It’s still possible to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 computers to Windows 10 without paying for a license. The offer to upgrade for free officially expired on the 29th of July last year, but Microsoft still offers the possibility of a free Windows 10 upgrade.
While Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 can’t be updated to Windows 10 with Windows Update without paying for a license anymore, upgrading to Windows 10 without handing over money to Microsoft is still possible with the Media Creation Tool. This is a free application Microsoft offers to create a Windows 10 installation medium such as an USB stick or DVD.
Microsoft watcher Ed Bott found out that the tool is still offered for download on the Microsoft website and confirmed on several computers that it still can be used to upgrade Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs to Windows 10 for free.
It’s not strange Microsoft still has the tool available, because besides the upgrade from older Windows versions, it can also be used to reinstall Windows 10 on a PC on which the OS was already successfully activated. However, a nice side-effect for users that were too late with upgrading to Windows 10 is that they can use the tool to upgrade to the OS for free instead of paying the $119 license fee for Windows 10 Home or $199 for Windows 10 Pro.
The Media Creation Tool automatically links the current Windows license to the computer, based on the hardware components. After the installation the operating system will activate based on that license. It would likely be fairly easy for Microsoft to block Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 licenses but so far the company hasn’t and users can still upgrade to Windows 10 without paying for a license.
Previously it was also possible to upgrade for free by downloading Windows 10 from a page where Microsoft offered it to users requiring ‘assistive technology’. Microsoft recently announced the page will be removed and users requiring assistive technology will need to contact Microsoft. Nevertheless, the page is still available.