lifetime of the device" if that's what he'd meant, but chose not to - and statements like that aren't made on the hoof, they're carefully prepared in advance. In the absence of any clarification there has to be a suspicion that at some point (when Windows 11 is launched, perhaps) the old hardware will be deemed inadequate to run the equivalent of a Windows 10 Service Pack, and that will be the end of upgrades for the "free" Windows 10.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          'The problem is that tricky phrase, "for the supported lifetime of the device".'

          I have a VM running W7. It started off as what seemed a reasonable size for a VM which only runs one application for which I don't have as good a substitute on Linux. However every time it got patched it grew and grew. Now, despite applying the "clean system files" option (or whatever it's called) firing up the VM brings up error messages about not having enough room for swap files.

          So maybe "the supported lifetime of the device" means "the time it takes to bloat over all the drive it was installed on".

          1. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            It's a VM so just bump up the disk allocation, migrate it to a new host, keep it running forever.

            BTW: Is a VM a Device or a Node (cue Archimate digression)?

          2. bjr

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            A VM is forever. I'm also a Linux user and only run Windows as a VM. You can move the VM to different hardware and different versions of Linux without Windows knowing it's been moved. All you have to do is make sure that the new VM is identical to the old including MAC IDs.

            As for increasing the size of the virtual disk, that's easy. I've done it for an XP VM and it worked fine. Create a larger virtual disk, then in a Linux VM mount both the old WIndows virutal disk and the new larger disk and use DD to copy the old disk to the new one. Use ntfsresize it resize the partition. You can also resize with gparted.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

              >A VM is forever.

              Unless the W10 upgrade invalidates the W7 license. Which would be normal in an upgrade. W7 was the first version of windows to successfully enforce the licensing, so comparisons with XP are likely to be misleading.

              You'd have to be sure it never talked to the MS' license servers to make this work.

          3. Tom 13

            Re: "the time it takes to bloat over all the drive it was installed on"

            Your VM can't grow the drive size to something adequate? Sounds like a software problem to me.

            While it is true that when Bill Gates uttered the infamous phrase that disk space was free it wasn't, these days is pretty much is. Even a cheap laptop comes with a 250G hard drive these days, and even at 81G for all of my installed apps and data on my work system, that's not even 1/3 of the available disk space.

            True, you'll probably have problems with .dll rot and the like, but with MS shunning service packs, these days you'll get that no matter what.

            1. SecretSonOfHG

              Re: "the time it takes to bloat over all the drive it was installed on"

              "Even a cheap laptop comes with a 250G hard drive these days, and even at 81G for all of my installed apps and data on my work system, that's not even 1/3 of the available disk space."

              Yeah, I say that to myself everytime I purchase a new hard disk, only to find six months later that I've managed to fill it up.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          "The problem is that tricky phrase, "for the supported lifetime of the device""

          There have been clarifications before from Microsoft - was it Office 2013 or W7 OEM or W8??. IIRC you could not re-install the software on the same machine in the case of a hardware failure - unless the machine was still under its supplier's warranty.

          I could see that being a return to factory repair - but not for a home upgrade.

          Office OEM for many years has not been re-installable. The activate stated that the licence didn't permit the new install.

          W7 Retail certainly had more activation restrictions than XP. I fell foul of them when using the well tried XP method of cloning the original system disk - then experimenting to fix a problem using the clone disk. That meant having to experiment with the live disk - in the hope that the clone could be used to recreate the original if the fixes went wrong. Strangely the clone disk itself was accepted as having a legal licence after being on the shelf for 3 months.

      3. Michael Habel Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        If you think it's going to lock up after 12 months and ask you for your credit card number like Cryptolocker then you're barking up the wrong tree. It's just not legally possible to do that, the Windows you've got now is yours and can't be taken off you.

        Isn't amazing what a few lines of EULA can do? While on the face of it, as things currently stand. You are correct. But, the "Problem" is, that Windows X hasn't hit yet. And, NOBODY, besides their Marketing-Droids know what will happen. If anything this may be their way of holding up a moistened Finger up to see which way the Wind is blowing.

        But, when has that (TIFKAM), ever stopped 'em from making poor decisions before? The simple fact of the matter is that MicroSoft has had a perpetual hard-on for Windows as a Service, for Years now. And its absolutely correct to be paranoid about that.

        The Ultimate Question.... Will be if they can get away with it.... The Answer will of course be no! But, bless their little Hearts for trying anyway.

        If I had actually wanted an OS as a Service.. I'd have gone with a Chrome Book. If this is all the Future has in store for us... Then thank Zarquon for Linux!

      4. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        Of course it's not going to lock up after the Support period ends. That would be very unhelpful.

        What could happen is Cortana will remind you every so often (every day, unless you boot up more frequently, in which case it'll be a couple of minutes after you login), every time you login) that your support period has expired and that you should renew as soon as possible. This will be Cortana being helpful, and probably count as a 'feature'.

      5. Just Enough
        Facepalm

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        Microsoft realise that the inevitable chaos that would follow any "12 month upgrade trial" expiry, would be a PR and legal nightmare of epic proportions.

        There is no way they are going to entice users off full Windows 7 & 8 licences, and then pull the rug out from under them a year later. It's just not going to happen.

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          >There is no way they are going to entice users off full Windows 7 & 8 licences, and then pull the rug out from under them a year later. It's just not going to happen.

          The question is "who will qualify" - is this just W10 Home Edition? People on W7 don't feel the need to upgrade, so no sale there anyway. If MS start rolling out one version of Windows per year, after one or two years you might lose security fixes without a subscription. That means people on W7 will have had 4-6 years on windows without paying for an upgrade - probably about right, in MS' thinking. The question is, how would MS degrade the experience in general, even if people knew they were buying "W10 as a service"? Drop the screen resolution to 800x600? Nag dialogues every 5 minutes? I can't think of anything acceptable to great-aunt Ethel.

          1. cambsukguy

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            They might make $10 per user in app fees in that timescale, that isn't really any less than the money they get for an OEM license is it?

      6. h3

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        Most people never upgrade the Windows that their device comes with.

        All Microsoft needs is a general consensus that Windows 10 is ok then people buy new PC's with it on.

        1. cambsukguy

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          Indeed.

          I can't believe people (even the ones here) think that MS would ransom machines to get a fee, one time, and then never get another sale.

          Not only are the statements fairly obvious, only misconstrued with malice as far as I can see, they have several plain purposes:

          1. A PR coup to make them look good.

          2. Removal of Windows 8 almost entirely since most will just see it as a normal upgrade (which it is after all) and install it.

          3. Seriously reduce the Windows 7 end of life issue.

          4. Create a lot more possible app purchasers.

          There are more I imagine but that would be enough in my book.

          Bear in mind that most Win7 machines will be long in the tooth soon after and the owners will be looking for new hardware, running, what else? Win10.

          I know, I am one of them, my laptop is already three years old but this will give it a new lease of life, for about a year perhaps.

          1. oldcoder

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            What they do is label you a pirate...

            And then take everything you have...

      7. wdmot

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        @Dan55

        If you think it's going to lock up after 12 months and ask you for your credit card number like Cryptolocker then you're barking up the wrong tree. It's just not legally possible to do that, the Windows you've got now is yours and can't be taken off you.

        Sure they can do that. You don't own Windows, you get a license to use it. They dictate the terms of the license, which can expire. Perhaps after the free 12 months is up, you can't use Windows anymore (although I doubt they would keep you from copying off your data). Or maybe they have a different plan in mind, but they do say they're going for "Windows as a service" which strongly implies limited term licensing like Adobe's doing.

        1. wdmot

          Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

          Apparently I was incorrect in the second part of my comment; MS has confirmed (according to http://www.pcgamer.com/microsoft-windows-10-will-not-be-sold-as-a-subscription/) that it's not going to be a subscription license. Not that they couldn't do that, but as others have pointed out, it would be too confusing for the average user.

          So I'm a bit confused as to what benefit MS gains giving away Windows 10 for the first year. Granted, it's not to all Windows users, or even to all Windows 7/8/8.1 users, but it would still represent a significant loss of potential income. They're a corporation, so bottom line is the main concern. Free word-of-mouth advertising from the early adopters?

          1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

            Your assuming that all the Windows licensing revenue comes from the consumer and it doesn't even come close. The real revenues come from new computers (OEM), business, and enterprise (there's a bit of distinction between the last two). As the enterprise editions of Windows aren't part of the whole free upgrade process, which may or may not extend only 12 months after release, we really are looking at the first two and not even all of just business customers. Market segmentation 101. Face, most people up until now have waited for yon computer to die and get whatever new version of Windows on it as part of the upgrade. There aren't very many consumers that spring for such directly. I know I'm a pretty rare beast for buying retail Windows. The others I've come into contact with all built their own computers.

            What Microsoft the firm gets out of this is moving the consumers onto their Cloud-First/Mobile-First flavor of Windows at not much loss in revenue thus unifying the split code-base and definitely giving a shot in the arm of methamphetimes to the Windows Store. Do recall one of the selling points (err, features) of Windows 10 is having the Windows Experience follow you from device to device. Hell, I just thought of it actually following you right into your vehicle then into the office, or wherever, as well if it runs Windows as well. (Hear that Google?)

            It's not for me, but I can definitely see the possible synergies (Execs, especially marketing execs, love that word) and I'm sure there are more than a few that we haven't heard all about yet. Don't want to tip off the competition too much, now do we?

            And that calls for a pint.

      8. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        > It's just not legally possible to do that,

        Sure it is. This was standard practice for large server operating systems at one time.

