Windows 10 stops being free on July 29; here’s what you need to know

Windows 10
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Windows 10 won’t be free much longer. On July 29, Microsoft plans to shut down the free upgrade option for its latest operating system — and will force users to pay. Some people don’t want Windows 10, and will be happy to see the end of those nagging upgrade prompts. But if you want the new OS, but keep putting it off, now is the time to act. If you wait until August, it will cost you a pretty penny.

Here’s a brief overview of what Windows 10 offers, how to install it, and how much it will cost after July 29.

Is Windows 10 any good?

We think Windows 10 is great. In fact, our computing editor Matt Smith thinks it’s the best version of Windows ever made, and the best desktop operating system out there right now. That’s right — it’s better than Mac OS X and the forthcoming MacOS Sierra.

Windows 10 runs and boots faster than Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, offers better security, and adds all sorts of features to the mix, including Cortana, a new default browser, and new windows management features. If you’re a Windows 8 user, you’ll be happy to see the return of the Start menu, and if you’re a Windows 7 user, you’ll finally have access to the Windows Store and the universal app platform. It works well on tablets and touchscreens without compromising the desktop experience.

The new Start Menu offers Live Tiles
The new Start Menu offers Live Tiles

There are some monetization schemes baked into Windows 10, sure, but on the whole, we think it’s a good deal for computer users. If you want to learn more, go ahead and read our complete review of Windows 10. You can also read about the update coming later this summer, the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, which has all sorts of new features.

How much will Windows 10 cost after the July 29 deadline?

Windows 10, as we’ve said, is only free for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users until July 29. After that, anyone who wants to install Windows 10 will have to pay for the operating system. But how much will it cost?

  • Windows 10 Home currently costs $120 from the Microsoft Store.
  • Windows 10 Pro currently costs $200 from the Microsoft Store.
  • Upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro currently costs $100.

Most users eligible for the free upgrade will end up with Windows 10 Home, which offers most of the features that home users want. Windows 10 Pro offers advanced features such as Bitlocker, Secure Boot, Device Guide, and Windows Update for Business, which give advanced users — read: IT administrators — the ability to control all kinds of security settings.

In summary, for most users upgrading after July 29, Windows 10 will cost $120. If you want to avoid paying the upgrade fee, simply update now.

How do I upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

Most Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users have, at this point, seen countless pop-up notifications advertising the free Windows 10 upgrade. If you’ve seen these notifications, your Windows 10 upgrade is reserved.

Click the Windows 10 icon in your system tray, directly left of the clock, and follow the instructions to install Windows 10. Can’t find the icon in question? You might need to install some updates on your system. Check out our guide to installing Windows 10 when you can’t find the upgrade notification for a tutorial. We’ve also outlined solutions for common problems while installing Windows 10, in case you run into any issues.

We’ve found that upgrading to Windows 10 is safe and easy, and won’t affect your documents. Any time you upgrade an operating system, however, there is a chance that things will go wrong. For this reason, it’s a good idea to back up all of your essential documents to an external hard drive before starting the upgrade process.

Computing

Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 one year from now

Microsoft is set to end extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, putting a halt on the free bug fixes, and security patches for most who have the operating system installed. 
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Computing

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though, our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Computing

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Computing

Chip off the auction block – Intel’s i9-9990XE may be sold to the highest bidder

Intel's alleged Core i9-9990XE may only be sold at auction to OEMs, meaning that only a few of the 14-core, 28-thread, 5GHz CPUs will ever see the light of day in specific devices and systems.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Computing

Google is giving its G Suite web apps new touches of visual improvements

Your G Suite applications will soon have a different look. Several of the web apps are getting updated with subtle visual improvements inspired by Google's Material Design guidelines. 
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
1 of 2