Microsoft last year revealed that it would offer Windows 10 as a free download for eligible users during the operating system’s first year of availability. However, with so many different versions of Windows in use, backed by multiple licensing schemes, many users had no idea of how Microsoft’s free Windows 10 promotion would affect them. Thankfully, Microsoft clarified the free Windows 10 upgrade process this week. Here’s the version of Windows 10 that you will be offered for free if you’re running the following versions of Windows today.
Those running these versions of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home for free:
Windows 7 Starter
Windows 7 Home Basic
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 8.1 with Bing
Those running these versions of Windows will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free:
Windows 7 Professional
Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows 8.1 Pro
On the mobile front, users with Windows Phone 8.1 will be upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile, although there may be differences in timing and availability depending on your specific Windows Phone device and carrier.
Those familiar with the various Windows SKUs will notice that some versions of the operating system are missing from this list. Specifically, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows RT, and all versions of vanilla Windows 8 are unfortunately not eligible for the upgrade to Windows 10.
When it comes to consumers still running Windows 8, you’ll need to grab the free Windows 8.1 update from the Windows Store. Once you do, the corresponding Windows 10 upgrade will be made available. For those with Enterprise versions of Windows, Microsoft assumes you’re operating with a volume license agreement for your business, and will make Windows 10 upgrades available under the terms and pricing of your contract.
Windows 10 Pricing
So what if you don’t have a PC with an eligible version of Windows (like the hundreds of millions of users still running Windows XP or Vista)? Or what if you fail to grab the Windows 10 upgrade during the free first year timeframe? Well, Microsoft has also unveiled retail pricing for its latest operating system, and the prices are unsurprisingly consistent with those for Windows 8.1.
If you want to purchase a license for Windows 10 outright, Windows 10 Home will set you back $119.99, while Windows 10 Pro will be available at $199.99. Those with a Windows 10 Home license who later wish to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro can also purchase the Windows 10 Pro Pack for $99.99, which upgrades your installation to the Pro feature set.
Windows 10 Availability
Microsoft eventually wants Windows 10 powering billions of devices in multiple product categories, from the traditional PC to set-top boxes to large format displays. However, the company is starting off by focusing just on Windows 10 for traditional PCs and tablets.
Consumers will be able to grab their free Windows 10 upgrade, or purchase the upgrade if necessary, for desktops, laptops, and tablets on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. Users currently running upgrade-eligible versions of Windows can reserve their copy of Windows 10 starting now with the “Get Windows 10 App,” which is being rolled out to existing Windows installations as a software update.