Windows 10 - free?



  • I’ve been going through several pc’s the past couple of months cleaning them up to sell, and it seems like Windows 10 is free to install.
    I had two computers that I did a clean install of Win10, skipped the part where I entered the Product Key and the next day the computers would be activated and registered.
    One was a homemade pc, had corrupted Vista on it’s hard drive so I reformatted it (externally on another pc) before the Win10 install.
    I go through Win10 settings to get the “feel” of Win7, especially on the Start Menu - so I’m a Win10 convert.
    So if you have an old pc sitting around, you might want to see if you can install Win10.
    Windows Media Creation Tool (download, then install both versions to a flash drive is the best)



  • Hi mom…

    I know the guys in the old Technology forum discussed the fact that you can still ‘upgrade’ to Windows 10 for free, but of course you’re not really following the spirit or the letter of the EULA by doing so. They implied that Windows 7 would upgrade to Windows 10 and authenticate even now after the ‘free upgrade’ promotion has been over for some time.

    I assume what you’re seeing is right in line with what the guys discussed some months ago. It will activate but technically speaking you shouldn’t really have a Windows 10 license. Whether or not Microsoft ever does anything about it is another story. Although I’m somewhat surprised to hear that the machine with a clean install activated without any input on your part… That doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding…

    Hopefully some of the other regulars will make their way over here to the new site, I bet they could let you know for sure what’s going on.


  • Global Moderator

    @chinarider said in Windows 10 - free?:

    I know the guys in the old Technology forum…

    Hopefully some of the other regulars will make their way over here to the new site…

    Please feel free to extend an invitation to them. I posted one over there and asked if anyone knew nodejs/nodebb that could help a little, but they don’t really know me so there’s been no response thus far.


  • 1000 Club

    @fivetalents Ellory joined, he would be the one to extend the invitation, he was the man at tech. @ellory



  • @chinarider said in Windows 10 - free?:

    I assume what you’re seeing is right in line with what the guys discussed some months ago. It will activate but technically speaking you shouldn’t really have a Windows 10 license. Whether or not Microsoft ever does anything about it is another story. Although I’m somewhat surprised to hear that the machine with a clean install activated without any input on your part… That doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding…

    I just clarified over there, figured I’d do it here too.
    I read an article from a tech guy saying the upgrade still seemed to work at the end of May(?). I think the first pc I worked on had the free upgrade already done but had automatically installed 32bit and I wanted 64bit. Then I found that Windows doesn’t like to do that and had to do a clean install.
    When I did the install and entered the legitimate Win7 key it worked.

    Second to last pc I upgraded I didn’t have the product key in front of me, so I figured I’d enter it later. A few days later I went in to register it and it was done already. Last pc I did was the homemade one, and again just figured I would enter the key later - and when I went to go input it, it was already activated.

    I have product #'s from TechNet days, so I wasn’t trying to pull anything sleazy.

    (I was on a roll in August/Sept of cleaning up various pc’s (college kids, etc); ended up selling four out of six of the pc’s I had sitting around. The last two I have interested buyers. I have one pc case and a box of computer parts (PSU’s, hard drives, DVD-drives, cables, etc) to sell and then I’ll have my “computer closet” cleaned out - yay!)


  • Global Moderator

    A recent clean install for me worked when I entered my email address. Guess it grabbed my key from last install based on me creating a MS account during last install.


  • Global Moderator

    Doesn’t Windows 10 store the key in ROM?


  • Global Moderator

    @marcopolomle said in Windows 10 - free?:

    Doesn’t Windows 10 store the key in ROM?

    ROM stands for read-only memory. It’s used to store the start-up instructions for a computer, also known as the firmware. Most modern computers use flash-based ROM. It is part of the BIOS chip, which is located on the motherboard.

    New computers use UEFI firmware instead of the traditional BIOS. Both are low-level software that starts when you boot your PC before booting your operating system, but UEFI is a more modern solution, supporting larger hard drives, faster boot times, more security features, and—conveniently—graphics and mouse cursors.

    Newer PCs that ship with UEFI still refer to it as the “BIOS” to avoid confusing people who are used to a traditional PC BIOS. Even if your PC uses the term “BIOS”, modern PCs you buy today almost certainly ship with UEFI firmware instead of a BIOS.

