Cutting Through the Windows 10 Confusion

By Clay Conklin

Director of Client Services – Microsoft, NPI

July 15, 2015

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Confusion around Windows 10 has been rampant. The company’s attempts at clarification have only muddied the waters (check out this head-scratching blog post), and the vendor continues to catch heat for a series of communication misfires.

Let’s get to the bottom of this, shall we? Here’s what you need to know about Windows 10:

What is it?

  • First off, it's free. Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices. You only have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this offer.
  • The free Windows 10 upgrade is a full version and is able to be upgraded from an older version of Windows or perform a standalone install. Microsoft will also make the software downloadable as an ISO, for those who want to keep it on DVD or a USB memory key.
  • Windows 10 can be reinstalled unlimited times on the same PC, if necessary.
  • Who gets it for free?

  • Customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 if the upgrade is performed within one year of July 29, 2015.
  • However, ‘Enterprise’ editions of both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are excluded from the upgrade offer along with the Windows RT Edition, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Pirated Copies of Windows (which were originally claimed to be included). Meanwhile, Windows ‘Pro’ editions are included.
  • Note: Those who upgrade to Windows 10 within one year will have it free for life. Once upgraded, Microsoft will continue to keep the software current for the supported lifetime of the device—at no cost.
  • Is this the end of Windows?

  • Windows 10 is being described by Microsoft as the last version of Windows. Well, at least the last version as we know it. The Windows OS is not going away, Microsoft is just moving Windows to a service model where "Windows will be delivered as a service bringing new innovations and providing updates more frequently.”
  • Moving forward we can expect to see Windows become an all-encompassing OS that will power all hardware Microsoft has and deliver updates on an ongoing basis.
  • Updates from here on out may have numeric identifiers but no more XP, 7, 8.1 or 10 type naming conventions like we have known in the past. Additionally, future updates could run iOS and Android apps.
  • When will it be available?

  • July 29th 2015
  • Global release across 190 markets
  • How do I get it?

  • You can reserve your free upgrade in the Get Windows 10 App. Once you reserve, Windows 10 will download when available.
  • There’s no obligation and you can cancel your reservation at any time. You’ll get a notification when your upgrade is ready later this year. This lets you schedule the installation for a time that’s convenient.
  • As Microsoft embarks on a new course for Windows, we can assume that this won’t be the last instance of confusion for many customers. Make sure you have the licensing expertise available to navigate these changes.