        I've been witness to the OS license on a server expiring.

        It's something that may cause a massive consumer backlash if applied to a Microsoft product, but it's perfectly legal and has been done before.

      9. John Tserkezis

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        "It means that if you hit the download button from a Windows 7/8/8.1 machine and the date is between the launch date and the launch date + 12 months then it the cost is $0. Otherwise there will be a price attached."

        Whoa, whoa there. If this means yet another 3Gb+ download for the upgrade for each and every machine, they can get stuffed.

      10. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Stop and think a bit, please...

        "If you think it's going to lock up after 12 months and ask you for your credit card number like Cryptolocker then you're barking up the wrong tree. It's just not legally possible to do that, the Windows you've got now is yours and can't be taken off you."

        Lets See...

        Windows 10 is FREE* for 12 months.

        *Your Windows 10 subscription is $9.95 a month with the first 12 months free, you may cancel your subscription at any time and your computer will switch to Really Annoying Mode with full screen video ads.

        That would be legally possible I think.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh?

      "Windows 10 is Microsoft’s make-or-break operating system and Microsoft needs to do everything it can to kick-start adoption and move PC customers on. If Windows 10 goes wrong and people don’t upgrade, that’ll be two Windows busts in succession. That would be terrible for business and for Microsoft."

      This articles whole premise seems off. I've worked for 5000+ organizations as well as startups. At neither did they upgrade the OS's on existing machines when a new version of Windows came out, with the exceptions of a few key machines. The issue when a new version of Windows came out was what to specify when new machines were purchased. Since machines were replaced after they were a few years old (maybe even as old as 5 years old), the "move" to the new version of Windows was really via the OEM route. I'd like to see a revenue breakdown for, say Windows 7, between revenue for OEM licenses of Windows 7, site license upgrade licenses, and over the counter (consumer) upgrade licenses. My bet is that OEM licenses are basically the whole enchilada.

      So yes, Microsoft needs Windows 10 to take over, but it's not like they are not charging for OEM Windows 7 licenses if people order machines with Windows 7.

      I know in my organization, no one is going to order Windows 10 if it uses a subscription model. We already moved away from Adobe products for that reason, and we can't be happier to not be constantly paying Adobe mafia-like "protection money".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        See, you say this, and in the company I work in, they did buy computers that came with Windows 7 Pro, but then separately purchased a volume license to Windows 7 Enterprise. It's quite a large company too, so I doubt it's just them that are doing it.

      2. Code For Broke

        Re: Eh?

        Let me get this straight: at an enterprise you once worked for, with over 5k employees, the IT department supported whatever OEM instance of Windows happened to arrive on the box when it shipped. There was no single image used for the fleet? Did they also light the place with table lamps and heat it with box heaters? Did the cafe serve 100s of different 'specials' each day?

        1. JamesTQuirk

          Re: Eh?

          No, They knew Zip(nothing), they ask those who thought they were IT what to do, where employed because they what a computer or windows was, NOT because they actually knew anything .....

    6. hplasm Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "It's apparently a chargeable upgrade..."

      I read that as a charitable upgrade...

    7. JamesTQuirk

      HOWEVER, If UK, Europe, Australian Governments, Made a Linux dist standard @ all Schools & Uni, in a few years, NO MORE MS royalties, wonder how much that would save TAXPAYERS, BANKS, Business in General ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "HOWEVER, If UK, Europe, Australian Governments, Made a Linux dist standard @ all Schools & Uni, in a few years, NO MORE MS royalties, wonder how much that would save TAXPAYERS, BANKS, Business in General ?"

        Nothing or likely more - you would pay for the migration, support and integration costs instead. And you would end up running both platforms for decades. Munich council tried it for over a decade, it cost a fortune to only partially migrate and it was hated by the users and they are now desperately trying to reverse course: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/munich-city-linux-switching-back-windows

        1. JamesTQuirk

          Yeah and in 1923, they rallies for Hilter too, a long history of backin wrong horse ...

          Read the article, their problems are cause by, NOT doing a Software/Hardware/Network audit b4 rollout, and users refusing to learn a new system or and software, being stuck in their ways .....

          But I agree a whole city in europe installing windows, is a miracle, hope it makes up 4 surface sales figures ....

  2. joeldillon

    That's the third story today with a picture of that red axe in it. Guessing you guys got a good deal on the stock photography website? ;)

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Trollface

      If only it were illegal to get stock photographs larger than 200x200 pixels because of "unfair competition".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Headline photo

      Have not read a comment about headline pictures in a while and this reminded me that I no longer have to scroll pasts them. Greasemonkey and a 3 line custom script did the trick

  3. dogged

    COULD BE LETHAL

    Blimey Gavin, how long did it take you find a negative spin for "FREE AS IN BEER"?

    Not a subscription, just free. A giveaway.

    What would you have written if it wasn't free? Same story, different headline?

    PRICEY UPGRADE TO WIN10 WILL KILL WINDOWS FOREVER - subheading "Please love me, hate brigade".

    What next? Will open sourcing .NET be a cancer?

    Get a proper job or go work for the Sport or the Mail - they don't have any readers capable of bullshit detection.

    1. petur
      FAIL

      Re: COULD BE LETHAL

      "Not a subscription, just free. A giveaway."

      Doesn't quite fit with the "for the first 12 months", does it? Looks like a commentard in need of a better job....

      1. Jimmy Jangle

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        Of course it fits!

        It is free to obtain a copy of Windows 10 to upgrade from 7 upwards FOR A YEAR.

        After that window has passed and you haven't upgraded, you will need to pay, you know, like you have done with previous iterations of the OS.

        Christ, this is painful.

      2. Munkeh

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        Except that's not quite what they said and it's been a common misconception this morning.

        Upgrading to Windows 10 is free IN the first 12 months after release, after which presumably such an upgrade will have a cost.

        There's no indication of a subscription model for that upgrade, indeed to quote:

        "This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no cost."

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: COULD BE LETHAL

      @dogged: a free *UPGRADE* for an OS they're likely to abandon after <3 years? They have absolutely no option but to give Win8 users a free upgrade, or face another crippling backlash. For nearly a year there have been questions asked about whether Win9 then Win10, would be charged for or treated as Win8 service packs and the feedback has been pretty clear.

      Win7 *UPGRADES* being temporarily free - that's market reality smacking them in the wallet. The $25 upgrade to Win8 didn't work well enough, they have to go cheaper. Or no one is moving off 7 till a few years after it's discontinued. By the end of that free year the market supply of Win7 licences will have dried up and the choice will be Win10 or another OS.

      MS are desperate and cannot bully users they way they got used to under monkey boy.

      1. dogged

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        No, it looks to me like Paul Shirley is desperate to find something wrong with it.

        Just like Gavin Clarke.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        I would have had no problem in paying $25 to upgrade to Windows 8 if it was an improvement on Windows 7, but it is more of a downgrade than an upgrade, so even if it was free, and as I had a Technet subscription at the time, there was no marginal cost anyway.

        One of the great things about Windows 2 back in the days was overlapping, resizable Windows. We seem to have somehow lost that in the TIFKAM side of Windows 8.

      3. John Tserkezis

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        "MS are desperate and cannot bully users they way they got used to under monkey boy"

        I would really like to believe that, but, going on their recent actions, the cynic in me wins over.

      4. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: COULD BE LETHAL

        "a free *UPGRADE* for an OS they're likely to abandon after <3 years?"

        Windows XP was supported for about 14 years. And still is if you want to pay. I can't see the supported life for Windows 10 being anything under a decade.

  4. Fihart

    Free now. Pay (and pay again) later

    I think we can assume that this is a preview for the Windows subscription model where ordinary punters are required to pay annually almost as much as Windows used to cost to buy outright.

    Contrary to the Reg headline, from the hardware sellers viewpoint, perhaps there is a cost cut possible on PCs.

    However, once punters catch on to the plot to bleed them annually, even more will desert to Mac than were driven away by Win8 catastrophe.

    1. Phoenix50

      Re: Free now. Pay (and pay again) later

      "I think we can assume that this is a preview for the Windows subscription model where ordinary punters are required to pay annually almost as much as Windows used to cost to buy outright."

      Why can we? How can you possibly assume that? It's a free upgrade if you chose to do so in the first year after release. Once it's done, it's done. It's yours - off you go into the great beyond. That's IT.

      If you upgrade AFTER that first year, you will have to pay a small upgrade fee.

      What is wrong with everyone? Why is this so hard to understand? This isn't about trickery or smoke and mirrors - this isn't even about "Windows versus Linux". This is just about people being blind and STUPID.

      R. T. F****NG M.

    2. wayward4now
      Linux

      Re: Free now. Pay (and pay again) later

      "However, once punters catch on to the plot to bleed them annually, even more will desert to Mac than were driven away by Win8 catastrophe."

      Right, Apple will just stop supporting your pricey Apple hardware, when it suits them. The OS becomes a moot point then. The Mac-Mini users are already crying the blues, just as the original Apple][ owners did in the 80's. Anyone thinking Apple will reward their loyalty has more money than brains.

  5. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    In the immortal words of Admiral Ackbar...

    ITS A TRAP

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Careful with that axe, Nadella!

    ...he's already lost a finger. Nice to see him chopping digits instead of developers though.

  7. Big_Ted
    Stop

    WTF.....

    Where the hell are you above getting the sbscription / its only free for a year idea from ?

    Read the article and others etc and see things like this

    "Also on Wednesday, Microsoft’s vice president of operating systems Terry Myerson said once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device “at no cost”.

