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Last Chance for the Windows 10 Free Upgrade?

Unless you have spent the last year in a cave, it should come as little surprise that the deadline to receive Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade expires this Friday. If you're one of those who files your tax returns on April 15 at the stroke of midnight and have a similar strategy for upgrading your Windows PC, the deadline is similar. You have all day on July 29 in your time zone to upgrade until 11:59. So will there be a last-minute rush by the procrastinators? Perhaps, but I wouldn't bet on it.

While IT organizations often do wait until, and beyond, the last minute to complete certain tasks, if 2014's Windows XP expiration and threats of Armageddon didn't light a fire under many users of that venerable OS, why would the supposed last chance to get Windows 10 at no charge create urgency? Some may believe Microsoft will extend the deadline, though there's strong reason to believe that's unlikely. The company has remained quite firm about this deadline and given the Windows 10 Anniversary Update arrives Tuesday, it would make sense Microsoft wouldn't want have both in play simultaneously. It's plausible at some point that Microsoft may revive the offer. But even then it wouldn't likely be in the near term and it could come with different stipulations.

There's another reason Microsoft will stick to its guns with Friday's deadline. The free offer certainly was no gift to OEMs, as it gave customers a chance to breathe new life to their existing PCs -- especially those Windows 8 models that are already touch enabled. If there wasn't an implicit understanding between Microsoft and the OEMs that the free Windows 10 offer was limited to one year, certainly extending it as the back-to-school season kicks off wouldn't help matters. A number of new devices are set for release.

A great majority of businesses and enterprises tend to upgrade their OSes in concert with the refresh of their hardware. The option to let customers try and keep Windows 10 for a free was a smart move to get consumers and IT organizations to take a risk-free approach to upgrading to the new operating system. Given the skepticism about Windows after most users outright rejected Windows 8 and the fact that many were considering non-Microsoft alternatives, it was a wise thing to do. The shift to Windows as a service moving forward will make this a moot point. But if you have a PC running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 that's on its last legs, it may be worth finding an hour or two to give it a refresh with Windows 10 and see if it gives it a new lease on life. Of course don't forget to back up your data --  just in case, though in the few upgrades I've done, I never had a problem.

Chances are by now, if you haven't taken advantage of the free upgrade, it was a calculated decision. Perhaps your hardware or software isn't conducive (or at least your concerned about the possibility). Indeed. some people have horror stories to share, including my colleague Kurt Mackie. And while I'm aware of a handful of others who experienced problems, most have gone without a hitch. I even upgraded a 10-year-old desktop that originally had shipped with Windows Vista without any problem, though that system, with just 1GB of RAM, does run quite slow -- but it runs. Even with this strong likelihood that this is your last chance for this upgrade, the penalty for remaining on the sidelines isn't as severe as filing your taxes late.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/27/2016 at 11:13 AM


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