    The BIOS (or UEFI) firmware looks for valid boot information from the OS, so that malicious software that doesn’t meet the handshake requirements doesn’t boot (protection from viruses and other malware). This check does not store your windows key, just checks that the OS being loaded passes all of the checks (handshakes) to verify it is safe to load and not altered.


  • 1000 Club

    UEFI is for security, but from what I remember it was also planned as a way to keep alt OS off window/intel PC’s

    that was the ORIGINAL purpose for the design



  • I was able to do an upgrade using the workaround listed if you are using assistive technologies



  • Its been my experience that the downloadable USB installer available from Microsoft still upgrades for free.

    This is true as recently as the Creators Update version 1703 released in July of 2017.

    I’ve found that if you can boot Windows 7 and run the installer on a machine that thinks its activated (by whatever means) the upgrade will install without prompting for a key and it’ll show activated the first time it connects to the internet.

    If you use trickery to activate Windows 7 and then install windows 10 and choose to “keep nothing” you’ll end up with a clean installation of Windows 10 that activates and the previous trickery won’t even be there afterward.

    If you install Windows 10 during the trial period of an un-activated installation of Windows 7 you be prompted to enter a key the first time the Windows 10 connects to the internet.



  • Recent observations on another Win10 installation…
    I gave my 86-yr old mom my HP Envy i5 desktop that came with Win8. When I first got it, I did a clean install of Win7 and that is what she is using (and won’t upgrade).
    I decided last week that when it came time to sell that pc, that it should have Win10 with it. I switched the wires from the current hard drive to a freshly formatted hard drive and installed Win10, skipping the inputting of the product #.
    Once it was installed I went to type in the Win8 product # and couldn’t find the sticker on the case (like Dell does) - found out that the original product key is stored in the UEFI (still referred to as the BIOS).

    I tried several product key finders (including Magic Jelly Bean) and I liked ProduKey the best - got the Win8 (and Win10) keys and input the Win8. Win10 didn’t like it at first - so I let it sit a couple of days before I tackled it again.
    Did updates, installed MS Office, etc, waited another day and when I was poking around trying to find out how to contact MS support - lo, and behold it was activated.
    For what it’s worth, looks like the Win10 (free upgrade?) key is the same and tied to your MS account because when I used ProduKey on two other pc’s I have, the Win10 keys were the same - or maybe it’s “my” key assigned to my MS account (I’ll have to go check my son’s pc).



  • I used the Windows Media Creation Tool from the OP’s post and installed on a spare, older computer just to see if it would work. It did, but was not activated. Then i wiped that clean and loaded an old copy of Win 7 that I had a product key for. I then booted to the Win 10 USB and started that install again. It asked for a product key and I put in the Win 7 one. It apparently liked it cause it continued with the install. I did choose a new install and not to upgrade from an older version. When the install was complete, it said Win 10 was activated. So apparently, the free Win 10 offer from months ago is still in effect, if not officially. I guess instead of first loading Win 7, maybe I could have just tried putting in the Win 7 product key during my first Win 10 install. Who knows if that is sufficient. Thanks, OP.



  • @mikie said in Windows 10 - free?:

    I used the Windows Media Creation Tool from the OP’s post and installed on a spare, older computer just to see if it would work. It did, but was not activated. Then i wiped that clean and loaded an old copy of Win 7 that I had a product key for. I then booted to the Win 10 USB and started that install again. It asked for a product key and I put in the Win 7 one. It apparently liked it cause it continued with the install. I did choose a new install and not to upgrade from an older version. When the install was complete, it said Win 10 was activated. So apparently, the free Win 10 offer from months ago is still in effect, if not officially. I guess instead of first loading Win 7, maybe I could have just tried putting in the Win 7 product key during my first Win 10 install. Who knows if that is sufficient. Thanks, OP.

    Good to know.



  • @mikie said in Windows 10 - free?:

    … I then booted to the Win 10 USB and started that install again. It asked for a product key and I put in the Win 7 one.

    Next time, don’t boot the USB.

    Boot Windows 7 and run the Windows 10 installer off of the USB and it’ll install without prompting for a key and it’ll also activate the first time it connects to the Internet.

    One of the first steps during the installation will say “Ready to install” and you’ll notice that you can click “Change what to keep” at the bottom. Use this link to change the installation settings to keep “Nothing” and you’ll get a clean install.

