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Windows 10 was available as a free upgrade for one year, but that offer finally ended on July 29, 2016. If you didn’t finish your upgrade before that, you will now have to pay the full price of $119 to get Microsoft’s last operating system (OS) ever Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Windows 10 Is the Last Version of Windows. Ever. Microsoft is sick of you not upgrading, and has a solution: Windows 10 will be the final "version" of Windows. Ever. This could mean that you will never again have to buy Windows. Read More .

However, Microsoft has left open a small backdoor that you can exploit to get the Windows 10 upgrade after the deadline. While the offer is closed for the general public, Microsoft invites customers who use assistive technologies on Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 to upgrade for free anytime.

So how do you benefit? Well, Microsoft isn’t actually checking if you use assistive technologies or not.

What’s Happening After the Deadline?

Throughout the free upgrade period, Microsoft was aggressively pushing Windows users onto the new platform through the Get Windows 10 (GWX) campaign. Microsoft tried sneaking the upgrade through Windows Update Microsoft Strikes Again - How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Microsoft Strikes Again - How to NOT Upgrade to Windows 10 Windows 10 is now a recommended update on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers. If you're not yet ready to upgrade, it's time to double-check your Windows Update settings. We show you how. Read More , which has been one of the most annoying persistent notifications on Windows computers.

Windows-10-Upgrade-Ready-to-Install-sneaky

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Notifications for the Get Windows 10 app may persist for a little longer, but ZDNet reports that Microsoft will eventually take it down, now that the free upgrade offer has expired:

On July 29th the notifications will end. The Get Windows 10 (GWX) application will advise that the free upgrade offer has ended. In time, we will remove the application.

Since it is no longer a recommended update, Windows Update should stop bugging you with that little tooltip. Presently, Microsoft has no plans for further upgrade offers or similar schemes.

If you have successfully upgraded your device to Windows 10 before July 30, you will be able to use it legitimately. Note that your Windows 10 license The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ The Ultimate Windows 10 Activation & License FAQ One of the big confusions surrounding Windows 10 concerns its licensing and activation. This FAQ will shed some light, explain what has changed with Windows 10 version 1511 (Fall Update), and translate activation-related error codes. Read More is tied to your hardware and is not transferable to a new computer. The consequence of not upgrading If You Don't Upgrade to Windows 10, This Will Happen If You Don't Upgrade to Windows 10, This Will Happen After July 29, Windows 10 will no longer be a free upgrade. Here's what that means for users of each version of Windows. Read More is to pay the full $119.

But there’s still one little trick to get you a Windows 10 upgrade for free: Microsoft Assistive technology.

How to Get a Free Windows 10 Upgrade After July 29

Assistive technologies are part of the Ease of Access menu in your Settings. This consists of built-in features like a narrator to read out on-screen text and buttons, a magnifier to zoom in on the screen, closed captions to turn audio into text, and so on.

windows-10-upgrade-win-8-magnifier

There are also specialized third-party assistive products, like voice recognition software to transcribe your speech. Any software or hardware that provides accessibility to users with special needs comes under this category.

For any such customer, the Windows 10 upgrade will remain free. And it makes sense to upgrade too, since the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition update Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features Windows 10 Anniversary Update Due in July & These Are Its Best Features You will love the Windows 10 Anniversary Update! The second big upgrade to Windows 10 since its launch in July 2015 is expected this summer. Here we highlight the most exciting features. Read More  — releasing on August 2 — has greatly improved assistive technologies. The narrator has been improved, doubling its speed, added new commands for navigation, and has deeply embedded assistive technology in Microsoft Edge and Cortana, the voice-based virtual assistant.

However, Microsoft has made no effort to actually check if a customer uses any assistive technology. At this point, anyone can get a free Windows 10 upgrade, even though the official deadline is up.

windows-10-upgrade-assistive-technologies-upgrade-now

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure you are already running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 with a valid license.
  2. Back up all your data before you begin.
  3. Go to www.microsoft.com/accessibility/windows10upgrade
  4. Click Upgrade Now to download the Microsoft Update Assistant Tool. It’s an EXE file and will work only on Windows.
  5. Run the Update Assistant and follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. The tool will download the latest release of Windows 10 (currently version 1511 How to Upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1511 Now How to Upgrade to Windows 10 Version 1511 Now Can't seem to install the Windows 10 Fall Update? It wouldn't be the Microsoft we know and love, if there wasn't some kind of screw-up along the line. Let us help! Read More ), after which it will start the installation process.

