7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 16, 2018 8:24 PM by leyvin

    Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades

    kingfish

      Microsoft has stood by its promise. Last week the company confirmed it will soon start charging for Windows 10 bringing its free upgrade offer to a close and it won't be cheap. For those baffled by this decision, here are the three biggest reasons why...

      1. The Free Upgrades Have Done Their Job

      Microsoft was desperate to avoid another Windows 8 scenario where its new operating system simply failed to catch on. In fact even calling it ‘Windows 10’ was an attempt to distance the platform from its much (if unfairly) maligned predecessor.

      Making Windows 10 upgrades free for a year has done exactly that. Microsoft now claims 300M Windows 10 activations have taken place in just 10 months. That’s the fastest adoption of any Windows operating system in history - even slightly ahead of monster hit Windows 7.

      But adoption is slowing.

      Following the expected rush on launch, Windows 10 growth continued to be pretty stellar for most of 2015 and then had a huge (expected) boost across the Christmas/New Year period. However since then growth rates have dropped off and in April Windows 10’s market share increased just 0.2% from 14.15 to 14.35%.

      As such it is becoming clear those who want Windows 10 now have it and those who have yet to be persuaded are unlikely to be persuaded now. So rather than headlines in six months about how Microsoft “can’t give Windows 10 away”, the company is smarter to pull the offer now while history will be kind.

      1. The PC Industry Needs Free Upgrades To Stop

      Giving away Windows 10 may have been popular with users as Microsoft claimed it will give new life to ageing PCs, but this was not the message PC makers wanted to hear. The PC industry has been hit hard enough already without the leading operating system maker pushing the message that users won’t need to buy a new computer if they install Microsoft’s free software.Of course making Windows 10 free was far from the root cause of the PC sector’s troubles (it has been slowing for years) but it certainly didn’t aid it in an era when manufacturers need all the help they can get.

      1. Bringing Businesses Back Onside

      And it isn’t just PC makers that disliked the Windows 10 giveaway, businesses have also been casting an envious eye.

      Windows 10 will get major upgrades soon with the 'Anniversary Update' but this hasn't helped shift new PCs - in fact quite the opposite. Image credit: Microsoft

      Windows 10 will get major upgrades soon with the 'Anniversary Update' but this hasn't helped shift new PCs - in fact quite the opposite. Image credit: Microsoft

       

      Why? Because Windows 10 Enterprise was excluded from Microsoft’s free upgrade offer. So while millions of consumers and small businesses were enjoying Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro upgrades for nothing, corporations have been forking out billions.

      With adoption rates of the Windows 10 free upgrade now negligible it is about time Microsoft stopped making its biggest customers feel like second class citizens.

      The Big Caveat

      And yet I do hold out some hope that Microsoft will pull out a last minute extension to the Windows 10 free offer.

      I suspect this won’t happen until the deadline has passed (the company would miss out on the rush of last minute upgrades) but Microsoft also has an ambitious 1 billion Windows 10 users target to hit between 2017 and 2018 and I can’t see that happening without more free upgrades.

      The good news: nagging to upgrade to Windows 10 should reduce. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

      The good news: nagging to upgrade to Windows 10 should reduce. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

       

      Even without a last minute extension, however, there is still one major positive: Microsoft has promised to stop nagging Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to upgrade once the free Windows 10 offer ends.

      And that for some that will be the best news of all…

      Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades

        • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
          black_zion

          Four: The free upgrade comes with a caveat that you cannot change your system at all. I took advantage of the free upgrade from 8.1 to 10 when I moved to Ryzen, but my first 1800X died. When I got the new one in, Windows said my license was no longer valid. A bit of yelling at Microsoft customer support, and they held firm that the upgrade is tied to the system you activated it on. Had to buy a new license for $188.

            • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
              kingfish

              I wonder how many people found that out (or will find out) the hard way, like you?

              I hate Microsoft

                • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
                  elstaci

                  When Microsoft say it will end the "Free" upgrades. Are they talking about upgrading from a previous Windows to Windows 10?

                   

                  I thought when you installed Windows 10 you have a digital License stored at Microsoft. Even if you make major changes to your hardware (replace CPU or Motherboard) it will still activate your Windows that you have installed or will install again.

                   

                  Good thing Black Zion mentioned that. Can't afford to waste money in purchasing a new Windows license after every major Hardware change. But seems like I should be okay since I have a Microsoft Account with all my Windows 10 computers listed in my MS Account. As per the article I found concerning Windows 10 and major hardware changes.

                   

                  Found this article from Microsoft about activating your Digital Windows 10 license after a major hardware change. (This change is active after Windows 1607): https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/20530/windows-10-reactivating-after-hardware-change

                  Reactivating Windows 10 after a hardware change

                  Applies to: Windows 10

                   

                  A Windows 10 digital license is associated with your PC hardware. So if you make significant changes, such as replacing your motherboard, Windows will no longer find a license that matches your PC.