    Lookie, "At No Cost". I have read every article here and several other places and the only time subs are mentioned its in the comments section.

    Please stop spreading unfounded rumor unless you can post a quote from a high level Microsoft emplyee stating otherwise.

    1. Credas Silver badge

      Re: WTF.....

      You tell me what "supported lifetime of the device" means and I'll stop ignoring the "at no cost" bit. Undefined words like that don't get added to statements by accident.

      1. Michael B.

        Re: WTF.....

        The supported lifetime of the device means that you can't take your free windows license and place it on a new machine if the machine dies.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: WTF.....- "supported lifetime"

        @Credas

        I suspect "supported lifetime" is pretty clear. M$ support (i.e issue security updates for etc) the last few OSs. So XP support ended in April 2014. I believe Vista support is due to end in early 2017, and Win 7 in 2020. So supported lifetime of Win 10 will go until about 2026 or so. And if you want support after the end-of-support date THEN you will have to pay, as you do for XP support now. They're not daft enough to suggest that they will support Win 10 for the next 50 years.

        That's all it means, it's nothing new, it's what M$ have always done. It doesn't mean that when support ends it stops working, just that if you want support after 10 years, you'll have to pay for it.

        I'd say "Simples!" but that's a bit naff....

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          @ Pen-y-gors

          Sorry, but the quote specifically concerns the lifetime of "the device".

          An OS is not a device. He's talking about hardware.

          Your mention of EOL of Windows versions is clearly off the mark.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: WTF.....- "supported lifetime"

          I think what's going on is people are looking at this and saying, "if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is."

          Dirt cheap upgrades from vista/7 to 8, free upgrades from 7/8 to 10. The question of where/when is MS making their money makes people really nervous, especially when we know they are keen on the subscription model. If they had said, "W10 will be free to buy for a year and include free support until at least 2025, the expected end of the support for W10." then things would have been rather easier. Don't tell me they haven't got an EOL date for W10.

          1. poopypants

            Re: WTF.....- "supported lifetime"

            I think their plan in the consumer space is to make money from their Windows Store. In particular, they would like a slice of that yummy 30% that enables Steam to rake in billions just on the sale of games.

            Imagine a store front like Steam built into every PC, offering not just games but a whole range of software, some for purchase, some with a subscription. That is why they want Windows 10 with Windows Store and integrated XBox app on every consumer desktop, and are prepared to give it away to achieve that.

          2. No. Really!?

            Re: WTF.....- "supported lifetime"

            ^ This ^

            Microsoft may have decided that they need a short term give away to make more money long term.

            However, they have such a history of squeezing every last penny out our budgets that it's hard not to ask what the catch is. If people are suspicious of a Microsoft give away, it's only because they have conditioned us to be.

            That said, I'm hoping this is as good a deal as it is presented.

      3. Pascal

        Re: WTF.....

        > You tell me what "supported lifetime of the device" means and I'll stop ignoring the "at no cost" bit. Undefined words like that don't get added to statements by accident.

        Jeebus the retardation level is strong on this topic, so much it hurts the brain.

        1. Upgrading to Win10 from launch date to launch date + 1 year is free. If you upgrade during that time period, that is it, you now own Windows 10. The end.

        2. For the supported lifetime of the device, you will ALSO get every following versions of windows for free.

        True, "supported lifetime of the device" is very blurry but FFS, you are arguing about free upgrades to future versions after Win10, AND transforming this magically in your heads into "Windows 10 will deactivate at some magic date unless you provide a credit card number".

        It boggles the mind.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: WTF.....

          > 2. For the supported lifetime of the device, you will ALSO get every following versions of windows for free.

          That was not said at all. What was said was:

          """once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, Microsoft will continue to keep it* current for the supported lifetime of the device** “at no cost”."""

          * 'it' refers to _Windows_10_ (normal pronoun rules). They will keep Windows 10 'current' with updates. New versions you will buy.

          ** 'supported lifetime of the device' means 'until the warranty expires'. After warranty expires you will pay for updates and new versions.

    2. Dr. Ellen

      Re: WTF.....

      The subscription is for Office 365. And a lot of other programs Microsoft will gladly provide for you.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: WTF.....

        The subscription is for Office 365. And a lot of other programs Microsoft will gladly provide for you.

        Such as, but not limited to the following.....

        Regedit

        Notepad

        Wordpad

        MSPaint

        Solitaire

        Minesweeper

        Explorer (Both Internet & Windows)

        Prepare to get bent over HARD!!

    3. Munkeh

      Re: WTF.....

      I think this misconception comes from people quoting the statement as "FOR the first year" instead of "IN the first year."

      That small change, along with a simmering dislike of Microsoft, is enough to make people jump to a conclusion not supported by direct quotes from the company.

      1. No. Really!?

        Re: WTF.....

        1. I think you are correct.

        B. Microsoft worked very long and hard to earn my dislike. One hand on the wallet until both shoes have dropped.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: WTF.....

      @Big_Ted, we're sceptical because Microsoft has given us cause to in the past and that the time-limiting seems kind of pointless, unless a subscription model is waiting in the wings.

      However, I'm happy to wait and see what the terms are as and when the product is released.

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: WTF.....

      "Where the hell are you above getting the sbscription / its only free for a year idea from?"

      As Dr Phil says, a good indicator of future behaivour, is relative past behaivour. It just doesnt' make any sense at all their current business plan goes along the lines of: "screw customers, screw customers, be nice, screw customers".

      I don't see it happening.

    6. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: WTF.....

      "Microsoft will continue to keep it current"

      So Windows 11 is free too?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF.....

      I wonder how many people will realise - when it's too late that "for the lifetime of the device" was a hook and a whole raft of updates for Windows 10 are planned for AFTER the 1st year thereby rendering the current Win7/8 hardware useless - just like they have done in the past?

  8. James Delaney

    Too easy?

    Was there any mention of different versions as there has been in the past with Home, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and that choice nightmare?

    I wonder if it may turn out that anyone can upgrade to Win10 for free, but if you want the "professional" stuff like support for Domains in XP etc. then you end up paying? We'll have to wait and see but I look forward to seeing if they can truly keep it as simple as the one windows idea.

    I'm sure the suits will get involved at some point.

  9. James Pickett

    "Microsoft will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device"

    Er, what does that mean exactly? I've got working devices over 10 years old...

    1. Shades

      I have a feeling this means devices sanctioned by Microsoft either manufactured itself or in partnership with device manufacturers (think phones and tablets). I suppose it could also mean the supported lifetime of the device by ANY manufacturer... How many of those 10 year old devices are still supported by the manufacturer?

    2. Lyndon Hills 1

      It quite possibly depends on the laws of the country you're in. Supported life of the device is going to be how long the manufacturer expects it to last.

      Since no-one repairs anything nowadays, it's probably about 5 minutes.

    3. Jess

      what does that mean exactly?

      It means as long as the feel like it.

    4. kitekrazy

      I think that's why many will not jump on the free upgrade. If you have multiple systems where hardware vendors will not have driver support for older but great functioning devices upgrading is expensive. On 4 machines I would have almost every audio device with no driver support unless MS allows W7 drivers.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely the free-for-one-year offer is aimed at the consumer and small business markets; larger enterprises tend to decide their own upgrade schedules within which the actual licensing updates are a small part of the total cost.

    The people it will affect are those selling Windows software into those markets,since they'll be expected to have their products running on Windows 10 at the launch date. ( *thinks*: must revisit that code flagged as needed for Windows 9x... )

  11. M7S
    Stop

    Am I the only one...

    ...interpreting this as "for the first twelve months after release, the upgrade to Windows 10 will be free" and assuming that after that date you'd have to pay to upgrade (in the same way as if I wanted to purchase a copy of Windows 8.x now).

    On all the articles relating to this that El Reg has published today, almost the entire line taken by commentards suggests that the OS will cease to function (leaving all the usual jokes aside) after this period and some kind of licence/subscription will be required. I'm no M$ schill but that just seems a tad pessimistic, even to my somewhat cynical nature regarding IT firms.

    I could be wrong, and there's some suggestion (I don't know on what basis) that OEM installs mighbt be treated differently and of course there's the issue of versions (Pro, Ultimate, Enterprise etc) being upgraded appropriately (and I apologise if I've missed this information somewhere) to be sorted when the detail is made available, but on the face of it this seems a simple offer, and for those so inclined, not a bad one.

    1. Roger B

      Re: Am I the only one...

      No, not the only one, glad to see a few people are capable of reading, the idea as I see it is, get as many people onto Windows 10 on their PC, tablet or phone as quickly as possible so as to encourage app makers to make apps, with crossbuying, you can run the app on whatever device you like.

      This is if you upgrade your current Windows 7/8/8.1 PC or tablet or Windows 8 phone to Windows 10 in the first year. If you don't upgrade for whatever reason within 12 months of Windows 10 launching, then you will have to purchase a copy of Windows 10. The "life of your device" comment probably has a catch somewhere, I would guess 10 years, not to bad a life for something that runs Windows 7 right now, to add on another 10 years, that would make my works PC and home pc (Pentium 4, Dual Cores) about 18 years old, which is not to bad. If you were to buy a new PC today with Windows 8.1, upgrade to Windows 10 at launch, (October 2015?) then you'll get 10 years of support, which is not bad I guess, how long was Windows XP support up for?

