'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.

Mouseprint.org 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.
  • the hedgehog
    I would gladly pay 20$ shipping fee instead of pay 200$.
  • jimmysmitty
    $20 bucks or $200 bucks.... hmmm........

    BTW, shipping is not free. Go ask UPS to deliver your product for free and watch them laugh at you.
  • doomtomb
    the hedgehogI would gladly pay 20$ shipping fee instead of pay 200$.It sucks that the "free" upgrade isn't free for some but it's Windows 7, I'd pay the $11 or whatever to get away from Vista.
  • Major7up
    I don't like the idea of being charged a handling fee but two things:
    - it sure beats paying full price for the upgrade.
    - given the economy and slow PC sales, I can understand taht the makers are trying to look for ways to cut costs.
  • tayb
    the hedgehogI would gladly pay 20$ shipping fee instead of pay 200$.
    I'm sure you would be equally as happy to pay $20 when you were promised a FREE upgrade when you purchased the machine. Right?

    Free != $20.
  • ubertiger
    the hedgehogI would gladly pay 20$ shipping fee instead of pay 200$.Your missing the point, it's advertised as a 'Free Upgrade' when your purchase the PC, the manufacturer shouldn't then be able to charge you an extra $20 to get your 'Free' upgrade. It's false advertising and it's wrong.
    If the manufacturer wanted to use the 'Free Upgrade' as a selling point on it's product it should eat the cost and make it a free upgrade instead of lying.
  • Honis
    ubertiger...it's advertised as a 'Free Upgrade' when your purchase the PC...The company listed only needs to put a small subscript next the the phrase. The subscript reading "not including shipping and handling." I'd bet you 10 thumbs up votes such language is used by the people who will charge shipping and handling.
  • spongebob
    $20 for just for shipping a DVD (which probably costs
  • spongebob
    $20 for just for shipping a DVD (which probably costs less than $1 to make) sounds a bit steep.
  • Boxa786
    The FREE upgrade is still applicable, dont understand why this is being titled as it is. For eg, you go to a shop, buy a crisp packet and told you will get a bigger pack for free, would you expect them to deliver it to your door for free? No, I didnt think so,

    Tbh, MS has done alotta crap in the past and still do with most or their products and services, hey they will in the future too, but compared to any other major players, who is there? Apple? The worst of the bunch has to be Apple, so tbh Toms, you should be giving credit where/when due.

    Anyhow, the "upgrade is still free", if you want it delivered, you are actually just paying the P&P charges, in 90% of the cases I bet its MS are not even charging packaging, its just the postage cost, dictated by whomever will they have as their supplier, UPS? who cares