Microsoft stuck to its plan of giving a free copy of Windows 10 to anyone who wanted to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1 for just one year. However, it’s still possible to make the transition without spending £120 on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 Home. But act fast, as this 'loophole' will close on 31 December 2017.
See also: Should I upgrade to Windows 10?
Can I upgrade to Windows 10 for free?
This main upgrade offer ended on July 29th 2016 and since then those looking to acquire the new version of Windows needed to pay the £119.99 if they purchased it from Microsoft directly.
Savvy users found out that Microsoft quietly left one avenue open for upgrade: users of Assistive Technologies can still upgrade for free.
Basically it means features in Windows 10 such as a narrator that reads out the content on a screen, high contrast display settings, and a magnifier for making text easier to read..
The thing is, the upgrade process doesn’t actually require any kind of proof that you have a disability, so anyone could upgrade using this method.
However, Microsoft is shutting this down as of 31 December 2017. Not because people were abusing it, but because by now, anyone who wanted to upgrade probably has.
If you haven't upgraded and still want to, head to the Microsoft Accessibility page where you’ll see a blue screen (not of death this time) outlining the noble intentions of the company.
To install Windows 10 click on the Upgrade Now button at the bottom of the screen and the installer executable file will download.
Before you launch the installer you’ll want to backup all of your important files (see our How to back up Windows 10 for more details) and be sure that you are somewhere that can download a package of around 3GB. If using a laptop we’d also advise plugging it in during the installation.
With those security precautions in place all you need to do now is open the downloaded file and follow the instructions on-screen. Windows will then take care of the upgrade automatically.
Once the process is completed you’ll be blessed with a shiny new copy of Windows 10, and all without a cost to yourself. That is, with the possible exception of bad karma, your immortal soul, or the subtle disapproving looks of strangers on the bus. They'll know.
If you prefer to buy a genuine copy because you're not eligible for the free upgrade there are ways of getting it a lot cheaper than Miicrosoft's price. We explain everything in What's the difference between Windows 10 OEM and retail licence keys?