                  • It may be possible to reactivate Windows 10 after a hardware change. To see if you’re eligible, run the Activation troubleshooter by following the instructions below under Using the Activation troubleshooter after a significant hardware change. But you must link the account to your PC prior to the significant hardware change occurring. To add your Microsoft account and link it to the digital license:
                    1. Select the Start  button, select Settings  > Update & security  > Activation  > and then select Add an account. You must be signed in as an administrator to add your Microsoft account; for more information, see Create a local user or administrator account in Windows 10.
                    2. Enter your Microsoft account and password, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account.
                    3. After you add your Microsoft account, you’ll see Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account on the Activation page.
                  • If you changed your hardware, and Windows 10 wasn’t preinstalled when you bought your PC, and you have an existing Windows product key that was used on your PC prior to the hardware change, click Change product key in the Activation settings page to enter the key. For more information about product keys and digital licenses, see Activation in Windows 10.
                  • If you changed your hardware, and Windows 10 was preinstalled when you bought your PC, then you may need to purchase a new Windows license. Click Go to Store, and follow the instructions.
                  Note
                  In Windows 10 (Version 1607 or later), you can link your Microsoft account to the Windows 10 digital license on your device. This can help you reactivate Windows using the Activation troubleshooter if you make a significant hardware change later. But you must link the account to your PC prior to the significant hardware change occurring.It's easy to create a free account with your email address or phone number at account.microsoft.com. Your Microsoft account gives you access to apps and games from Microsoft Store, and lets you see your settings and other stuff across multiple Windows 10 devices. Read more about the benefits of Microsoft account.

                   

                  Using the Activation troubleshooter after a significant hardware change

                  After you add your Microsoft account and link it to your digital license, you can use the Activation troubleshooter to help reactivate Windows after a significant hardware change.

                   

                  Note
                  If you didn't add your Microsoft account and link it to the digital license on your device, you won't be able to use the Activation troubleshooter to reactivate Windows after a hardware change.

                   

                  1. Select the Start  button, select Settings  > Update & security  > Activation , and then select Troubleshoot. You must be signed in as an administrator; for more information, see Create a local user or administrator account in Windows 10.
                  2. The troubleshooter will show a message that Windows can’t be activated on your device. Select I changed hardware on this device recently, and then select Next.
                  3. Enter your Microsoft account and password, and then select Sign in. You’ll also need to enter the password for your local account if the Microsoft account you entered isn’t a connected account.
                  4. From the list of devices that are linked to your Microsoft account, select the device that you’re currently using, select the check box next to This is the device I’m using right now, and then select Activate.
                  If you don’t see the device you’re using in the list of results, make sure that you’re signed in using the same Microsoft account you linked to the Windows 10 digital license on your device.If you’re signed in using the correct Microsoft account, here are some additional reasons why you can’t reactivate Windows:
                  • The edition of Windows on your device doesn’t match the edition of Windows you linked to your digital license.
                  • The type of device you’re activating doesn’t match the type of device you linked to your digital license.
                  • Windows was never activated on your device.
                  • You reached the limit on the number of times you can reactivate Windows on your device.
                  • Your device has more than one administrator, and a different administrator already reactivated Windows on your device.
                  • Your device is managed by your organization and the option to reactivate Windows isn’t available. For help with reactivation, contact your organization’s support person.
                    • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
                      kingfish

                      BZ will have to answer that (I remember when it happened)...but as far as I am concerned, there are many provisions and positive (for the user) information that Microsoft conveniently hides. If Microsoft were a person, you could tell it is lying to you if it's lips move. 

                        • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
                          elstaci

                          LoL

                           

                          The Ryzen 1800x came out after Windows version 1607 so, Black Zion shouldn't have needed to purchase a new Windows License unless he never opened an MS Account and registered his computer when he Upgraded to Windows 10.

                           

                          Either way, it sounds like Microsoft ripped off Black Zion just because he changed his CPU.  Also, I believe, even before Windows 10 with other versions if you made some hardware changes that nullified your Windows Activation, I read all you needed to do is call Microsoft Support and they will reactive the Windows once you confirm who you are and you have a legal version of Windows installed.

                          • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
                            black_zion

                            They kept saying my key was a MSDN key and could not be reactivated. I was also not using a Microsoft account at the time. Also remember it says in that article "You reached the limit on the number of times you can reactivate Windows on your device.", which can be an arbitrary number they decide.

                              • Re: Three Reasons Microsoft Stopped Free Windows 10 Upgrades
                                leyvin

                                The Number of Activations is 5 (with up to 3 Unique Concurrent Platform for Home / 5 for Professional)

                                The Windows 10 Upgrade, upon first Activation will for all-intended-purposes Generate a new License that is assigned to the Existing Windows 7, 8.0 or 8.1 License Key that has been used.

                                 

                                Now note: this does not mean you can use the Windows 7, 8.0 or 8.1 License Key when installing Windows 10 as a Native Install.

