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'Free' Windows 7 Upgrades Still Cost Money

Did you buy a new PC this past summer with the promise of a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it launches on October 22? Well, it turns out that the upgrade might not be completely free.

While the license for Windows 7 upgrade itself will be free, getting to delivered might come with a small charge, depending on your situation and from which computer maker you bought your machine. looked into the matter and found that no manufacturers listed upfront any of the costs related to redeeming for the upgrade. Of course, shipping and handling charges may vary by region and product, but the jump from "free" to "pay" happens only after a customer fills in his or her information during the request for the upgrade.

Most computer buyers will indeed be able to get their upgrades for free, but those who have to pay will have to fork over anywhere from $11.25 to $17.03.

Compaq, HP, Sony and Toshiba will have both cases of charge-free upgrades as well as some that will require a handling fee. It'll depend on a number of factors, many of which are still unknown.

All U.S. Dell customers, both online and retail, will qualify for a free upgrade. Acer, along with its eMachines and Gateway line will all offer upgrades completely free of charge.

Lenovo, on the other hand, will be charging $17.03 for all buyers. Boo on that.

If you've purchased a PC recently that qualified for a free upgrade, it's time to check to see if your upgrade is really for free.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.