Windows 10 upgrade will be free….. sort of

Microsoft is going to make Windows 10 available for free to users running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 on their devices as announced today at a major Microsoft conference. If you are using Windows XP still or Windows Vista, you are out of luck.

The Windows 10 update will be available for free for one year from the date that Windows 10 is commercially available. This is expected sometime in the fall. I’m guessing it will be the retail release date and not the release to manufacturing date which is usually 90 to 120 days prior.

A Microsoft official during the conference today announced that Microsoft will be treating Windows as a service, moving forward. What that means is Microsoft will continue to update Windows 10 on all of the device types [that’s laptops, desktops, smartphones, embedded devices, etc.].

Unsure how this will work regarding updates. For example, if you want to install a fresh copy Windows 7, you need Windows 7 and then service pack 1 and then about 170 updates. If you have a copy of Windows 7 with service pack 1 then you just need the 170 updates. Windows 8.1 requires going from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, then install Update 1 and then the number of updates since then [roughly 100]. If you have Windows 8.1 then Update 1 and the 100 updates.

So the question will be how will updates be delivered and will there be a service pack or maybe some type of cumulative or monthly roll-ups. Otherwise it will get nasty with a fresh installation.

Microsoft officials demonstrated the new “Universal” applications that Microsoft is building and plans to include as a built-in part of Windows 10. Need one application for any platform with run-time libraries for each platform determining the interface [example: touch or keyboard/mouse].  The “Universal” Office suite will be available sometime in February to preview along with the availability of the first Windows 10 mobile preview build.

Also demonstrated is “Project Spartan,” the new web browser that Microsoft is building as part Windows 10. Sparttan will be a new “lightweight” browser on par with Firefox and Chrome. This should allow Microsoft to start fresh instead of the legacy code left in Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer will still be available primarily for companies with specific compatibility issues with the new browser or if you still prefer it.

Finally, Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant/search technology [similar to Apple’s Siri, also will be integrated into Spartan as well as other applications.

What is unclear is whether those upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be required to pay for year 2 and subsequent years. Additionally what about if you buy a laptop, desktop or smartphone with Windows 10 already installed. Do you need to pay for subsequent years.

Microsoft is still expected to make further announcements as we get closer to the release date.

We will see if this will satisfy those who aren’t happy with Microsoft’s recent decisions and the last operating system.

[Update 2015/01/22 #1:] According to Microsoft, upgrades will be a one-time free lifetime as long as the device is working if upgraded within the first year of the retail release. So this could mean that if you have to re-install [say a disk crash], you may have to re-install the original operating system again and then pay for the upgrade price whether or not you are past that first year.

[Update 2015/01/22 #2:] In a further clarification, if you upgrade after the year is up you will just pay an upgrade fee and that’s it. No further cost.
As for updating [the portion I had to strike through], Microsoft has stated that there will be smaller updates than any service packs. So I am guessing they will continue with the monthly “roll-ups”. Hopefully they will include an odd cumulative update.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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