  12. AceRimmer

    Exact wording

    The exact wording the MS use for the "FREE" part is:

    "A free upgrade1 for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, who upgrade in the first year"

    http://news.microsoft.com/2015/01/21/windows-10-a-new-generation-of-windows/

    So that looks like free to me so long as you already own Windows 7 or 8.1, upgrade within 1 year of Windows 10 being released and keep the device.

    Any new devices will need a new (and presumably paid for) license

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Exact wording @ AceRimmer

      True. But the sentence before the one you quoted reads "Windows 10 will be delivered as a service to offer a safer, innovative and updated experience for the supported lifetime of the device." This is the one that introduces two doubts.

      1. What does "as a service" mean? As long as you keep paying us?

      2. What does "supported lifetime" mean?

      Until these are clarified people are not going to drop their long-held habit of distrusting Microsoft and all the suits who sail in her.

    2. Mike Flugennock
      Coat

      Git along, little dogies

      The exact wording the MS use for the "FREE" part is:

      "A free upgrade for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, who upgrade in the first year"

      "Just throw and rope and brand 'em,

      Don't try to understand 'em!

      Head 'em up, move 'em out,

      Move 'em out, head 'em up,

      Head 'em up, move 'em out,

      Rawhide!"

  13. Shades

    Sorry...

    ...I'm calling bullshit:

    "New versions of Windows and sales of new PCs go hand in hand"

    Anecdotally I know of no-one that rushes out to buy a new PC because there is a new version of Windows. Furthermore, nobody I know upgrades Windows purely because there is a new version of Windows. Granted there are some people out there that do - hardcore nerds - but certainly not enough to cause a spike of PC sales in any global significance. Businesses don't follow MS release cycles, so they won't cause a significant increase in new PC purchases upon a new release of Windows, and (most) consumers just by a new PC when theirs dies (or is so laden with crap that it becomes, to them, unusable). I dare say that most consumers couldn't give a monkeys about what version of Windows a new PC has unless they hear that its a lame duck (Vista or 8 for instance) and are savvy enough to downgrade.

    What dataset are you using to pronounce that "New versions of Windows and sales of new PCs go hand in hand" and how does that breakdown? Basically, how many people buy a new PC because of a new version of Windows? Where is the proof of EXACTLY that?

    If I'm wrong, and you can prove it, I'll gladly put my hands up and say I'm wrong... but until then I am, as I said, calling bullshit.

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Sorry...

      I agree, but I remember deliberately waiting for several months to buy a new laptop because there was so much excitement about the new MS O/S.

      Vista, as it happens... :-(

      But I didn't buy the new laptop *because* of Vista - I planned to buy one anyway.

    2. Craigness

      Re: Sorry...

      "New versions of Windows and sales of new PCs go hand in hand"

      ...because people can't buy a new PC and put their old OS on it, and (almost) never buy a new version of Windows for an old PC.

      On the other hand, I bought an OS-free PC last year but might get Windows 10 for it this year.

    3. WylieCoyoteUK

      Re: Sorry...

      Yeah, that stopped being the case after Vista, pretty much....

      The number of "Vista capable" PCs sold that were no such thing left a sour taste in many consumer's mouths.

    4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Sorry...

      Yes, but...

      I don't think I've ever risked actually fully upgrading a Windows OS in situ (installing service packs doesn't count), as the chances of finding out the new OS is either a) a total lemon or b) the 'upgrade' bricks the PC are just too high. I've always waited to change OS until I need a new laptop/PC - which happens every 4-5 years. In this case my Win 7 box is 4.5 years old, and should be good for at least another 18 months (possibly with an upgrade to an SSD). Then I'll (probably) get a nice new machine with Win 10 pre-installed, and take the opportunity to clean out all the crap as I migrate data and essential software.

      It's a strategy that works for me - I've never owned a copy of Win 3.0, ME, Vista or Win 8!

      1. Joerg

        Re: Sorry...

        Just create an image of the partition where the OS installed with a simple program like Acronis TrueImage for example, or many others or even free Linux tools.

        Then do any upgrade. If anything goes wrong you could quickly revert back like nothing happened and no data would be lost.

        Actually anyone should create no less than a OS partition recovery image every month if not every week. Or even every day or couple of days.

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: Sorry...

          "Actually anyone should create no less than a OS partition recovery image every month if not every week. Or even every day or couple of days."

          You overestimate "anyone", in that "anyone" has more important things to do than backup their computer every day. Or every other day. Or every month for that matter.

          Heck, I have enough trouble trying to convince "anyone" to backup AT ALL.

    5. John Tserkezis

      Re: Sorry...

      "New versions of Windows and sales of new PCs go hand in hand"

      "If I'm wrong, and you can prove it, I'll gladly put my hands up and say I'm wrong... but until then I am, as I said, calling bullshit."

      You're right, but I think the original poster meant different, in that, (regardless if you're buying new or upgrading or otherwise) with any purchase of a new computer, it is generally accepted you're going to get some version of windows with it at the same time, that is, the sticker price already includes the price of that windows.

      This is certainly not an exclusive rule: By far most people are not computer heads, and are not able or willing to change things once it's out of the box. Corporates and home-geeks are not in the same league though, and ARE able and willing to make forced changes either due to requirements, or pure preference. But I'm not quite sure if I want to call them the majority either.

      As far as buying a new version of windows goes, agreed, outside of those few oddballs, or perhaps some that have strict software requirements, this is not Apple, people don't line up overnight to buy a new boxed windows version, nor download and install the newest and greatest version of windows "just because". It just doesn't happen.

  14. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Not entirely convinced...

    If Windows 10 is a flop it will not be a disaster for Microsoft, and they will not have to wait two years to do something about it. Someone will sell a start button, and Microsoft will include one in version 10.1

    I always thought a new version of Windows was a disaster for manufacturers and distributors. Customers delay replacing equipment until other people have got the new version working.

    1. Big_Ted
      Facepalm

      Re: Not entirely convinced...

      What ? ? ?

      It will include a start button in version 10.1 ?

      Please at least read a little before you comment. It has a start button that will show standard windows programs AND app tiles at the same time........

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Apology for Big_Ted

        I am sorry I thought Reg readers were smart enough to recognise a clear example of Microsoft being able to correct an unpopular decision before the next major release. In future I will try to dumb things down for you.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why can't I use Windows 7 forever?

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Forever?

      Now that's a really good question. There is a lot of noise around "Support ending for xxx", but in reality which of us consumers (as opposed to business staff) gives a rat's ass about support? By the time an O/S reaches end of life we've had 3 new PCs, each with a new flavour of Windows, and I personally have *never* felt the need to ask Microsoft for help or support. Once it reaches the point where it isn't patched any more, maybe it's time to move on, but until then...

      1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

        Re: Forever?

        But, will no one think of the poor starving shareholders, does nobody care? Waaaa.....

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Why?

      Well why can't I use 98SE forever?!

    3. John Tserkezis

      "Why can't I use Windows 7 forever?"

      Because 64 bit software support is only going to last so long. Just like 32 bit support is somewhat limited right now, like 16 bit support is no longer, like 8 bit support is no longer - you get the idea.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        >Because 64 bit software support is only going to last so long.

        May I make a bold prediction;

        16EiB ought to be enough for anybody.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "16EiB ought to be enough for anybody."

          In terms of RAM, the limit is actually 8EiB. The top half of the address space is kernel space and typically reserved for memory mapping (GPU RAM, for example). In fact, no CPU on the market today is actually capable of 64 actual bits of memory addressing (the limit IIRC is 48 bits right now), but credit AMD for coming up with a way to keep things neat while still allowing room to grow into true 64-bit addressing.

          That said, 8EiB is about a couple orders of magnitude or so higher than even today's high-end RAM usage. It may not be overkill in perpetuity, but the amount of time it should suffice should be longer than usual so that by the time it becomes an issue, the whole computing landscape would have changed radically along with it: to the point that bits don't really matter that much anymore.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            "In terms of RAM, the limit is actually 8EiB. The top half of the address space is kernel space "

            Kernels can use RAM too...the limit is 16EiB.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              "Kernels can use RAM too...the limit is 16EiB."

              If kernels use motherboard RAM, they call the bottom half of the space: the lower 8EiB. The top half is reserved for, like I said, memory mapping and such. Apart from internal device memory (like GPU RAM), the bulk of the top half is intended to be "virtual" memory and not actually RAM sitting somewhere.

              So the limit of motherboard RAM is 8 EiB.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "The top half is reserved for, like I said, memory mapping and such. Apart from internal device memory (like GPU RAM), the bulk of the top half is intended to be "virtual" memory and not actually RAM sitting somewhere."

                You are thinking of OS design limits applicable only to 32 bit PC processors. And even then on a 4GB machine I could use over 3GB of RAM. As we are talking about current 64 bit CPUs, then this is completely wrong. (Current x64 CPUs have 48 address lines and can directly address 256TB of RAM). Some small portion of the address space might be used for memory mapping, but there is no requirement to reserve more than is actually needed.

                "So the limit of motherboard RAM is 8 EiB"

                No it isn't. If you were using a true 64 bit CPU with 64 bits of address space then you would be able to potentially directly address all 16EB of RAM.

          2. Adam 1 Silver badge

            >That said, 8EiB is about a couple orders of magnitude or so higher than even today's high-end RAM usage.

            And the fart of a flea is also a couple of orders of magnitude quieter than a jumbo jet at take off.

            The 64 bit address space is really big [citation needed].

            The Titan supercomputer at oak ridge is the current largest by RAM. If you decided that you needed you needed a million times more RAM to play the latest version of Crysis, you are still an order of magnitude from running out.

