If You Don’t Upgrade to Windows 10, This Will Happen
After almost a year of the free Windows 10 update being forcibly pushed to Windows users, the offer has nearly expired. After July 29, Windows 7 and 8.1 users will no longer be eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.
If you’ve decided that you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 , no matter what, you can ignore the warnings from Microsoft and stay on your current operating system (OS). But what happens if you do that? Let’s take a quick look at what will happen to the various flavors of Windows after the end of July.
In case you’re not sure, check which version of Windows you’re running before we start, so you’ll know which section applies to you.
Windows 10 Users
If you’re on Windows 10, congratulations! You’re already running Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS. According to them, Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows , and will instead receive feature updates over time.
Starting from August 3, Windows 10 users will be able to download the Anniversary Update, which includes many new features to play look forward to (not just boring security updates!) One of its headline features is a full Linux-style Bash command line in Windows , perfect for geeks who love to work via the command prompt .
Windows 8.1 users are eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 10. Make sure to visit the update page or click the Windows 10 icon in your notification tray if you want to upgrade before the free option expires on July 29.
Should you avoid the upgrade, we can take a trip to the Windows end of life page to see how long other versions will keep kicking. Windows 8.1 will be in mainstream support until January 2018, and will continue to receive security updates in extended support until January 2023. Thus, if you’re really against Windows 10, but want a long-lasting OS, keeping 8.1 is your next best option.
Note that PCs with Windows 8.1 pre-installed will stop being sold on October 31 of 2016, so if you want to get one without installing Windows yourself , now’s the time.
If you’re still running Windows 8, you’re using an unsupported operating system and need to upgrade to 8.1 as soon as possible to stay safe. Just like on Windows XP, support for Windows 8 (not 8.1) was discontinued at the start of 2016, meaning it isn’t receiving security updates anymore.
Even if you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, the update from 8 to 8.1 remains free. Our guide on how to update to Windows 8.1 safely will help; all you should need to do is run Windows Updates and then visit the Windows Store to download the 8.1 upgrade. Once you’ve done this, the above section on Windows 8.1 applies to you!
Windows 7 users have a similar scenario to those using Windows 8.1. If you’re on Windows 7, you’re eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 10, but you won’t be supported for as long as Windows 8.1 users if you choose to forgo the upgrade.
Windows 7 has already reached the end of mainstream support and will continue to receive security updates until January of 2020, so you still have some time to be comfortable if that’s what you’re using. In addition, Windows 7 will stop appearing pre-installed on PCs after October 2016.
Saving the Upgrade for Later
If you’re on Windows 7 or 8.1 and have even the slightest interest in trying Windows 10, you should follow our guide and act now to secure your free upgrade , even if you don’t want to jump to Windows 10 just yet. By doing this, you’ll keep the upgrade free for whenever you want it and can downgrade back to your current system easily.
Users who don’t do this will be out of luck, and will have to pay full price for Windows 10 after July 29. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! Even if you run Windows 7 for another year, Windows 10 will be waiting for you.
Windows Vista or XP
Still running older versions of Windows? Windows Vista will reach the end of its extended life in April 2017, and Windows XP has already been deprecated for over two years . Naturally, you’re pretty limited on upgrading to Windows 10 if you still have Vista or XP on your system.
Your best bet is to look into getting a cheap license for Windows 7 or 8.1 as soon as possible and use that to upgrade to Windows 10, but chances are that your older Vista or XP system isn’t powerful enough to run a modern OS . It may be time to upgrade your computer and the version of Windows with it.
The Future Cost
If you’ve reviewed the above scenarios and decided you still don’t want to accept the free upgrade offer, you’ll find a price tag of $119 on Windows 10 after July 29. There’s also Windows 10 Pro for $199, but the extra features of Pro aren’t really worth the cost .
Of course, Windows 10 will continue to be pre-installed on most PCs you can buy off the shelf; you’ll only have to worry about paying if you’re building your own PC from scratch or want to upgrade your current system.
Microsoft has confirmed that the only way to upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29 is paying full price for a copy of the OS with its own product key — there won’t be a reduced cost for users who are upgrading. This means that you’ll be able to do an in-place upgrade (keeping all of your old files and settings ) or a fresh install (installing Windows 10 from scratch ).
If you’re still on the fence about Windows 10, check out our activation and licensing FAQ for worries about upgrading. If you’ve just upgraded and don’t know where to start, check out our Windows 10 refugee guide , the complete guide to Windows 10 settings , and the facts behind Windows 10’s privacy issues .
While you might have concerns about Windows 10 or like your current version of Windows, the smart forward-looking decision is to upgrade today. Not only will you be saving $119, but you’ll also be on a modern OS that’s receiving feature and security updates all the time. What’s not to love?
What version of Windows are you running right now, and what are you waiting for on the free upgrade? Let us know your concerns in the comments!