Your Final Final Reminder: Free Windows 10 Ends Today

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The Windows 10 icon of doom has entered the final stages of its apocalyptic countdown. You have mere hours left to install Microsoft’s latest operating system for free. After that, you will have to pay $119, says the computing behemoth. At the time of writing there are about 12 hours remaining. But you will have less because I have had to run the news post gauntlet to get this information to you. BUT WAIT, there are still some important things to consider before you hit the panic switch.

Firstly, there are the lingering concerns about privacy to think about. Unless you are settings-savvy, the new Windows will track an enormous amount of information about you and beam it all back to daddy Microsoft. This includes location history, message data, contacts, and calendar data. Just last week, France’s national data protection body said that the OS collects data far in excess of what is necessary. It’s nothing that Google doesn’t hoover up every time you switch on your Android but all of it will be used to produce tailored adverts and, let’s face it, eventually be stored by the governments of the world. If you are getting ready to download, be sure to follow Alec’s guide to change these settings for the better.

That isn’t the only problem though. Today folks are complaining that the anniversary update of Windows 10 Pro Edition (it is now one year since the launch) is stripping users of important powers. Most notably, the power to deny the OS from automatically installing unwanted third-party apps. This complaint is leveled at the Pro Edition though. It’s not clear what changes, if any, have been made to the Home Edition you will likely be downloading.

If you have been put off by these points and find yourself sticking by your fusty old pal Windows 7 or 8, there is good news for you. The GET WINDOWS 10 OR DIE icon will finally disappear. Windows has promised that the aggressive push notification will be phased out soon after the offer expires. There’s no guarantee it will not return. But by then, maybe humanity will be prepared.

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  1. KingFunk says:

    Quite frankly, I had enough trouble getting Windows 8 to accept my ATI HD4870, so I decided along the old adage about it not being broken and therefore not to fix it…

  2. Assaf says:

    Good. I wonder if I can turn back on windows update now…
    Because with MS there’s probably still a chance one day they will simply decide to rape my PC and upgrade to Win10 without asking :|
    So still keeping updates off for now.

  3. JohnJSal says:

    Am I the only one who has never received any kind of update notification? Not once have I been prompted to upgrade to Windows 10 (currently using 7).

    • Chiron says:

      Same here, I’ve been watching carefully but nothing so far.

    • baseless_drivel says:

      I think it’s only an issue if you have fully automatic updates enabled. I have mine set to auto-notify, but manual update, for example.

      My mom, on the other hand, surprised me with her laptop one day telling her to “press any key to install Windows 10.” Thankfully, it wasn’t too late to cancel, although it took a while for it to revert everything.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Same, although I don’t have manual installs on. I expect it is because my Win 7 is not entirely legit. I have an upgrade version that I’ve installed on a computer that didn’t already have Windows installed.

      • Creeping Death says:

        I know more than one person with a less than legal copy of Win 7/8 that has been able to upgrade to 10 and activate it. Seems Microsoft doesnt care that much.

        • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

          More people to sell advertising to, innit.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          MS actively included users with cracked versions of windows in their free windows 10 offer. Which I actually thought was pretty neat.

        • rochrist says:

          As has been said, MS has been trying to propagate 10 like a zombie plague.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    I’m resisting* purely in the hopes they’ll kill that puppy.

    *Nope, already did a clean install.

  5. Banks says:

    What if you format your PC? Do you lose the update?

    • GenialityOfEvil says:

      If you’ve already upgraded once then it’s tied to your motherboard. You won’t even need to put the product key in again.

      • Premium User Badge

        Vandelay says:

        So, a new motherboard will make this useless? I was going to download this today, but I am also going to likely upgrade my computer within the next year, meaning new motherboard.

        • GenialityOfEvil says:

          Yep. It’s only an OEM license, even if you upgraded from a retail copy of Windows 7/8 like I did.

          • hotmaildidntwork says:

            It’s actually fairly tolerant of hardware changes, from what I understand. Reports have been that it will reinstall fine even if you switch the GPU and CPU. Microsoft’s recommendation has been to call them if you have problems and they’ll authorize manually.

            All that said, the license itself is more restrictive, so you’re somewhat relying on their good graces.

        • Person of Interest says:

          Currently in the Insider build (and probably in an imminent update for the public build), one can associate a Microsoft login with the Windows 10 installation, and then leverage that association to transfer a Windows 10 license across motherboard upgrades.

          That should let you avoid the call to customer support to reactivate. Given how little outrage I’ve seen online about invalidated licenses, I assume the license often still works after a motherboard upgrade, or that MS phone support rarely declines to transfer the license to a different motherboard or PC.

          • Premium User Badge

            caff says:

            I can testify this works. I’ve upgraded everything and moved the hard disks into a new PC and after a quick reactivation using an old Windows 7 OEM(!) key, Windows 10 was activated fine.

            Quite impressive from Microsoft but they do want everyone to upgrade.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      And cutting away the FUD, make install media and use the same key you previously upgraded on: link to

      Also, pre-Win10 OEM’s can be moved to new motherboards if it refuse to pair with new hardware, by using the automated phone activation. No idea if that is available for 10.

      During my tech wanker days in a store that kept and resold OEM keys from scrapped machines, I used the phone activation system almost daily without any issues.

      Supposing that Windows 10 reinstall is blocked by new hardware and there is no phone activation; That install can still activate (and move between hardware), make a Win7 install, phone activate and then upgrade-install Win10 on top for the remaining 3,5 years of the Win7 support cycle.