                                Instead what you MUST do is install and activate said previous Windows that you're upgrading from, THEN Upgrade to Windows 10... it will automatically recognise that said Serial Key has been "Windows 10 Upgrade" Certificated and Activate.

                                Keep in mind that the License Key for said Install and Activation is Generated on an "On-Demand" Basis by MSDN Azure License Services... as such it is NOT a Valid Universal License Key and instead is entirely linked to the Hardware on which it is Installed., in order to Generate a Site License Package, then you must perform a Certification License Backup (see: MSDN or Contact Site Administrator for more Details).

                                 

                                For those with a Microsoft Accounts (recommended form of License Authentication since Windows 8.0), then the Windows 10 License becomes Roaming and Assigned to said Microsoft Account. In order to Activate just be sure to sign into said Account on the Target Installation Computer (preferably as Administrator and / or Primary Account), this will then add the Activated PC to the Tracked Activations and Concurrent Platform Licenses available for Device Management on your Microsoft Account, which provides fully support for Windows, Xbox, Phone and Surface Licensing and Account Management.

                                Office 365 and Visual Studio Team Studio Management is handled via their respective Account Management Pages.

                                 

                                Once you reach your limit of 5 Installations., you will need to Reset or Delete Existing Platforms on your Microsoft Account Devices Page... or Contact Microsoft Support, who will manually reset this list. Please Note, that upon reset you will be required to individually validate any additional platforms connected to said Windows License.

                                 

                                Installation Limits were introduced with Windows 8.0,. to prevent key sharing... with the 5 Installations being deemed a "Reasonable" Limit for the Avg. Consumer, who typically will only Reinstall their Operating System between 2-3x during the Lifetime of a Windows Product due to Hardware Upgrades.

                                This was amended (to the above noted limitations) with the release of the Device Management System on Microsoft Accounts.

                                 

                                As such, this allows in essence Installation on up to 5 Personal Computers., however "Home" provides a limit to the number of these that can be "Online" at any given time. Also note that these 5 Installations are not restricted to a Single IP Address, but instead any be anywhere across any device.

                                Surface Tablets, Xbox Consoles and Windows Phones are exempt from the Limitation where-as Surface Notebooks / Desktops are not.

                                 

                                As a further point of note., an Unlicensed Windows 10 does not cease to function after a set period, or automatically shutdown after 2hrs as previous versions of Windows did. Instead it reverts to Windows 10 S Mode., which places a Watermark on the Desktop and limits you to Microsoft Store Applications only.

                                 

                                 

                                Now as for the original Post.

                                Microsoft's original offer was for a "Free Windows License Upgrade" from September 2015 to October 2016, as a means to encourage adoption.

                                That they extended this through to 2018., frankly is astonishing to me... particularly given that Windows is typically 30-40% of their Total Revenue Stream.

                                They've still had frankly some quite impressive Fiscal Years since the 2014/15 Restructuring, but strictly speaking by extending said "Free Upgrade" Period they have essentially denying themselves approx. $9.5B in Real-Terms Revenue.

                                 

                                I personally would've suggested that in October 2016 they ended the program, but replaced it with an Office 365 Style Subscription Option at the same $6.66 (excl. VAT... and yes, I'm aware that might give people a chuckle; as it does each time I get my Office 365 monthly bill)… or Yearly $72.

                                This frankly would provide a far greater overall revenue stream, be a low enough (monthly) figure that most people don't really think twice about it., while at the same time allowing those who can't really afford to pay the $180+ Retail to actually engage with Windows 10., who otherwise wouldn't or would pirate.

                                 

                                I've said for years that the biggest barrier to entry to Windows, has always been the Retail Cost.

                                While arguably Mac OSX is much more expensive., let's keep in mind that Apple Users doesn't really care about cost, otherwise they wouldn't own their Apple products in the first place.

                                 

                                As noted, this would ensure that over a 2 Year Period approx. the same as Retail is ultimately spent; but as Windows Major Releases are typically 3 Years apart., then this would ultimately result in a greater profitability without actually annoying / frustrating the Consumer Base. Heck most wouldn't even notice.

                                What's more is you can also ship new versions of Windows (with said Subscription), ensuring that everyone would typically speaking Early Adopt because again there's no longer an obvious price tag they have to put up before engaging.

                                 

                                In fact I'd say the "Free Upgrade" Period for Windows 10, quite well showcased this perfectly... without as Apple are fond of engaging in "Planned Obsolescence" essentially forcing said Upgrade (of both Software and Hardware). This will become more important with Windows "Polaris" going forward., which I have a feeling this is perhaps not the best crowd to talk about that OS with.

                                Personally I'm somewhat looking forward to it, but also I think Microsoft NEEDS to get better at communication … at the very least with their key Hardware Vendors, but also with the key Software Vendors (for Professional and Entertainment., Games in particular; they've either got to break Steam' Monopoly OR get Valve to release a UWP version of Steam., which would be like Digital Vendor Inception).

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