Microsoft just implemented something we never thought we’d see the software giant do – namely closing the loophole allowing for Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 or 11 at no cost.
We need to rewind time considerably to return to the start of this particular story, all the way back to when Windows 10 was first launched, and Windows 7 and 8 users were allowed a free upgrade to the new OS.
That freebie offer only lasted for a year after the launch of Windows 10, officially, but even after the deadline expired, it actually remained in place.
In short, anyone with a valid Windows 7 or 8 key could still upgrade their PC to Windows 10 just fine (and by extension, Windows 11 too, when that emerged – assuming the various additional system requirements were met including TPM).
Essentially, this was a loophole Microsoft never bothered to close – until now, because as Windows Central spotted, the company just made an official announcement that this unofficial upgrade path is now blocked (with a caveat).
The software giant said: “Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well. Upgrades to Windows 11 from Windows 10 are still free.”
However, as Windows Central points out, it’s important to note that technically, an upgrade is still possible as we write this. This change has just been applied with Windows 11 preview builds for now, but it will come through to the release version of the OS before long, no doubt.
So, if you do want to avail yourself of a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8, you better move sharpish. It may even no longer be possible by the time you read this.
Analysis: An unexpected development
This is something we didn’t believe would ever happen, frankly, simply because the free upgrade has remained in place, on the sly, for so long. As Microsoft points out, the offer officially expired in mid-2016, over seven years ago – yes, seven years.
So, we just figured, like many others, that Microsoft was happy enough to let Windows 7 and 8 users continue to upgrade at no expense. Our presumption was that bolstered adoption figures for newer versions of Windows were to be welcomed. Apparently, this is no longer a concern for Microsoft (if it ever was – but we can’t imagine why the loophole remained open if it wasn’t).
Anyhow, as we observed above, act quickly if you have been holding off an upgrade, but intend to make the move. You may not have long at all left to pull the trigger.