Windows 7 users might finally decide to upgrade soon. Windows Latest today reported that a leaked build of Windows 11 suggests Microsoft plans to offer a free upgrade to the next significant update to the operating system when it debuts.
A caveat: This is based on a configuration package in a leaked build of an operating system that hasn't officially been announced yet. Microsoft's plans could have changed, or it may have planned for the upgrade to be paid all along.
Windows Latest said its claim was "based on the configuration keys found within Pkeyconfig (product key configuration package) in the leaked build of Windows 11." Those keys suggest Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users will be able to upgrade at no cost.
That upgrade path would make sense. Microsoft offers a free update to Windows 10, too, and that promotion is still valid even though it was supposed to end in 2016. Anyone with a valid key for Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 can take advantage of that offer.
Microsoft continues to sell licenses for Windows 10, of course, but the free upgrade from a prior version of Windows reinforces the platform's status as an operating-system-as-a-service on top of which the company's real money-makers are built.
Charging for Windows 11 when Windows 10 was a free update would come as a surprise. So would requiring systems running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 to install a free upgrade to Windows 10 before installing a free upgrade to Windows 11.
Windows 7 users have been on borrowed time—Microsoft officially dropped support for the operating system in January 2020. Windows 8.1 will follow suit in January 2023, and Microsoft plans to stop supporting Windows 10 in October 2025.
We should know more about how Windows users, from those relying on a version released over a decade ago to those running the most recent update, will be able to upgrade to Windows 11 after Microsoft's announcement on June 24.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.
Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.
Does that imply that MS accepts some of W10's junk and are corrected in 11 or 2021, whatever?Reply
Should have been "Microsoft may offer free upgrade from Windows 7 to 11"Reply
An awful lot of waffle to say Microsoft, may or may not offer a free upgrade and, based on no meaningful evidence.Reply
Since you can still upgrade win 7 to win 10 for free today it's pretty much a sure bet that this will extend to win11 as well.Reply
MS wants as many people on the new platform as possible.
Nope.Saga Lout said:Does that imply that MS accepts some of W10's junk and are corrected in 11 or 2021, whatever?
It means that Microsoft really wants all the user telemetry and metadata that the new Windows 11 allows them to gather. :LOL:
It'll probably be a free upgrade. Heck Windows 10 Home or Pro are pretty much free. If you can live with a watermark and no personalization settings.Reply
As for a paid upgrade. I can't see it. No one would upgrade. Not when it was free before. I can't believe upgrade numbers were ever very high before when paid. I expect the bulk of money made off Windows was from OEM computer sales and enterprise licenses.
Also looking at Windows 10 end of life date. It doesn't look like MS will support Windows 10 very long after it is replaced by Windows 11. They likely decided with Windows 10 and onward. That it would be more cost effective to offer a free upgrade rather than support old versions for a long time and get a paltry number of paid upgrades.
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 - full security and critical updates till 2029, FTW! This is an extremely small subset of computers though.Reply
I'm guessing the upgrade will be free as well.
How does anyone figure out what versions of Windows they own and how many licenses? I have Windows installed on several machines, probably using the same "key" even laptops which should have come with their own key.Reply
Upgrades for Enterprise are a whole different channel.alceryes said:Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 - full security and critical updates till 2029, FTW! This is an extremely small subset of computers though.
I'm guessing the upgrade will be free as well.
It all depends on the terms of your Volume Licensing agreement.
You would have to connect all your different windows with an email giving you a login to windows.ThatMouse said:How does anyone figure out what versions of Windows they own and how many licenses? I have Windows installed on several machines, probably using the same "key" even laptops which should have come with their own key.
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/activate-windows-10-c39005d4-95ee-b91e-b399-2820fda32227If one fails it means you used the same key on a different system already.
press awin+r and type in winver and run, it will pop up a window telling you your exact version.