Microsoft announces free Windows 10 upgrade for Insiders

June 22, 2015 // 9:51 a.m.

Tags: #gabe-aul #microsoft-account #operating-system #technical-preview #windows-10 #windows-insider #windows-insiders

Microsoft has confirmed that members of its new Windows Insiders programme currently testing the Windows 10 Technical Preview will be able to upgrade to the full release of the OS next month, even as blog-post edits and vague wording sows confusion among its users.

In a blog post posted late last week by Microsoft's Gabe Aul, it was confirmed that members of the new Windows Insiders programme currently testing the Windows 10 Technical Preview will receive the full Windows 10 release on the 29th of July, as 'just another flight.' While the offer of a seamless upgrade to the full release does come with a caveat - you must have a Microsoft Account registered and connected to the PC which will receive the upgrade, a requirement which does not hold true for retail copies of the OS, pre-installed versions supplied with new hardware, nor the free upgrade version being offered to Windows 7 and higher users - it also includes a generous provision for those who like a tidy system: 'Once you have successfully installed this build, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh,' Aul added.

Following the announcement, a loophole was quickly discovered: following the logic of Aul's announcement, it is possible for a Windows Insider member with valid Microsoft Account to download an ISO image of the Windows 10 Technical Preview prior to the full launch next month, install that on as many computers as they can, then receive a free upgrade to the full release on them all - saving hundreds of pounds in licensing fees. Such a move would, naturally, be against the spirit of Microsoft's offer, and the company isn't ignorant of the possibility: shortly after the blog post went live, it was edited to change the wording of the offer and to add that 'it’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer,' a confusing caveat which ignores the fact that Windows Insiders who are not running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will also be able to upgrade to Windows 10, through the separate Windows Insiders programme rather than the previously-announced year-long free upgrade offer.

The clarity is poor, but for Windows Insiders the news seems good: unless Microsoft pulls a complete about-face to block mass-installations through Technical Preview ISOs, anyone who has given time to the Technical Preview will be rewarded with a free full OS, complete with reinstallation rights.
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