  6. geldonyetich says:

    I, for one, welcome my new Microsoftian overlords.

    • PanFaceSpoonFeet says:

      Yeah, me too. I didn’t, but then I did and now my laptop boots faster. If Microsoft and the Feds are logging my shameful browsing history and details of all the lame shit i buy? Well….. Meh.

      • Hedgeclipper says:

        I’m more concerned about MS breaking older games and any competition to their own store.

        • DeadCanDance says:

          Mr.Gabe Steam better watch his back.

        • TormDK says:

          Been smoking the same stuff Sweeney did eh? Hope it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg in mental doctors bills going forward.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Just old enough to remember the 90s.

          • subedii says:

            Yeah, people keep saying “but that was the old, Gates/Ballmer Microsoft, this new Nadella Microsoft is totally going to be a nice guy!”

            And frankly, the absolutely ridiculous shenanigans that “New” Microsoft tried purely to try and trick people into upgrading (something which Nadella’s defenders somehow still blamed on the user until the very end) basically showed me that if this isn’t as bad as 90’s MS, it quite possibly may be worse.

            I mean crikey, wait until literally the day before the free upgrade period ends, then quietly put out that the anniversary update is removing the ability to turn off Cortana and disabling policies control (unless you fork out for corporate editions).

            That’s just bad form on top of more bad form. And to be honest, I expect worse to come as more people get locked in.

    • Humppakummitus says:

      Did you write your comment or was it Windows 10?

      • geldonyetich says:

        Cortana wrote it for me. She’s the best. Everyone should do what Cortana say- RUN, RUN WHILE YOU TILL CA- what Cortana says, she’s the best AI personal assistant ever.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Signs of AI Rampancy includes, but not limited to: Frequent Dismemberments, Brain Scooping, (In)voluntary Cyborginess, Positive Internet Commenting and/or Dry Mouth Death Syndrome.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Elusiv3Pastry says:

    I’ll never join you!

    *throws self down convenient exhaust pipe*

  8. noxohimoy says:

    Sorry, puppy. No one can live forever!

  9. Person of Interest says:

    How I beat the system:

    1. Cloned my Windows 7 system SSD to a spare hard drive (I used Macrium Reflect free edition)
    2. Unplugged all drives but the clone
    3. Upgraded to Windows 10 to secure my free license (“digital entitlement”)
    4. Unplugged the clone, plugged the other drives back in

    So I’m still on Windows 7, but can later upgrade for free if, in the future, MS further “incentivises” me to ditch my old operating system.

    • Eclipse says:

      so you are staying on a worse OS instead of using the better one you got, that’s genial! way to stick it to the man!

  10. manny says:

    Microsoft killed Beos, and that advanced operating system from Japan. And so it’s probable they’ve been making Linux suck for decades, to not give you any alternative. Osx was spared cause it’s even worse than windows on the control and spying front.

  11. fabronaut says:

    I was going to do the upgrade and then set it aside for future use, but apparently I’m an idiot and left it too late?

    Somehow I missed the timeline, even though I distinctly remember it saying it would be available until July 30th… didn’t know it would expire ON July 30th at the stroke of midnight or whatever.

    Now I just feel stupid. :( won’t get Windows 10 until I buy another computer, probably wasn’t worth loading onto this hardware anyhow.

    • subedii says:

      IIRC the license is tied to your hardware. So regardless you’d have needed to shell out for a new copy anyway.

      There have been people saying they’ve been able to swap around motherboards and such, but nobody’s really sure one way or the other, and it’s also a big possibility that any leniency on that is going to change now that the ‘free’ period has come to an end.

      • Caiman says:

        This is my logic, my old laptop is shaky enough as it is without risking an entire new operating system, and by the time we’ll actually need Windows 10 I’ll be on a new, shinier one with it pre-installed anyway.

  12. Layabout says:

    Last night I decided to try Win 10 but unfortunately my Dell laptop displayed graphical problems occasionally so I set about uninstalling it.

    Imagine my joy when I discovered that once Win 7 was back on there that a lot of drivers (keyboard, touch pad, network, processor and some other more cryptic ones) were no longer recognised.

    “No matter” say’s I cockily. “I work in IT and this kind of thing is my bread and butter, I’ll soon have it fixed and running even better than before”

    It’s now 15 hours since Windows 10-gate and my laptop is still FUBAR. No amount of normal practices regarding the fixing of drivers is working.

    Seems that Microsofts parting gift upon splitting from my poor wee laptop was to get it thoroughly drunk and FIUTA. Then FIUTA again and again and again.

    MS you can fuck off. I am now downloading a Linux distro for the laptop (but still using Windows for all my other computers that’s how two faced and shallow I am)

    • Buggery says:

      Sounds more like Dell shit the bed here more than anything.

  13. MadTinkerer says:

    Let’s see: does my screensaver still say “Not Windows 10”?

    Yes, yes it does.

  14. Foosnark says:

    I tried to update it yesterday. I hit “The CPU isn’t supported (NX).” Tried three different things to get it to clear up, because apparently the app is buggy. No luck.

    So here I am perfectly fine still on Windows 7.

  15. Hobbes says:

    Just looked at the changes to Win 10 Pro with the Anniversary update.

    “Fuck right off”

    Now if I want control over my system, I -require- the Enterprise edition?

    Oh fuck you Microsoft. Debian it shall be then.

  16. eLBlaise says:

    Interesting RPS didn’t mention the Start menu/taskbar fault that renders them unresponsive to mouse clicks. Perhaps they’ve been spared this nonsensical fault.