Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Microsoft Will Give Windows 7 and 8.1 Users Windows 10 For Free [Update]

During today's Windows 10 announcement Microsoft officially announced a free upgrade offer for the company's latest operating system.

For the first year after Windows 10 launches, any device running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 will be able to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft's OS — for free. The details on exactly how the program will work were not released just yet — we expect it'll certainly be subject to some sort of hardware requirements, particularly for older machines running Windows 7 and may have some other stipulation attached. Well have more details once they are available. 

Microsoft's Terry Myerson made the announcement with a vision of a more unified Windows — a world where asking "What version are you running" no longer makes sense. "We need our work in the hands of our customers." he said. Giving it away for free sounds like a good start.

The new upgrade will have a heavy focus on smart, Cortana-powered voice control. It will also feature a unified platform that uses the same code for the same apps on desktop and laptop PCs, tablets, phones and even game consoles. It's a better gaming platform — using that unified code to give PC gamers direct access to their friends on Xbox Live, enabling cross-platform multiplayer, game DVR features and even local, in-home streaming of Xbox One games to a nearby PC. Microsoft is even replacing Internet Explorer, yes that is a big shocker for us too.

If we can take anything from today's announcement it is that it will be a big UPDATE. As for now Microsoft has been pretty quiet on release dates, pricing for none-upgrades and any other information other than the fact that Windows 10 is said to feature a ton of new improvements over its predecessors. For those wanting to see a few you can still download the Windows 10 preview.

Update: A follow-up blog post from Terry Myerson offers a bit more detail as to what Microsoft's overall goal for Windows 10 and the new upgrade service will be. "Once a device is upgraded to Windows 10, we'll be keeping it current for the supported lifetime of the device. With Windows 10, we think of Windows as a service." writes Myerson.

In other words Windows 10 users will likely see a similar continuous stream of updates to what the technical preview folks are seeing today.  We'll see a new set of upgrade options varied to the consumers taste or needs. Once you add Windows 10 to your device, so long as you have that device, you'll see options to either be continually update with new features as soon as they're available, block all new gets new features, and most likely even see an option that allows administrators to roll out new features at their own pace. Security updates will be published at the same rate they are today. This new update scheme is an effort to balance delivering new features to consumers while not upsetting businesses that prefer to roll updates out more slowly.

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