Microsoft is finally turning off the tap for Windows 7 security updates but if you're looking to finally make the leap to Windows 10, there's a way to get it free for now. Here's how you do it.
It's the end of an era. Today (January 14), Microsoft officially ended free security updates for Windows 7. If you want to keep using the operating system you'll need to pay an ongoing fee. Or do you? Turns out there's a trick to get ongoing Windows 7 support - for free.
Microsoft has confirmed support for Windows 7 will end on 14 January 2020 (that's 15 January for Australians). After this date, the company will no longer provide Windows 7 users with security updates, leaving them more vulnerable than supported operating systems. It's a good idea to update to a newer version of Windows because, aside from the technological advancements, it'll also be less susceptible to some of the frightening cyber-attacks out there, like BlueKeep.
Back in 2016, Microsoft offered users still stuck on legacy systems like Windows 7 and 8 a way out. They could get a free upgrade to Windows 10 but that window ended in July 2016. According to Bleeping Computer and a number of user reports, however, the offer still stands with a few workarounds.
How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free
First you'll need to head to the Windows 10 download page and select Windows 10 installation media. Once it goes through the motions, you'll get a prompt to choose between upgrading the PC or creating installation media for another PC. The former is the one that's relevant here.
After it's done installing, you'll have one final step to complete. Head to Settings, then Windows Update and click on Activation to get it all sorted.
We tested it with a Windows 10 device but the download and installation started without requiring any key. Bleeping Computer and ZDNet have confirmed in recent days the offer still works but who knows how long it will last so get in quick.
Lifehacker Australia has reached out to Microsoft to confirm when the offer will expire for Australian users who've yet to upgrade.
Even Zune-clutching Windows loyalists have to admit that Mac owners have it pretty great—at least, they do now. Apple hasn’t charged for macOS, nor macOS updates, for years. Of course, you need to buy your computer from Apple to use macOS (pretty much), but at least the operating system is free. Windows ... not so much. While your new desktop or laptop computer is almost guaranteed to come with a copy of Windows 10, the price for the OS is probably factored into whatever you paid for your system. Build your own PC, and you’ll have to pay for a copy of Windows 10 yourself.