January 18, 2018 // 10:56 a.m.
Microsoft has finally closed a loophole which allowed users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 for free simply by enabling any of their operating system's assistive technologies - a full two weeks after the offer was scheduled to end.
When Microsoft launched Windows 10, it did so with a time-limited offer designed to encourage as broad an adoption as possible: Anyone running the previous-generation Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 operating systems could upgrade to Windows 10 completely free of charge for the first year of the operating system's availability. When the offer finally expired, tardy upgraders quickly discovered that free upgrades were still being made available to users who had enabled assistive technologies - such as text-to-speech or on-screen magnification - under a separate, less-publicised offer.
This offer, described simple as 'for users of assistive technologies' by Microsoft, was officially scheduled to run out on December 31st 2017, but last-minute upgraders found themselves able to take advantage of the system right up until yesterday - at which point it was finally pulled. Anyone who squeaked in under the wire will retain their operating system, but anyone still on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 who had not yet applied for the upgrade will now be left with no choice but to pay if they want Windows 10.
'Thank you for your interest in Windows 10. The free upgrade offer extension for Windows 7 and Windows 8 customers who use assistive technologies expired on December 31, 2017,' Microsoft's official offer page now states, with no explanation as to how users were able to upgrade post deadline. 'As an alternative, Windows 10 software and devices are available for purchase from retail and online stores.'