    4. No. Really!?

      How did one of my clients find El Reg?!?!

  16. Roland6 Silver badge

    Windows Revenues

    No upgrades mean no new Windows license revenue and Windows licenses account for $18bn of annual revenue for Microsoft.

    However, from what I can ascertain, this figure is total Windows licence revenues, hence includes volume licencing subscriptions, which MS receives largely regardless of which version of Windows a license holder runs. Likewise, as MS demonstrated in spades with XP, people will buy a new PC either when they actually need one or they feel the need to upgrade, but in both cases people tended to stick with XP rather than switch to another product. However, as we saw with XP, because MS weren't investing in new functionality it became dated and thereby made the competition's offerings more attractive.

    So I suggest, MS doesn't actually need to upgrade Windows to maintain revenues, but does need to upgrade Windows to keep it current and prevent customers drifting away. It would seem with the Win10 announcement MS understand this and hence the words being used about how Win10 will be maintained and upgraded.

    Given how cash rich MS are, it would not surprise me if they effectively adopt the same (and successful) sales strategy of many other companies, namely give out a free version (why not go back to the Win3 level of anti-theft protection?) then have premium and business versions that both cost - Office Starter doesn't seem to have dented MS's Office revenues...

  17. John Sanders
    Holmes

    Oh no!!!

    """Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps."""

    If only MS had the source code of Windows...

    1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip
      Devil

      Re: Oh no!!!

      Its cheaper to kill than to cure.....(evil laughter)

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Oh no!!!

      """Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps."""

      They say it like it's a bad thing.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Oh no!!!

        '"""Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps."""

        They say it like it's a bad thing.'

        Or as if they couldn't provide an app-store for W7 apps.

        What is this app-store thing anyway? Is it something like Synaptic which I can run to install most of the stuff I need on Debian?

      2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: Oh no!!!

        The one thing I find most irritating about Windows Store, errr... Modern Apps is that they start so damn slowly in comparison to far more feature rich desktop applications often with the Store Apps having a much reduced feature set. Having looked at the code I can see why but so long as this remains the case, you won't see me installing them. Ever. There are far too many F/OSS equivalents which work just fine on the Windows desktop to even put up with it.

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Oh no!!!

          "Modern Apps is that they start so damn slowly in comparison to far more feature rich desktop applications "

          Install this

          http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2913270 and this http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=42642

          Then from an Elevated command prompt, run this:

          WSRESET

          and then

          powershell -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register $Env:SystemRoot\WinStore\AppxManifest.XML

          and your issue should be resolved...

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Oh no!!!

            Not sure whether Advice Dog?

    3. John Tserkezis

      Re: Oh no!!!

      "Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps."

      This is a good thing.

      From the casual browsing I've done, the Microsoft app store looks much like the Apple app store or even Google play. Aside from a few useful programs, it's just pages and pages and pages of string-attached "pseudo free" crap.

      It's a sign of the times, and I don't like it.

  18. NotWorkAdmin

    If Win7 is "OK" till 2020

    Then there's absolutely no point offering me Windows 10 for any price, including free. I'm not about to change an operating system that's stable and works well on 20 client machines just because one with a bigger number in it is available.

    The cost of upgrading from XP, which had essentially nothing wrong with it is still stinging.

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: If Win7 is "OK" till 2020

      You want bigger numbers ?

      How about Windows 95, Windows 97, Windows 2000.

      Makes Windows 10 look real old . . .

      1. Wade Burchette

        Re: If Win7 is "OK" till 2020

        "How about Windows 95, Windows 97, Windows 2000.

        Makes Windows 10 look real old . . ."

        The sad part is the UI on each of these makes Windows 10 look really old.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: If Win7 is "OK" till 2020

      Depends whether the update process can be expertly controlled, like the Win8/8.1 was... Remember with a little care it was possible to download a full ISO (complete with its own licence key) without having it install all over your working system, enabling you to install at a later date or install in a VM.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Doesn't matter if the "update process is expertly controlled"

        It will still require testing, it will still require work to deploy, there is still a chance of unforseen problems that didn't occur during the testing. What's the benefit in from this effort? What does have a more recent OS buy me? I can't think of a single thing! Can even Windows fanboys (if there are still any left) come up with a reason why a corporation should want to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10?

        Given Windows 7's market share, all applications will be compatible with it and supported on it until it goes out of support. An OS is just a launcher for apps, and Windows 7 does that now with a minimum of fuss or bother. PC technology is barely advancing anymore, so the drive for supporting new stuff as was required back in the day with hardware for 3D, USB, and so forth no longer exists.

        Corporate users won't upgrade until 2020 gets closer - they'll want to see Windows 11 and make a decision between it and Windows 10. Unless they both suck, in which case there would be considerable pressure on Microsoft to extend Windows 7's support like they did for XP.

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Doesn't matter if the "update process is expertly controlled"

          I think it does as it assumes the average user/upgrade victim isn't an expert.

          I kinda like Win7. Ok, I tolerate it on this box which I play games on. It works for me. It may not work for MS, who may prefer me to 'upgrade' to Win8. Or Win10. (What happened to 9)?

          Call me old fashioned but I like stuff to work when I click on it. I don't like the idea of having to reinstall loads of stuff just to get a candycrush interface and touch features on a box who's touch inputs are a good'ol mouse and keyboard. I don't care if the 'upgrade' gives me access to MS's AppStore because I'm puzzled why I couldn't just download an app for that. Every other store seems to let me.

          So if I could just click on an Windows 10 upgrade button and it upgraded, and all my stuff still worked, and it worked faster.. I might be tempted. Even if that meant spinning up a Win7 VM in the background, I don't really care. I just want my PC to work much the same as it did before the 'upgrade', and I'm fairly certain most users feel the same way.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Doesn't matter if the "update process is expertly controlled"

            Why do you want to click on that Windows 10 "upgrade" button if all your stuff still worked? Suggesting it will somehow work faster is spurious - the OS has very little effect on how quickly applications run.

            The job of an OS is to get out of the way, and its resource management efficiency only matters at the margins (i.e. when you have maxed out RAM are are swapping, have more I/Os going to your storage than it can handle and they need to be prioritized, etc.)

        2. MrXavia

          Re: What does have a more recent OS buy me?

          Hopefully something other than the mess that is Windows 8.1

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Triggers broom

    Free for the life time of the device?

    .

    .

    I've had my PC for over 10 years.

    It's had its PSU, CPU, RAM, graphics card, optical drive & hard drive replaced for various reasons.

    Added a TV card and internal card reader.

    At what point is it no longer the same device?

    .

    .

    On a more paranoid angle, M$ have a long history of "interesting" business tactics.

    Including, but not limited to:

    - Stealing MS-DOS,

    - Copying Apples UI,

    - Copying Lotus(?) office and giving M$ office away free with their OS,

    - Undercutting Netscape by giving IE away free with their OS,

    - Locking in customers with propriety standards (eg *.doc *.xlsx & etc),

    - Heavy lobbying against open standards being adopted in the UK government,

    - Repeated attempts at getting everyone onto a subscription model.

    Free OS for everyone from this near monopoly? What could possibly be the harm in that?

    Personally I'd like to see the small print.

    PS: Anyone know how to adjust the formatting on El reg's comments?

    1. Jess

      - Stealing MS-DOS

      Wasn't it selling MS/PCDOS before they'd actually bought it? (QDOS)

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: - Stealing MS-DOS

        > Wasn't it selling MS/PCDOS before they'd actually bought it? (QDOS)

        Initially MS licenced SCP-DOS as an OEM for 8086 based computers. It was a breach to sell it on 8088 computers (such as IBM-PC). later the purchased all rights for (allegedly) $50,000 and SCP has the right to sell MS-DOS with a computer for free (ie no payment to MS). When the SCP factory burned down they started selling MS-DOS plus a V20 chip (faster 8088 compatible) and MS had to buy them out of the agreement, allegedly for $1million.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Triggers broom

      > Undercutting Netscape by giving IE away free with their OS,

      And not paying Spyglass who wrote it for them.

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Triggers broom

      > At what point is it no longer the same device?

      It was no longer a _supported_ device when the warranty expired. This may have been when the warranty period expired or when you opened the case or when you changed one piece of hardware.

  20. Roland6 Silver badge

    Win10 Hardware Requirements

    Microsoft hasn’t said what PC hardware you’ll need to run Windows 10

    Whilst they haven't posted the final platform requirements they have posted the platform requirements for the Technical Preview where they have given a minimum platform specification of a single-core 1GHz, 32-bit CPU and 1GB RAM - namely the same as Windows 8.1, which was the same as Windows 8, which in turn stuck to the Windows 7 specs, which was the same as Windows Vista...

    Whilst I suspect you wouldn't actually want to run it on that minimum platform (unless 10 is even more performant than 8), that does serve to indicate that practically any post P4 system hardware will be able to run 10, albeit some features will not be available (just like Win8.1 where Hyper-V isn't installed as standard due to its CPU requirements).

    What I find interesting is the continuing support for the 32-bit architecture, I wonder whether this is because of its usage in mobile devices?

  21. John Sanders
    Holmes

    Really?

    """As we've written here before, offering free products in today’s climate of low-price but fully functioning devices is the way to grow market share."""

    Grow market share where?

    They control +90% of the Desktop PC market, (which is supposed to be in decline, that's another history), a very lucrative one as they charge companies twice or trice in CALs.

    So MS plan is:

    Create unified platform called Win10

    Somehow sacrifice the cost of the OS license for consumers as a temporary measure, because it will make those adopt Win 10 in droves.

