Reminder: Microsoft's Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer Ends Tomorrow

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Still haven't upgraded your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 device to Microsoft's latest OS? You might want to pull your finger out asap. On July 29, the free upgrade will no longer be offered. We take a look at what you should consider before upgrading.

Despite Microsoft doing everything in its power to get customers to upgrade to Windows 10 (including some nefarious bait-and-switch tactics), some people are still sticking to their old operating systems. If you're among the holdouts, it's worth noting that you only have the rest of today to score the upgrade for free. From July 30, you'll need to fork out a minimum of $179 for the download.

In less than a month, Microsoft will be rolling out Windows 10 Anniversary which ushers in a host of new features and improvements. In other words, anyone stuck on an older version of Windows will soon be left behind even further.

If your machine runs Windows 8.1 smoothly, the new OS should work without a hitch. However, some Windows 7 users with older laptops may experience problems. You need to make sure you meet the minimum system requirements, which are as follows:

  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • Display: 1024x600
  • A Microsoft account and internet access

Microsoft also strongly recommends that you are running the latest version of your current OS (either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update). In addition, some Windows 10 features won't work without special hardware. This includes Windows Hello — which requires an infrared camera or fingerprint reader — and touch gestures which require a multi-touch screen.

You can download the updates here and here, respectively. (For the Luddites that don't know how to check their specs, you can find your system information under Control Panel or use the "Check my PC" function on Microsoft's Windows 10 website.

To update Windows 7, simply click on Windows Update which you can find under System and Security in the Control Panel. For Windows 8/8.1, go to PC Settings, then 'Update and recovery'. Alternatively, you can download the upgrade directly from Microsoft's website.

Of course, just because something is "free" doesn't necessarily mean you need it. While we strongly recommend upgrading, some people might be better off waiting until they buy a new computer. If you're unsure, this in-depth guide can help you to decide whether Windows 10 is for you.


    "If you’re machine runs Windows 8.1 smoothly". #ohdear

      Win10 runs better on machines that didn't run 8.1 smoothly in my experience anyway.

    Question: I've already upgraded my laptop to Windows 10, but I had to reset it to factory settings for service this week. That meant putting it back to Windows 8.1

    Does that mean I would have to pay to re-upgrade if I don't get it back in time? Or is the upgrade somehow keyed to my Windows login?

      Looks like you should be good:

      Once your device upgrades to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer and activates online automatically, you will be able to clean install (i.e. boot from media and install Windows 10) the same edition of Windows 10 that you upgraded to on the same device during and after the free upgrade offer. You will not be required to purchase Windows 10 or go back to your prior down-level version of Windows.

      More here about how Microsoft knows if you're eligible to upgrade after the cut-off date:

      This information will be stored as a record so when you perform subsequent installations, the activation code will be automatically applied, as long as it’s the same computer and the exact same Windows 10 edition.

    Supposedly your laptop is now activated for Windows 10 on the MS servers. So, supposedly, you can upgrade it for free again in the future, after 29th of July. Supposedly.

      Wonder what happens if they replace his laptop rather than repair?

    And you don't need a Microsoft Account to upgrade.

    Something I was reminded of when I put my laptop in for repairs, is to have an admin login account that is not tied to your Microsoft account so that the repairers can get in without wiping everything. Resetting your Microsoft accounts - which may be tied to OneDrive and/or email accounts - just so you can give a tech your password, is not the best scenario.

    In my experience, Windows 10 gets confused if you have multiple Microsoft accounts e.g. syncing the wrong OneDrive account because you logged into the matching email account.

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