Windows 10 will be free for Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 8.1

Windows 10 demo January 21, 2015

It’s confirmed, Microsoft will make Windows 10 free for users running Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 7. However, there is a catch: those who want to upgrade for free will have to do it within the first year of Windows 10.

Microsoft did not give any specific release date for Windows 10, but we know from previous information that it will happen later in 2015, during the fall timeframe.

Making Windows 10 a free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 is the first piece of official information we have on pricing. During the press event, Microsoft did not share any additional pricing strategy for the new version of its operating system.

The software maker also said that it would treat Windows as a service for now on, which means “this is more than a one-time upgrade: once a Windows device is upgraded to Windows 10, [the company] will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device – at no additional charge.”

Moving forward Windows versioning will not matter anymore, the company says.

The key strategy for Microsoft with Windows 10 is to get users updated to the latest version of the operating system across devices, which will allow programmers to have a more unified platform to build universal apps that run on all form factor devices.

Microsoft is also getting to universal apps, during the second Windows 10 presentation, the company demoed new universal apps that plans to release with the new operating system including for desktops, phones, and tablets. Among the apps, the company showed off the new Office universal apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), it also demoed a new Outlook and Calendar app, a new People, Music, Maps, and Photos apps.

Project Spartan was part of today’s keynote too, the new web browser Microsoft is bringing to all versions of Windows 10, which will include features like digital inking and keyboard and mouse annotations, Cortana integration, a new Reading mode and Reading List.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.