Windows 10 Upgrade Loophole may be closed as Microsoft ends free Windows 10 Upgrade Program (Update: It's Still Free!)

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer for "assistive technology" users will end this year

Or will it?

In an effort to convince the entire world to make the upgrade to Windows 10—or at least every Windows user—Microsoft offered the OS as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users for the first year, and then continued to offer it for free through its assistive technologies page. Customers who user assistive technologies can still upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, as well as anyone else (more on that in a second), at least for now. Come late December, the free ride will be over. Maybe.

As it stands, the assistive technologies pages lists an expiration date of December 31, 2017. That will be the last day users will be able to upgrade for free, unless Microsoft changes its mind between now and then and extends the deadline (again), or simply neglects to flip the switch. However, we would not count on that.

Source: Hothardware and various other sites.

How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and keep using your old Windows version

Regardless of the outcome, if you're suffering from "fear of missing out but still hate Windows 10 with a passion" syndrome, here's what you can do to redeem your license of Windows 10 and rollback to good old Windows 7 or 8.

  1. Visit this Assistive Technologies webpage and click on Upgrade now.
  2. Perform the upgrade by installing the Upgrade Assistant and going through the steps of performing an in-place upgrade. You'll need roughly 10 gigabytes of free space for the upgrade to be successful. The less space you have, the longer it may take to upgrade. SSD's improve install speeds. If you lack space, create a bootable USB drive instead using the Media Creation tool.
  3. Install Windows like you normally would. You should also log into an online Microsoft account. This will tie your W10 entitlement to your online account, meaning as you move from computer to computer, your license moves along with you. (this excludes OEM licenses)
  4. After Windows 10 is installed, type in "Settings" in the Cortana search box and bring up "Recovery" menu in settings. You'll see an option that says "Go back to Windows 7 / 8". Click it and make yourself a cup of coffee.

Update: 5 January 2017

Windows 10 is still free to upgrade to.

However, you might come across an error while attempting to install. According to GHacks..

You may get the error message api-ms-win-core-libraryloader-l1-1-1.dll is missing when you try to upgrade a PC running Windows 7 to Windows 10.

The error is not limited to the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and the Windows10UpgraderApp.exe. Windows 7 users ran into the error when they tried to run other programs on Windows 7 as well, but the bulk of issues is caused by Microsoft’s upgrade tool.

The error is thrown after you run the Windows 10 Update Assistant on the Windows 7 machine. The Update Assistant downloads the Windows 10 installation files fine but throws the error when it starts the installation of the operating system.

It is possible to fix this error. Simply head over to the Ghacks website where they document how to

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    Bear in mind that this requires a genuine Windows 7 to work. The free update from non genuine Windows 7 ended a while ago.


      Will this continue to work in the future?
      My concern is that one I'll have to reformat and I only have original W7 codes and wont be able to put W10 back on.


        I'm not sure. I'd think that your Windows 7 code is consumed, but I've never wanted to go back to 7 so I've never checked.


          Yeah, nah, what I meant was that if I had to install windows from scratch I might not be able to go to W10 in the future as my current install was a free upgrade from W7…if that makes more sense? :)


          You should be fine.


          @EightImmortals: When you upgrade to Windows 10, it creates a digital license tied to either your Microsoft account or your computer hardware. If you later install Windows 10 from scratch, it will find your license and become activated again.


    Thanks for including the option to lock in the upgrade for the future if Windows 10 is ever salvaged. Until then I'll stick with Windows 7.


      is ever salvaged

      It's a better OS at this point.


      I don't have a hard data, but I do have my personal anecdotal experience as a longtime Win7 user who had no intention of ever switching. My first experience of W10 was in a laptop that came with it. It was ok, couldn't find anything to really complain about it. Used it for about a year before I accepted the upgrade path for my main rig. Now the main rig has been on 10 ever since and it's been going really well and stable. Anecdotally, I believe it's given me less headaches than when I was still on 7. Also, I've been pretty impressed at how robust 10 seems to be when the crap hits the fan. In the few cases where I've seen disaster happen, 10 managed to recover from them automagically enough that I haven't needed to go over and reinstall anything. That alone has been a pretty good indicator.




    Well - that was interesting!

    I downloaded the Windows 10 Upgrade file, and started the process.

    At this stage I just wanted to download the files to my backup drive, and try out the actual upgrade in the future.

    Before the actual download started, a message said "You can choose when to start your upgrade". I assumed this meant that the instal files would be downloaded to my hard drive, and that I would be able to start the actual upgrade process at any time. So that appeared to fit with what I actually wanted to do.

    I left the download running and went to bed!

    This morning I found that the Windows 10 ugrade had completed itself, and everything was running fine! I was now the proud owner of a Win 10 operating system - not what I wanted at all at this stage!

    As suggested I used the Recovery option to go back to Windows 7. That worked, and everything is fine.

    My next assumption was that the Win 10 instal files would be in a folder on my C drive, and that I would be able to back them up to my D drive, then create an ISO file or whatever, to use them when I'm ready.

    However - the complete file download doesn't appear to be where it's supposed to be - in the $WINDOWS.~BT folder. There lots of files in that folder, but quite a few appear to be missing.

    Any suggestions how I can recover the instal files to use them in the future?



      You could use the Media Creation Tool to create a bootable USB drive.

      Assuming your Windows 10 was activated (either through your Microsoft account or if it was able to register your hardware online), you should be able to use the USB drive at any time to upgrade or do a clean install.


        Thanks Clarkey

        That's what I decided to do.

        Before I deleted my Win 10, I made sure it was registered.

        I then downloaded a copy of the normal Win 10 ISO using the Media Creation Tool.

        So everything should be fine when I want to reinstal Win 10 in the future.


    Thanks for this. I tried it the other night and it worked. Updated an old Win 7 laptop to Windows 10, signed in, checked what the key would be with Speccy, then rolled back to Windows 7. Installed Windows 10 on my desktop, didn't input a key at installation. When I signed in with my MS account it activated Windows with the same key from the laptop.


    win 7 is one of the worst. why people use it???
    8 is much better. 10 is fine. just install something else so you get the win 7/8 layout.

    disclaimer: i have tried/used all windows version starting from win 3.11 (was there window 1 or 2?????)


      Yes there was Windows 1 and 2, my old workplace once bought Aldus (which later became Adobe) Pagemaker 2 for me to do reports many years back and it came bundled with Windows 1.0.3.


        interesting. before 3.11 i was using dos, in CGA monitor playing digger and pacman and tetris.


    Windows 10 is still free to upgrade to. However, some users may experience an error while attempting to upgrade to Win10.

    Links in the description if you want to see a fix for it.


    Free upgrade for assistive technology users will cease 16 January 2018, US Pacific time probably.

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