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The free Windows 10 upgrade party is over and Microsoft is cleaning up the mess

Microsoft now cleaning up its Windows 10 promotional mess on Windows 7 and 8.1

For many people using Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1, Microsoft remained a constant nag for what seemed like forever. The company continuously pushed Windows 10 down their throats like a mother trying to feed her baby a spoonful of mashed peas, popping up constant reminders that customers should upgrade to the latest platform while it is still served up free. Many customers took the bait and grabbed a bite while others have refused, content with the current operating system on their plate.

With Microsoft’s promotion to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade shuttered to the general consumer as of July 29, the company is now cleaning up the mess it caused on Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1. Consumers can grab an optional update via Windows Update that removes all programs and links related to the free offer, including that blue screen announcing the date when the free offer was to end.

Related: Windows 10 update is crashing USB-connected webcams

“This update removes the Get Windows 10 app and other software related to the Windows 10 free upgrade offer that expired on July 29, 2016,” the company states. “For a complete list of the software removed by this Windows Update, see the update replacement information.”

When looking at the list of items Microsoft is removing, there is a surprising amount — seven in all. One is an installer for the Get Windows 10 app for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 while another is out-of-box-experience modifications for Windows 8.1 for reserving the latest operating system. The update even removes software that allowed users to learn more about Windows 10 and start the upgrade process.

Microsoft considers Windows 10 to be the last version as we know it. The operating system has evolved into a service, a platform that will be continuously updated rather than released as an improved retail package every two or three years. Windows 10 Home costs $120 per copy whereas Windows 10 Pro costs $200. Microsoft’s free deal was essentially a steal for customers who own more than one Windows-based machine. Now those who missed the free ride must shell out cold cash for each device.

Of course, if customers are using assistive technologies, Microsoft has left the door wide open for a free Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft provides several assistive tools in Windows such as a magnifying glass, a narrator that reads on-screen text out loud, and more. In addition to those tools, Microsoft will also consider customers who use third-party software and hardware that assists them in their everyday computing. Microsoft has yet to announce the offer’s end date for customers using these technologies.

Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users who managed to grab a Windows 10 key during the free upgrade promotion can still use it to move up from their current platform. These keys can be used on new hard drives or drives that are completely wiped, enabling a fresh, clean install. The installer will likely include everything Microsoft has released thus far since Windows 10’s debut in 2015, including Anniversary Update that is still rolling out across the globe.