When Microsoft announced that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for the first year, the internet collectively went into a frenzy trying to find a reason not to be happy about the announcement. Most of the media turned it into Windows 365 where you would have to pay monthly or annually for Windows, and that only the first year would be free. Well Microsoft have re-iterated that that is not the case and categorically denied the existence of Windows 365.
What does the term mean exactly and how would that affect their users who do upgrade? Well Windows have always been a red herring when it comes to updates. Windows XP only just dropped below 5% marketshare and that operating system is 15 years old. Microsoft had to support at great cost that operating system and the same goes for Windows 7 which is soon turning 10 years old. The cost involved is too high to support the multitude of different issues out there. Apple on the other hand would break support for older hardware forcing their users to upgrade.
Microsoft when building Windows 10 introduced the new updating system which will keep your system up to date automatically for free over the lifetime of the device. This will keep all devices running Windows 10 current and keep the cost of fixing security and feature bugs at a minimum. It will also limit the exposure of Windows users to security threats since all Windows users are using the same code.
But surely you cannot get new Windows versions for free in the future? Well yes, you can. Microsoft announced that they will keep your device up to date with the latest features for the lifetime of the device. This means that similarly to what Apple does, they will keep you up to date until either your device fails, or your hardware specifications become obsolete and cannot support the new features being rolled out.
Windows 10 will also change the way your licensing works, linking your activation key to your Microsoft Account. This means that if your device should fail and you have to replace hardware, that you can do a clean install of your copy of Windows 10, log in with your Microsoft account and your copy will authenticate automatically based on that. Which means you will never have to save that keycard ever again, unless you don’t want a Microsoft Account.
So, you can rest easy knowing that Windows isn’t turning into a Frankenstein version of Adobe Creative Cloud. When you get your free upgrade on July 29th onwards, you will not be required to pay a dime for Windows again.