Microsoft this week, at its Windows 10 extravaganza in Redmond, announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 systems once the new operating system releases. And, even though Terry Myerson clearly said that the upgrade is free, the details of the statement continue to be parsed out in excruciating and annoying detail.
Here again, is exactly what Terry said, and even reiterated later in a blog post:
This is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, we will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge.
Many are spending just too many cycles trying to figure out which word in Terry's statement to emphasize, believing that Microsoft is trying to sneak one over on them – basically offering a free upgrade in one hand but hiding a bombshell in the other. The bottom line is that this is a free upgrade, no strings attached.
Note that this offer is only good for consumers – it doesn’t apply to businesses. And, that's where this actually gets a bit sticky and where folks should be spending concerns. I'll be spending some time over the next week deciphering some new business licensing rules for Windows 10, how it will be offered as an upgrade, and what it will cost going forward. Stay tuned for that.
Windows 10 Build 9926 rolled out yesterday. Both Fast ring and Slow ring users received it at the same time. This is a first since Microsoft instituted the two ring deployment process. Windows Insider chief, Gabe Aul, stated the reason is simply because a new Build didn't deliver in December and Insiders were both hungry for a new Build and hankering to get their hands on the new features announced this week at the Windows 10 event. We'll be digging into some of the more important new features this next week.
I forget the exact number, but this week's Windows 10 event caused around 200,000 new signups to happen for the Windows Insider program. That means there's a lot of Windows Insider newbies wanting to install the new Build, most of which are running Windows 7 and Windows 8. So, with this and Microsoft professing the free upgrade deal, Build 9926 comes with an upgrade feature which will be used for testing the final upgrade process.
Access to this feature is available for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users inside the Windows Update component in Control Panel after you install a special preparation tool from the Windows Insider web site. Of course, you must first be a member of the Windows Insider program.
If you choose this option, let us know how it works for you. I tested on a single, Windows 8.1 machine and the process was clean. It did take a considerable amount of time to complete, requiring the download and a reboot before the upgrade actually kicked off, but it worked just fine. Upgrading means you retain your settings and applications versus a brand new installation that wipes out everything and leaves you with a stark, pristine Windows 10 environment.
Please note that Windows 10 is still very much a beta product. Unless you're a technical guru, install any Windows 10 Build on a test machine, not one you count on for everyday use. There are a number of issues already reported by testors and even some known issues already communicated by Microsoft. One of the issues important to know for the upgrade is that Windows 10 does not yet support installing on a compressed drive.