As part of the release of the Windows 11 September Update, Microsoft announced that a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10/11 will no longer be possible. However, switching from Windows 10 to 11 is still free.
Microsoft ad brief. The short description simply says:
Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10/11 ended on July 29, 2016. The installation path for the free upgrade for Windows 7/8 has now also been removed. Upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is still free.
In addition, it is simply worth noting that users should consider higher system requirements when switching to Windows 11. Incidentally, these have not changed as a result of the recently published update package.
The end of free promotions is approaching
The question now is how sustainable the upgrade lock is this time around. One notable aspect of Windows 10’s launch in 2015 was that users with a Windows 7 or 8 switch could switch for free. Microsoft wanted to encourage as many users as possible to switch. According to original plans, this option was supposed to expire in 2016 – with “actually” being the key word here. Free upgrades remained possible after that in various ways.
The suspension was not implemented directly this time either, but the end is near, as Paul Thorot’s tests show. We checked whether different builds of Windows 11 from Insider Preview could still be activated using retail keys from Windows 7 or 8. In addition to upgrading within the operating system, using the legacy key was one way to switch to Windows 10 or 11 for free.
No more upgrading with the latest release of Canary
Upgrading is still possible in the current stable version of Windows 11. The same applies to builds of Windows 11 from the Release Preview Channel. However, in the first internal preview distributed by Microsoft via the Canary channel, Thurrott is no longer able to use his retail keys for Windows 7 or 8.
The changes to the releases that Microsoft distributes through the Canary channel do not have to end up in the final release of Windows 11. In light of the announcement, according to Thurrott’s analysis, it is a clear indication that the end of free upgrades is indeed imminent this time.
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