    As user adoption of Win10 in the desktop increases the pool of users who can deploy applications from the MS store, that will attract developers, who in turn will have it super easy to convert Win10 apps to multiple devices.

    Profit.

    Well good luck MS :-D

  22. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    There is no such thing as "free"...

    The upgrade may only apply to a severely crippled "home" version so you'll have to pay for the "professional" and "ultimate" versions...

    Somewhere...somehow Microshaft WILL find a way to get your money !

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: There is no such thing as "free"...

      Pro and Ultimate versions are enterprise-oriented and are not the target of this upgrade program IIRC (since these are usually done via enterprise license agreements that typically involve a lot of negotiation and planning). I agree this plan is mainly targeting the consumer.

  23. Roland6 Silver badge

    Windows 10 is going to be free – for a while. That’s really bad news for PC makers and channel partners

    Not sure if that really follows. If you need a new PC, you'll buy it with the OS you want on it. Some may be happy to buy a system running 7 or 8 with "rights to upgrade to 10", others will simply buy 10 from the outset.

    No the big thing that is impacting the market is the change in longevity of systems and hence enterprise refresh cycles. What has been successfully demonstrated is that business don't need to do a 3 year desktop/laptop refresh, they can get away with a 5~6 year refresh, which in the current business climate can make a big difference to a company's cost base. In fact with MS saying that 10 will run on the same platform as Vista, some may even try and extend the life of their desktops even more.

  24. Pallas Athena
    Devil

    Hardware

    "Microsoft obviously reckons PCs running Windows 7 and Windows 8.x have already got what they need to make Windows 10 work."

    Could it be just the opposite? Hey, look, a free upgrade, let's install it. Oh - there is no roll back possible. Oh - now my computer is sssslllllloooowwww, guess I'll have to buy a new one - with a new paid OEM license...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Indeed

    People don't upgrade/buy a PC for the sake of a new version of windows and especially not because they love windows (rolls eyes). They buy a new PC because X software or hardware requires it. Plain and simple. For software its a simple matter of new platforms or Api's. For hardware it's driver support. Manufacturers have little financial benefit to keep supporting discontinued hardware for new OS's. That's why proprietary drivers on open source OS's tend to get vilified sooner or later.

    What's left unspoken is that this cycle of PC sales and software has always been artificial in nature. When both software and hardware industries failed to produce the next big thing and some of the novelty of computing wore off (insofar as the average consumer is concerned) the whole thing started to run out of steam. As evidenced by people's reluctance to let go of XP.

    The devil is in the details. And we don't have a lot of details. My fear is the wording they used - "the lifetime of the device". A lot of scenario's come to mind but ultimately I think it means business as usual. They've figured out a way to force hardware upgrades despite no major windows releases. If they're smart they will adopt a point release schedule to both simplify their security updates and actually change the system requirements of Win10 over time.

    It may be true that you never have to pay for an upgrade again. But consumers always pay... some way. Ads, services, privacy, app store taxes, etc. Corporations that don't make money fail or quickly change strategy. Which will it be for MS?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upgrade within a Year!!!!

    Will be interesting how this is done,

    will you need existing OS on the machine to do the upgrade, I reinstall My Pc every now and then so this will be a pain and how will it work if i want to reinstall windows 10 on my now "supported for life of the device" after 12 months,

    Will you have to give all your personal details (and i mean ALL) and COA details to MS and they will give you a key to "Activate" the new software. In this case i could give them all the OEM COA's for all the machines in the office on week one of the free upgrade availability and then upgrade at my leisure over the next 3 years when it has been found to be stable and secure by everyone else who took up the free upgrade and installed it straight away..... ;-)

    What they haven't said is Yes windows 10 will be free for a year BUT it will only work with OFFICE 15 which you will have to Buy. :-(

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Soooo...

    I have a computer, it's a desktop type thingy. I build it myself quite some time ago. It's a great machine. It sits in the corner and purrs away (bit like the Queen apparently.)

    I have changed the processor, oh and the memory, cos that wasn't fast enough for the CPU.

    And I gouged a deep mark in the case so I had to change that.

    Later, of course I changed the motherboard for something much shinier, that meant a new power supply and new memory (again) and a newer CPU.

    The graphics card was replaced next, well the PSU could fit it in its power budget. :) My desktop is a great machine. I've had it for years. I'll probably swap a few more bits and pieces in & out over the next few nears, just to keep my PC up to date of course.

    I love my PC, Built it YEARS ago, it's still the same PC though.

    Now, tell me again about this "supported life of the device."

    1. Phoenix50

      Re: Soooo...

      "Now, tell me again about this "supported life of the device."

      Why does that matter? Here's an idea - why don't you download Windows 10 and install it on that PC:

      1. Are you doing so within the first year since Windows 10 has been released?

      2. Have they asked you for any payment when you've downloaded or installed Windows 10?

      If the answer to question 1 is yes, and the answer to question 2 is no - CONGRATULATIONS! You are now the proud owner of a PC running Windows 10 - it's YOURS! FOREVER! When you trash the computer and send it to the great PC recycling plant in the sky you'll need to buy Windows 10 again - but that's obvious isn't it?

      Isn't it? They're selling everyone a f****ng OEM for FREE, for gods sake. Why is this so hard.

      1. toxicdragon

        Re: Soooo...

        Because its microsoft, a company that has a habit of suddenly throwing away the rubber gloves and gallons of KY they showed you and promised they would use and replacing them with a 6 inch wide masonry drill, tree felling wedges and Naga Chillies.

    2. vee Hybrid

      Re: Soooo...

      "I love my PC, Built it YEARS ago, it's still the same PC though"

      Sounds like Trigger's broom.

  28. localzuk

    Odd article

    Consumers don't generally buy PCs because a new OS is out. They buy a new computer because they want or need one.

    It isn't like the introduction of a new technology (eg. when iPads appeared). It isn't an additional device.

    Businesses have a fixed rollout time usually, so new OS vs old OS isn't a discussion that's made for existing kit usually. They usually just replace PCs at the end of their planned lives, and prior to that the new OS is tested etc... The problem they have faced though, is compatibility - existing programs ceasing to work in the new version, so that caused them to hold back on the entire project.

    If Windows 10 can run everything that Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 can, then there is less of a hurdle to overcome to encourage an upgrade.

    We won't be upgrading to Windows 10 in our school until the next replacement cycle anyway, as there's simply no need to disturb our stable network!

  29. royston_vasey

    This is just MS changing its business model to exploit the existing range of applications written for Windows and give up charging for the OS. It's not unheard of amongst their competitors. They just needed to work out how to get from where they are know to a more advantageous (to them) position.

    So,

    Step 1: MS corralls the broad range of applications currently available for desktop Windows into an App Store.

    Step 2: Give the OS away to maximise the number of devices compatible with the Windows App Store

    Step 3: MS takes a cut from each chargeable download from the App Store (just like other well known companies do).

    Result - business model changed. MS Revenue diverted from the OS to a tax on 3rd party developers.

  30. IGnatius T Foobar

    Microsoft FAIL

    This delay offers a perfect opportunity for Google to get their app stores running seamlessly on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Android's momentum is red hot and if they were to expand its ecosystem so that those apps truly run everywhere, it's a no-brainer that this is where the whole industry goes. I want Android desktops.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Microsoft FAIL

      I've got Android Desktop. It's available from either BlueStacks or via Andy via VirtualBox. Works in a window. And that's on everything from the Core2 Duo to the dual Xeon. So what are you really asking for? Go get Google Chrome or a Chromebook if neither of the virtualization solutions work for you.

      Sheesh!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft FAIL

      " I want Android desktops."

      Android is a sluggish, laggy and functionality limited cut down OS with the security ability of a collander to contain water. Not ideal for a corporate desktop..

  31. jeffdyer

    "prolong the industry’s recovery"

    "DELAY the industry's recovery" surely?

  32. Whiznot

    Windows 10 lacks WMC's outstanding PVR functionality. WMC is great for recording from multiple TV channels with an HD Homerun Prime. No thanks for the free downgrade from Windows 7.

  33. Anne Hunny Mouse

    Need more details....

    I think we will have to wait to see the extent of the free Windows, will it be limited to certain editions and/or licensing models.

    Will you have the ability to register for the update but apply it later? (receiving a key?).

    I think their intention is to try and use OneDrive. Office 365, the Store and selling data mined from Cortana (or using it for targeting ads) for at least home users and possibly SME's but I cannot see larger businesses using those services.

    For the hardware makers they don't necessarily have to provide working drivers and software for Windows 10 for old kit which generates sales of new printers etc.

  34. Spoonsinger

    Umm, I have this device....

    It's sitting next to me. Built out of bits and pieces, (actually quite good bits and pieces) and running a legal version of Windows 7 Pro. I'm totally willing to support this device till it dies or becomes obsolete to my work.

    The question is "will they support this device, if I upgrade, until the motherboards caps burn and die"? If so can I continue to upgrade to future Windows 'n', (where 'n' is bigger or equal to 'X'), with a different motherboard but same setup, without significant hassle and cost, based on my current setup?

    ps

    I'm totally prepared to coax this setup to the foreseeable future. (which is a lot shorter as you get older and a lot longer than the young perceive - but they will have the enjoyment of that time dilation experience later)

  35. Nanners

    Nice OSX

    imitation I hope. This is it's big chance to save us from apple oppression. Somehow, I expect it to suck.