    After the installation is done, use “Disk Cleanup” and choose “Previous Windows installation(s)” to remove the old Windows 7 files.



  • No one needs to do the assistive technology workaround. Both the upgrade in place and the clean install of 10 both work today. If you have a working 7 or 8 system you can do the upgrade without the key. I always recommend doing a clean install unless you have a compelling reason not to. If you have the old key, you can download the media creation tool from MS, install a clean version, enter your old key when prompted, and it will activate fine. If you don’t have the key, you can use Magic Jelly Bean to retrieve the old Windows key from any working system. MS has no intention of stopping the upgrades because they want as many people as possible on a common version.

    I have no idea why redmed’s install didn’t activate. I’ve done tons of these, as recently as this weekend. You do have to be careful about versions. If you have a home key, you need to install home. Business to business. I’ve seen 32 bit keys activate with 64 bit, but also seen them fail.



  • @drodge said in Windows 10 - free?:

    No one needs to do the assistive technology workaround. Both the upgrade in place and the clean install of 10 both work today. If you have a working 7 or 8 system you can do the upgrade without the key. I always recommend doing a clean install unless you have a compelling reason not to. If you have the old key, you can download the media creation tool from MS, install a clean version, enter your old key when prompted, and it will activate fine. If you don’t have the key, you can use Magic Jelly Bean to retrieve the old Windows key from any working system. MS has no intention of stopping the upgrades because they want as many people as possible on a common version.

    I have no idea why redmed’s install didn’t activate. I’ve done tons of these, as recently as this weekend. You do have to be careful about versions. If you have a home key, you need to install home. Business to business. I’ve seen 32 bit keys activate with 64 bit, but also seen them fail.

    I noticed that there were several (maybe 7 or 8 ) different Win 10 to choose from during the install. Do you have a recommendation for the basic consumer to use? I think I chose Win 10 Home. Is that a good choice or would another version give me more features?



  • I assume you currently running windows 7? Whatever version you use…select the same as your current running…ex: if you are running windows 7 home…select same for 10…if you are running window 7 pro then select that…



  • Another (laptop) that activated itself!
    We had to borrow MIL’s Dell Inspiron laptop that had the horrible Win8 on it. Nice enough laptop for a grandma, but the CPU & RAM suck.
    One problem with it after another and I ended up formatting the hard drive (I did not intend on doing this!)
    Installed Windows 10 on it, once I had everything set up, I went to check the activation - and it had already activated.

    p.s. I’m tired of working on other people’s pc’s!


  • Global Moderator

    Customers who use assistive technologies can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/accessibility/windows10upgrade

    • If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31, 2017.

    • With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, we’ve taken a number of steps to improve the accessibility of Windows 10. To learn more, read our blog that details some of these improvements.

    • Before you upgrade, please check with your assistive technology provider(s) to learn more about their software compatibility with Windows 10.

    • If you want Windows 10 now and are ready to take advantage of the upgrade offer, select the button below to get started.

    https://phatwalletforums.com/topic/1925/free-windows-10-os-free-upgrade-w-assistive-technologies-microsoft-store-through-december-31-2017


  • 500 Club

    Even though Microsoft said they are ending the free upgrade on 12/31/17 I just did it. So it is still live.

    Too be honest I don’t think they will close down the free upgrade until a larger percentage of computers are running Win10.

    I used the link in fivetalents post above.


  • 500 Club

    Windows 7 Extended support supposed to end on Jan/2020 but most work place I know are still on Win 7… I wonder if MSFT will push back that date or otherwise it will be a busy 2019 for IT departments.



  • Figured I’d add info…
    College son (home build pc) wanted a SSD instead of the HD we had installed. We put in the SSD, installed Windows 10, and during the install process input his hotmail address. Next day when I went back to work on it I checked and everything was registered and installing all the updates.
    Big improvement (IMHO) over previous versions Windows installs.



  • The free Win 10 is still working as of now. I just redid my laptop by re-partitioning and formatting my hard drive. I then loaded Win 10 using the custom (clean install) option and chose “I do not have a product key” at the prompt. When it finished the install, Win 10 was shown as activated.


  • Global Moderator

    @mikie Good info.


 

Looks like your connection to PhatWallet was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.