Once the installation process was initiated, you can follow our guide to upgrade to Windows 10 How to Upgrade to Windows 10 via Windows Update How to Upgrade to Windows 10 via Windows Update Windows 10 is offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. When you're ready to upgrade, you can use Windows Update and keep all your installed programs and settings intact. Read More . After the setup finishes, you might also want to delete Windows.old to regain space Free Up Disk Space by Removing Windows.old Folder Free Up Disk Space by Removing Windows.old Folder Windows prepares an automatic backup before you re-install. The Windows.old folder includes user profiles and personal files. Here's how to restore the data and remove the folder to free up space. Read More , although keep in mind that this will prevent you from downgrading to your previous Windows version 3 Ways to Downgrade Windows 10 & Rollback to Windows 7 or 8.1 Indefinitely 3 Ways to Downgrade Windows 10 & Rollback to Windows 7 or 8.1 Indefinitely You've either upgraded to Windows 10 to secure a free copy or were upgraded forcefully. We share three tricks that will help you downgrade now or later and save you if your upgrade failed. Read More , unless you made a backup.

Microsoft hasn’t declared when it will end this upgrade offer for assistive technology users, but has said that there will be a public announcement before it ends. So for now, you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade if you missed out during the deadline, albeit not ethically.

Is It Just an Oversight?

Possibly, yes. As one Redditor astutely pointed out, the Upgrade Now button is linking to an Update Assistant Tool version that doesn’t check for any assistive technology, instead of another version that seems to check for it.

So when you’re downloading the Update Assistant Tool from the site, check if it’s a file titled “Windows10Upgrade9252.exe” or if it’s “Windows10Upgrade24074.exe”. If it’s ending in 24074, then you have nothing to worry about.

Do You Think This Is Deliberate?

Several people think that this continued upgrade offer is a ploy by Microsoft. The company has publicly stopped the official upgrade, but left this backdoor wide open, without any checks whatsoever. By making it seem like an oversight, people who were still holding out for another scheme may end up upgrading now before this backdoor is shut.

Do you think Microsoft intentionally left the accessibility-based upgrade open to anyone? Or was it just an oversight that will be corrected soon?

Image Credits:Shocking by sharpshutter via Shutterstock

  1. Nick
    October 20, 2016 at 6:04 am

    Anyone know if you can use the media creation tool now that the deadline has passed, I keep getting stuck at 99%. I don't see any option to install by any other method than the Upgrade assistant. 23 hours and counting....

    • Oswin
      November 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

      Same is the case with me.

  2. Morgan Jackson
    October 6, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    When I tried upgrading to Windows 10 it asked for a W10 License Key. Since I only had a W7 License Key it refused the upgrade. Please advise.

  3. MainFragger
    August 18, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I think this is a way of basically slowing down server hits from the mass public while still allowing IT guys access when they need it. Its a good way to be able to pick and choose who gets the software without it seeming like a dick move...

  4. fcd76218
    August 2, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    My daughter bought a laptop from Newegg with Win 8.1. We tried to "upgrade" to Win 10. No joy. The installer kept on telling us that there was no mor room on an almost empty 1 TB drive. We followed all the instructions but all we got was the Not Enough Space error. So the 'upgrade' got the hook. Besides, Win 8.1 will be supported till 2020. By that time my daughter will have given that laptop to me and I would have installed Linux with no problems. She will have her boss provide her with another laptop with O/S pre-installed.

  5. Rhys
    August 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I downloaded the exe because I use the magnifier to be able to read most stuff, and all it seems to be doing is restarting the Upgrade Assistant every 10-15 seconds and not doing anything and keeps bringing itself into foreground and disrupting me every time and basically isn't working? "We're checking for the latest version of the Upgrade Assistant"? And I can't seem to end the process hmm.

  6. Eamon Healey
    August 2, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Thank you for this. I don't feel guilty because I was TRYING to get my upgrade done before the deadline and I had a hard drive crash that took 2 WEEKS to recover from.

  7. Alan
    August 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    There has been many comments stating that by turning your system clock back to the 28th July you can still upgrade for free.
    I havnt personally tried that method as all my machines are on Win 10 but thats the word...

  8. Akshay
    August 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    This is of course, a deliberate move. One of the FAQ on the download page says:

    "We are not restricting the free upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies. If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer."

    Which means there might be thousands of assistive tools available for Windows®, and it can't really know which installed software is what.

    The free upgrade offer hasn't ended!

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