  36. Haro

    An empty offer

    In summary, from all the comments, this is an empty offer that won't kill anybody. Since the software is all important, nobody ever upgrades an existing machine, since you can be sure all your software and drivers won't run. They are just doing this so that people will have w10 on new machines. In large corporations you always start out-typing your Word after 3 years, because of messier anti-virus bloat. New machines are the order of day, and this might even put Intel back in the black.

  37. Gis Bun

    Free. Sort of....

    A reminder that it is free for the life of a device. How many computers do you know last 10 years? Those with Windows XP or Vista [maybe 30% of the market share] will at one point upgrade their systems which require a new system. Windows 8.x only managed around 15% in it's 2 years of existence. A lot more Win XP users running older systems.

    [Plus you will have dumb manufacturers such as Acer which won't support Win 10 on older hardware, so those may also buy a new system.]

    And remember that this is just for an expected year.

    Microsoft is telling about 65% of the market share that you can upgrade for free. That is huge. When Vista finally dies in 2 years there will be a decent rush to get away from it and grab a Windows 10 new system.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't hard. It's just unbelievable.

    The key phrase, as others have noted, is "the supported lifetime of the device". That clearly means as long as machine is supported by the OEM who shipped it. That's probably longer than the base warranty period. It may not be tied to an extended warranty being in force.

    What it probably indicates is that it will be covered as long as replacement parts are available. Keep in mind the current limitations on Windows reactivation where a machine experiences motherboard failure. A strict reading of Microsoft's license would be that the replacement motherboard needs to be a direct OEM replacement (I'm well aware that MS hasn't always enforced this to the letter).

    I'm willing to bet this is what MS told the manufacturers in advance of these announcements to cool them out. Dell, HP, Lenovo, et. al. are all in on this, because it's supposed to keep them relevant. All they have to do shut down production of spares and they can reap the windfall. Of course the customers are going to think the manufacturer cheated them -- and MS will attempt to deflect responsibility away from themselves.

    Of course those of us who build our own hardware and then get put a system builder copy of Windows on them aren't going to be any better off. It would be nice to think my kids would get the benefit of Windows updates for the life of their dad, but I just don't see MS ever going along with that. More likely they'll be advised to bury the old man and go out and buy a new Windows XX tablet after the funeral.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: This isn't hard. It's just unbelievable.

      > That clearly means as long as machine is supported by the OEM who shipped it. That's probably longer than the base warranty period.

      It does not say "the supported life of the model", it specifically says 'device', singular. When your warranty expires so does this 'no cost'.

      It may well mean that if your Windows 7 machine is older than the warranty then you will begin paying immediately.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: This isn't hard. It's just unbelievable.

      > I'm willing to bet this is what MS told the manufacturers in advance of these announcements to cool them out. Dell, HP, Lenovo, et. al. are all in on this, because it's supposed to keep them relevant.

      What is more likely is that the OEM version of 10 will expire at the end of the warranty period (the _supported_ life of the device) at which time a charge will be required to keep Windows working. The problem that MS have with XP and 7 is that the users of these are no longer sending money to Microsoft or OEMs, and may never do so again.

      In the 90s and 2000s MS could rely on most users paying for a new version of Windows every few years. Now they have to enforce that or face declining revenues with the majority staying with XP and 7 as being 'good enough'.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: This isn't hard. It's just unbelievable.

      "That clearly means as long as machine is supported by the OEM who shipped it. "

      And if your computer's homebuilt? Where does the line get drawn?

  39. Lost in Cyberspace

    Microsoft ID

    A free upgrade is a small price to pay to get a new Microsoft ID customer - extra audience for the Windows 10 App Store, and if you've got a desktop/laptop computer or two already on Windows 10, I suppose the hope is that your next device will be a Surface or Lumia, rather than iOS or Android...

  40. Van

    Wasn't Windows 8 about £29 on launch for a set period?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Win7 was $49 pre-ordered about six months prior to release. And that was for a boxed retail version, not a hardware-locked OEM version.

  41. Mikel

    Good Enough Computing

    It seems Microsoft has decided we reached good enough computing on a low end laptop in 2007. That means a high end desktop from 2003 should be good to go. And frankly, that has been my experience with Linux.

    Remember to blow the dust out now and then.

  42. bombastinator

    Interesting, but wrong.

    The problem is not windows. It's silicon. Up until 8 years ago, you could pretty much count on a PC lasting maybe 3 years. Not because it stopped working, but because it was totally outclassed by newer hardware. About 8 years ago this more or less stopped.

    Any of the intel i series chips are more or less the same speed clock for clock. There have been some improvements, but they are incremental. Computers are no longer getting faster. The clock rates have continued to go up, yes, but much of that is artificial.

    There is a hard physics limit on silicon on insulator speeds of around 5 ghz or so. The early i series chips could often be overclocked above 4ghz, i.e same speeds as newer chips. They're not changing because they don't like the OS, they're not changing because their hardware still works as well as the new stuff, and there is no reason to upgrade.

    The same thing happened to tall ships. There was tremendous advancement in ship building up till about the 17th century. After the design was perfected though, a ship a hundred years old, was as fast and capable as one just out of the yard, and more of a known quantity to boot. Until the invention of steam, shipbuilding was almost entirely static.

    Our next quantum jump is likely more like 10 years away than a hundred, but until it happens this is the way it is going to be.

    Microsoft knows this, and it's policy is mostly to attempt to remain relevant while it waits out the storm.

    it also explains why microsoft is going platform independent. We don't KNOW what new form that leap will take. Microsoft has to survive the drought,k and be ready to capitalize on whatever appears.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "Any of the intel i series chips are more or less the same speed clock for clock. There have been some improvements, but they are incremental. Computers are no longer getting faster. The clock rates have continued to go up, yes, but much of that is artificial."

      And the bet is also that multicore computing will hit some kind of limit as well?

  43. Levente Szileszky

    Errr, you probably never worked in IT...

    ...or you would know that desktops barely get OS upgrades - and even if they get a new OS it never happens like this:

    "Yet most IT upgrade cycles take about three years, and most have just about completed a round of upgrades to take on Windows 7 and move off of Windows XP."

    Err, no, wrong on all account. First, nobody upgrades OS on 3-4 years old machines, they simply get new machines when cycle is up, with new OS. Second there are some exceptions, like IT's or R&D's workstations but those are always far more up-to-date hardware. Third Windows 7 was released almost 5 (FIVE!) years ago, even if they bought a machine right back then, just missing the new OS, it would run Windows 7 rather inefficiently unless you throw in a decent RAM upgrade - and, fourth, just why on Earth would they bother upgrading 5-6 years old machines, spending a truckload of time making sure they get proper drivers, created installers, imaging, etc etc...?

    It makes zero sense, at the low-end office desktop market segment it would cost more per machine than simply buying a new one with Windows 7.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only retail copies of Win7 and Win8 are eligible.

    That's the word on the street. If you bought your laptop or desktop PC and it came with an OEM copy, then you need to contact your OEM and BUY the upgrade...

    Typical Microsoft, all headlines and no trousers.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Only retail copies of Win7 and Win8 are eligible.

      Well, given that Win7 was preselling at $49—for a retail box—there may be more eligible copies out there than you think.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The days of needing a Windoze O/S upgrade to run PC hardware is long gone

    Microsucks had better read up on plateaued sales and product saturation. Their days of windfall profits from every horrible O/S version that they released are long gone. If the Linux troops really wanted to grasp huge market share, now would be the time to strike. They won't however be able to gain widespread consumer growth unless they do the job properly and provide a turn-key, secure, comprehensive, efficient consumer distro version with the proper customer support, which Linux purveyors have never done IME. That is a pity because they are losing readily available market share and revenues.

    What Linux purveyors need to do is to convince application providers that consumers will gladly pay for quality software that runs reliably on Linux and allows a zero headache migration from Windoze to the latest and greatest Linux distro. Application folks don't believe consumers will pay for quality software if they can get cheap or free Linux apps, but they wrong. Many people and businesses would love to jettison Windoze for a properly functioning O/S to run their programs.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      @AC Re: The days of needing a Windoze O/S upgrade to run PC hardware is long gone

      As much as I would like them to get their act together, Gnome 3 is pre-alpha quality - it lacks fundamental things such as a theme chooser, proper power management settings, screen settings dialog ... the control panel needs a hell of a lot of care.

      Cinnamon ? Maybe ... not sure

      KDE ? Certainly not. It has the settings alright, but Suse lacks backing and Redhat has better things to do (enterprise), besides, RedHat does not have Yast.

      Then you have the systemd debacle ...

      <wishful_thinking>Maybe FreeBSD will come out as a winner here ... funny, waited 15 years for the year of Linux desktop and FreeBSD takes over</wishful_thinking>

      Na, OS X is a nightmare, a real nightmare ... since Mountain Lion when they removed an entire ui framework ... wtf. The API keeps evolving^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hchanging, so software has to be written (iwtf!), with a yearly release cycle, they are committing suicide - hardly any professional sound cards have Mavericks drivers, let alone Yosemite drivers, lots of games no longer work ...

      Can we please expell the gnome3/systemd backers ? Then we would have hope ... I doubt it will happen.

  46. kitekrazy

    I call it the Crap Store

    "Windows 7 doesn’t work with Microsoft app-store apps." All the more to like Windows 7. I have a W8 craptop. Apps like Zinio Reader are terrible on W8.

    Don't care for Office 365 either. Subscription based works for Adobe because they have Photoshop. Outside of Windows 7 nothing great has come out of Microsoft. The Ballmer legacy. Apple will miss hm.

