Microsoft has offered its free upgrade to Windows 10 for one year to the day now. Although most users interested in the upgrade have probably already taken it, anyone who has been putting off the move to Windows 10 has mere hours left to install the new OS.
The free upgrade to Windows 10 officially ends July 29 11:59 PM UTC-10. That translates to 2:59 AM PDT and 5:59 AM EST July 30. According to a Microsoft representative, all upgrades must be completely finished prior to this time.
Although this is the official end of the upgrade, the "Get 10" pop up on all of the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs I have checked indicate that the upgrade is available until July 29 11:59 PM EST (my local time zone).
Microsoft told us that is due to the complexity of closing down the free upgrade offer. The upgrade may be available longer in certain areas. The company does not guarantee any upgrades attempted after the stated end date (and time) will work, however, so users considering the upgrade should do so before the timer hits zero.
Not that although the OS will still be available for download after the upgrade offer ends, that's for re-installation purposes and is only for new users who purchase Windows 10. The software will not detect your existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 license and activate under the terms of the free upgrade after the upgrade period has ended.
If you are still unsure if you want to upgrade to Windows 10, there is a third option available. If you upgrade to Windows 10, you can create a backup image of your already-activated system and re-install it at any time. That way, you can easily switch between Windows 10 or your current OS at any time in the future.
For gamers, one key aspect to keep in mind is that Windows 10 supports DirectX 12, whereas Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 do not. There aren’t many DirectX 12 games out yet, but eventually the lack of DirectX 12 support could keep users from being able to run certain games. Because DirectX 12 is designed to improve performance, even if you can run future games designed for DirectX 12 in a DirectX 11 mode, you'll likely experience reduced performance.
It's also possible that Microsoft will eventually market Windows 10 as a free service that is funded by advertisements. This has not happened yet, however, so you should take advantage of this offer while it lasts if you want Windows 10 free and clear.