Yesterday, Gabe Aul, the head of the Windows Insider program, put up a blog post which answers one of the most asked questions regarding the ongoing Windows 10 preview program. How will Windows Insiders get access to the final release of Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade? The answer is pretty simple: be running the Windows 10 preview and be signed in with the Microsoft Account used to register as a Windows Insider.

Even better, once you have upgraded, you can then do a clean install of the operating system from an ISO and you will still be active. The product activation will be tied to your Microsoft Account.

In preparation for the final release, there will be some changes to the Insider Program and how updates are delivered, and it will prompt you to sign in with a Microsoft Account if you have not done so. However Mr. Aul was very clear to point out that once the final release is available, it will not be necessary to sign in with a Microsoft Account on any computer with Windows 10 pre-installed, or clean-installed from media. There will of course be functionality missing that is tied to the account, such as the ability to download apps from the Windows Store, but that choice will be left to the end user.

Also, and this has been said before, the Windows Insider program will continue even after Windows 10 launches on July 29th, so if you want to always have the latest programs and features, you can keep active and provide feedback as well.

If anyone is running the Windows 10 Enterprise preview edition, make note that this version will not be eligible for the free upgrade, since Enterprise requires a Volume Licensing agreement. If you are running Enterprise on a device that won’t require Enterprise after July 29th, it would likely be a good idea to reinstall the preview with the Pro version instead so that it will be updated to the full release.

I think there are a lot of people who keep wondering what the trick is going to be, with some people thinking that Windows 10 will require future payments, but the trick will be on Microsoft if they can’t get people to update to a common platform, since their entire model seems to be revolving around a common app platform and store. At Build, they stated they wanted Windows 10 to be on 1 billion devices in three years, and it really seems like they are serious about that with such a big reversal in pricing. For those that want to buy Windows 10 after July 29th, it will cost $119 for Home and $199 for Pro. Of course if you have a licensed copy of Windows 7 or 8, you will be offered the update for free for the first year.

Source: Windows Blog

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  • kgardas - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Yes, Bill Gates is rich because of desktop, but man, world has changed a little bit after all those years and now, desktop means mobile unfortunately. And mobile? This means Android (Linux) and iOS. Where are Windows and MS?
  • melgross - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Except that Windows licensing fees went down by 14% last year, after dropping 11% the year before.

    Microsoft knows it has a major problem, hence the free one year upgrade. They need to get people on this or their entire strategy falls apart. Like some others, I'm willing to bet that if not enough people have upgraded to 10 after the year is up, they will extend it.
  • retrospooty - Monday, June 22, 2015 - link

    Yup, they are more about earning from licensing than anything else. For example the enterprise model. Your company pays based on headcount. If you have 3000 employees, you pay the MS office license for 3000 users. MS doesn't care if you use Offcie 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 or 1016 when its out. You are fully free to install whatever version you want. Same with Windows. Buy a new PC and you pay for Windows. They dont care if you use Vista,7,8,8.1 or 10. They get paid either way.
  • piiman - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Easy they are going to start subscriptions and every year you will have to sign into your MS account and pay up.
  • SpartanJet - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Wrong stop spreading FUD and learn to read. The upgrade is Free for the life of the device as long as you upgrade from Windows 7/8.X within a year.
  • CaedenV - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    because people don't buy Windows currently. Typically an OEM purchases and pre-installs the OS on a device, and they pay very little for the license (~$5-50 for each machine), and now with the 'with Bing' sku there is even an avenue to get Windows for free as an OEM for certain device types. The other source of revenue is business VLAs which are already 'windows as a service' with monthly fees regardless of what version is being used. They do not get the 'free upgrade' like you and I do, but they have upgrade rights through the VLA which means it is essentially pre-paid for. Very few people are like you and me purchasing the OS for a new build, or upgrading a current build. Most people get the OS with their box, and then never upgrade until they get a new box.

    But the PC market is slowing down, which means there is a growing number of legacy devices running older software. This means more resources being poured into R&D for older systems, more difficulty in updating those systems, etc. In the short term this will do nothing for those who are on Vista and older systems... but those boxes are already 7+ years old and will only continue working for so long before they will be replaced with a newer box, so MS is not too worried about that. But what they do not want is for win7 to be another XP with cantankerous old admins sticking to the platform for all eternity. They want people to move to win10 so that they can end support for older platforms asap. Once on win10 then everyone will be forced onto a regular upgrade cycle so that code is kept up to date across the board. As an individual you cannot turn off windows updates in win10, so no more critical bugs will go unpatched to feed botnets. Even as a business you will only be able to delay updates for so long before they will be forced to the network unless you pay for an extended service agreement. For the few boxes that do not upgrade there will be a bit of 'herd immunity' that will prevent the need to patch ever single issue found in 7 and 8 going forward (assuming the bulk of users move to 10 quickly). This will be a lot of savings in R&D for MS in the long run.

    Lastly, the big elephant in the room, is that an MS account is going to be all but required for win10 PCs. Once you have a MS account then MS can make money off of you with their store for software and digital content sales. They will have an avenue to reach out to you to get you to use applications like Office, Skype, OneDrive, etc which are all profitable ventures. Surely not everyone will move to these services (or to paid versions of these services), but they are going to be much more likely to do it on 10 than 7/8. Plus, the biggest thing hurting Windows sales (especially phone and tablet sales) is app availability. It is hard to attract developers to your platform when you are <5% of market share... but MS is some 90+% of the end-user desktop and laptop market, and if they can make apps available across all platforms (which is the claim with 10 even though I can't get apps to run reliably on my desktop or laptop) then it will be a big step to fixing the 'app gap' and getting phone and tablet adoption. If MS does not get a major foothold in the mobile market then they are doomed as a platform company... I mean, they can survive without Windows OS if they really had to, (this last year has proven how quickly they can deploy to OSX, iOS, and Android when they want to) but life would be better for MS if people were in their ecosystem entirely rather than existing as an option on another ecosystem.
  • Flunk - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    The same way they currently do, retail copies of Windows are a very small percentage of their Windows sales. Add that to a cut of all Windows Store sales (if everyone has it installed someone is going to use it) and it may even be more profitable than their previous system. It also means Microsoft is not going to have to support legacy versions of Windows anymore (after 8.1), which saves them a lot of money.
  • dcollins - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Azure. Office 365. Windows Store. (Hopefully for them) Mobile Advertising.

    Selling software is dying and Microsoft knows it.
  • B3an - Saturday, June 20, 2015 - link

    You need to make this perfectly clear - registered insiders will only get a free (activated) Win 10 upgrade if they already have genuine Windows 7 or 8.x. Otherwise you will not get Win 10 for free. Maybe you can still upgrade to the final build but it wont be activated.

    "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."
  • Gigaplex - Sunday, June 21, 2015 - link

    Except that Microsoft also announced that the Insider Preview users will also get it for free.

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