  47. MrXavia

    I'll take a free windows 10 upgrade for my Windows 8.1 Lapotop

    Windows 8.1 is just TERRIBLE!!!! the whole metro thing on a laptop? what were they thinking?

    1. nkuk

      Re: I'll take a free windows 10 upgrade for my Windows 8.1 Lapotop

      The trouble is Windows 10 doubles down on the horrible Metro UI.

      MS is currently working their way through the desktop UI and flattening and ruining all the icons and applications. I've tried the preview version of Win 10, and aside from the start button, that has been put back apparently with a grudge as it doesn't work the way you would expect it to, its even worse than Windows 8.

      Its free for a reason, no one in their right mind would pay for it.

  48. Alex Walsh

    Don't blame MS for the lack of innovation in the hardware market since W7 was released. My i7 3770 is heading towards 3 years old yet is still more than enough for anything I do on the desktop and I have no compelling reason to upgrade the system as a whole in the near future either.

  49. RickFromTexas
    FAIL

    I think Microsoft is about to learn another very hard lesson, people don't want to pay for Windows, they're used to getting it free with their new machine. Businesses are used to paying for software, most consumers aren't.

    "You mean I buy the computer now but then I have to pay extra for Windows 10 in a year?" I can see that conversation happening in Best Buys everywhere. Nope, for me this is a non-starter, I'm staying with Win 7.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      > "You mean I buy the computer now but then I have to pay extra for Windows 10 in a year?"

      That has happened before. Some small (8") Intel tablet were being sold a few years ago (2011?). These came as dual boot with Android and Windows 7 but were advertised as 'Windows tablets with Office'. Small print mentioned that Windows and office were _trial_ versions and after some months a full version of both would need to be purchased.

  50. hayzoos

    supported device <> hardware warranty

    How is MS supposed to know when each of our hardware warranties are expired? What if your HW warranty is already expired when you obtain a free Win 10 upgrade?

    The term "supported" in the context given has something to do with MS and Win 10. I think the reference to "up to date" is simply the standard patches and near extinct service packs. I'm not quite sure if SPs have evolved into minor versions and if the minor version will be free.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: supported device <> hardware warranty

      > How is MS supposed to know when each of our hardware warranties are expired?

      By obtaining that from the OEM. In particular it may be that the OEMs will configure the warranty details into new builds, and/or report them to MS to associate with the licence key.

      > What if your HW warranty is already expired when you obtain a free Win 10 upgrade?

      Excellent question.

      > The term "supported" in the context given has something to do with MS and Win 10.

      MS did not say 'the supported life of the Operating System', they specifically referred to _device_ support life.

  51. Rick Giles
    Pirate

    Tell the truth

    “Windows 10 is Microsoft’s make-or-break operating system and Microsoft needs to do everything it can to k̶i̶c̶k̶-̶s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶a̶d̶o̶p̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ guarantee dependence on its low quality drug”

    There, fixed it for

  52. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. GlenBarrington

    This won't end well for MS long term . . .

    What this will do is make developers and software publishers LESS willing to develop for Windows environments. All of a sudden Windows is now competing for the same upgrade dollar that the publishers are competing for. We may see an increased interest in commercial applications for Linux as a result and a lot of Windows only applications being ported to Mac as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This won't end well for MS long term . . .

      That would be a neat trick given how fragmented the Linux desktop scene is. And while Apple's strong in the mobile arena, its desktop presence is mostly a niche market. Both would need a way out of the Microsoft ecosystem Catch-22. Not even Valve's making much headway with its Steam on Linux movement (most new games coming to Steam are still Windows-only).

      1. qtcoder

        Re: This won't end well for MS long term . . .

        "That would be a neat trick given how fragmented the Linux desktop scene is."

        In reality it's not that fragmented as 50% Linux users use Ubuntu alone. And a great percentage of the rest is covered by Ubuntu/Debian-derivatives so the same applications packages will work. No-one forces you to support ALL marginal distributions. It's just an excuse. Furthermore, all X11 applications will work on all desktop environments.

        Now it's starting to seem like the Windows land is more fragmented: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Windows 10...

  54. Brian Allan 1

    Long Live Win XP & Win 7!

    We're not a large company with only about 15 PC's / laptops, three of which are still running Win XP because they won't run Win 7. One is running Win 8.1 but soon to be backed off to Win 7 because Win 8.1 won't run one of our most used pieces of software. The remainder run Win 7; five 32 bit and the rest 64 bit.

    I will be a long time before we move to an unproven Win 10, even if it is free!!!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Long Live Win XP & Win 7!

      Even if a big-time remote exploit appears for XP which, due to its EOL status, will never get fixed?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Long Live Win XP & Win 7!

        >Even if a big-time remote exploit appears for XP which, due to its EOL status, will never get fixed?

        Even with this!

        The type of exploit needed to totally render XP totally insecure I suggest would have to be equivalent to the router one of public ports being open by default and permitting login using admin/admin...

        No the exploits that really matter, once you put XP (or any system behind a NAT router and enable a host-based firewall) are those that live in the web browser.

        The exploit(s) that will matter will be those that are discovered after the security vendors stop updating the XP versions of their products, because then there will most probably be no workaround.

  55. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Joke

    I witnessed a surface sale, today ... should have bought a lottery ticket.

  56. Dropper

    It won't work

    No one really pays for Windows any more. Well they do, but it's built in to the price of the PC they purchase. Only a tiny percentage of users actually upgrades Windows on the PC they're using because too much can go wrong. Those that do inevitably suffer performance hits and application incompatibility.

    It doesn't matter if upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is flawless. Previous experience tells people it will be painful and they just won't do it.

    Businesses certainly won't do it unless they're forced to. And in most cases they will also do so via purchasing new PCs.

    So being "free" isn't much of a lure, especially as the offer will probably run out before the first service pack hits. Even the most PC-illiterate of users knows that Windows is junk before SP1 is released.

  57. BiffoTheBorg

    I'm running W10 on my PC and I think it is fab.

    Can't wait for Cortana with voice in the UK.

    Looking forward to W10 on my phone too.

  58. yossarianuk

    Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

    I've had free OS upgrades since I started using Linux over a decade ago.

    With Linux you don't have a 1 year time limit either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

      "I've had free OS upgrades since I started using Linux over a decade ago.

      With Linux you don't have a 1 year time limit either."

      Or a locally installed version of Office that actually works. Or most decent games.

      1. Big_Ted

        Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

        Or silverlight to stream content etc etc

        1. qtcoder

          Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

          "Or silverlight to stream content etc etc"

          Works perfectly with pipelight that actually uses the original Windows plug-in.

      2. qtcoder

        Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

        "Or a locally installed version of Office that actually works. Or most decent games."

        I use LibreOffice even at work, because it actually works. Most decent games? Steam.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

          I'll grant you LibreOffice. I use that myself...on Windows since I've found my recent experience on Xubuntu to be rather buggy and incomplete. And no, Steam on Linux still has a ways to go to catch up with the Windows library. Even now, Valve's not insisting that any new entrants have a Mac and Linux version (many are STILL coming out Windows-ONLY, which tells me they lack the pull and the devs still lack the motivation).

        2. BiffoTheBorg

          Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

          "I use LibreOffice even at work, because it actually works."

          Yeah, somewhat obstinately I used OpenOffice and LibreOffice for some years and then recently when I got a new Windows PC I installed ye olde MS Office 2002 and frankly it is better.

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Free OS upgrades - Yawn.

        Contrary to the constant screeching of the trolls, nearly no one really needs msoffice.

        Besides, Microsoft wants you to give up that "local version of office".

        ...and Linux has a lot of games these days. Some of them are the ones that my Windows gamer friends even get excited over. Not perfect but not totally dire either.

  59. cipnrkorvo

    Wow it seems like The Register really has something against Microsoft!

    "They're giving a free upgrade, which is bad for PC manufacturers."

    Yes, but they're also making it free to include it in new devices (at least for smaller devices), which is good for PC manufacturers (because they can sell cheaper devices).

    Of course this is assuming they don't start making people pay monthly to use their own PCs after 1 year, which would be a horrible and very unpopular move.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      You can't handle the truth.

      If they are letting people upgrade in place for free and they don't cripple everyone's machines in the process, that could actually put quite a dent in the PC upgrade cycle. Demand for PCs are already depressed. People are finding that their ancient machines are still perfectly suitable.

      Microsoft seems to be ADDING to this perception rather than encouraging hardware upgrades.

  60. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    Has MS reworked the update system so it works like it did pre-Vista?

    Or is it still some weird exponentially-slower-for-each-update POS?

    I'm just not very interested any more to see how slow things can get, and that includes the installation/"upgrade" process.

    My last installation of an MS OS took about a day to complete.

    And if they could fix update for XP would be nice, so at least I could install the last few updates they did before they dumped XP. (Yes, I have a specific machine that CANNOT be upgraded beyond XP due to 3rd party driver issues.) MS just left update broken for a long time before end-of-lifing XP.

    Do I have confidence in MS? Don't think so.

  61. BobChip
    Big Brother

    It's all in the EULA

    I appreciate that I'm comming into this one very late, and that the point may already have been made.

    A lot of commentards questions and speculation here, but no real answers. MS's true intentions and plans will only be clear once we can read the Win 10 EULA. A quick search of the UK MS site a few minutes ago for "Windows 10 eula" draws a blank. If they have not yet published an eula, they may still be trying to decide what they really mean by "free", "for the lifetime of the device" etc..

    The only thing I'm willing to bet on is that, when we do finally find out, it will not be what anyone was either expecting or hoping for.

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