Skip to main content

Microsoft is now throwing free upgrades at subscribers of Windows 10 Enterprise

microsoft
drserg/123rf
Microsoft’s Nic Fillingham said on Thursday that customers subscribing to Windows 10 Enterprise through the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP) or Microsoft’s volume licensing program can now upgrade devices running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Enterprise without having to purchase separate upgrade licenses. This free upgrade applies to customers subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5, and Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5.

Microsoft introduced subscription plans for Windows 10 Enterprise during the summer of 2016. The E3 version costs $7 per user per month (or $85 per user per year), and consists of Windows 10 Enterprise, the ability to freely deploy the license across five of the user’s devices, and the option to revert back to Windows 10 Pro when the subscription expires or is transferred to another user.

As for Windows 10 Enterprise E5, this subscription costs $14 per user per month (or $168 per user per year), and builds on the cheaper E3 plan by adding Microsoft’s Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection service. As with the E3 subscription model, the E5 plan is provided through Microsoft’s volume licensing program, and through its Cloud Solution Provider partners.

Prime Day Focus
These Razer Blade Prime Day deals really pack a punch [in gaming power]
Anker SOLIX Prime Day deals: This shopping guide highlights the best discounts
Send it! This HoverAir X1 Drone can capture your adventures and it's $120 off
Secretlab Prime Day deals: Build your ideal work-from-home or gaming station

“This is an important benefit addition to Windows cloud subscriptions in CSP as it enables customers who have yet to purchase a new Windows 10 device, or who missed out on the free upgrade to Windows 10 campaign, to take advantage of enterprise-grade security, managed by a trusted partner, for the price of coffee and a donut,” Fillingham said.

Administrators in charge of these subscriptions can log into the Office 365 Admin center using their Azure Active Directory credentials and see the new upgrade options over the next 48 hours. Once the options become available, admins can begin to upgrade devices, create installation discs and boot drives, share the download link to others within the organization, troubleshoot, and more.

As previously pointed out, when a subscription ends or is moved to another user, all devices associated with the original user will revert to Windows 10 Pro. That license does not expire, it will not be revoked, and is locked to those specific devices. Thus, in the long run, Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 devices that formerly updated to Windows 10 Enterprise will get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft’s subscription plans target small to medium-sized organizations looking to use Windows 10 Enterprise without having to sign a long-term volume licensing agreement. Microsoft also provides two subscription models for its Secure Productive Enterprise platform that combines Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security into one package. The E5 version is the more robust subscription of the two with added services like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection and Microsoft Cloud App Security.

However, since the subscription plans went live, there has been some concern in the mainstream market that Microsoft could roll out plans for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro too. After all, Microsoft spent an entire year dishing out free upgrades to Windows 10, and is still silently offering that option even though the promotion officially ended on July 29, 2016. Even more, Microsoft considers Windows 10 as a “service” rather than a platform it refreshes every three years.

But fear not: a subscription model for Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will likely never happen. Most of Microsoft’s revenue stems from its commercial licensing and cloud services, not from retail licensing and upgrades. That said, Microsoft appears to be beefing up its cloud business by offering Windows 10 Enterprise subscription through its Cloud Solution Provider program, and luring customers into the fold with free upgrades.

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
Microsoft announces a new threat to push people to Windows 11
Windows 11 and Windows 10 operating system logos are displayed on laptop screens.

Microsoft is sharing more details of its plans to transition customers still using Windows 10 from a free offering to a paid structure if they wish to continue receiving security updates.

The company is phasing out the legacy operating system, which will reach its end-of-life support on October 14, 2025. After this, Microsoft will begin charging enterprise users a monthly fee for Extended Security Updates (ESU). Businesses must purchase an ESU license for all Windows 10 devices in order to maintain security support beyond the cutoff date.

Read more
Microsoft may fix the most frustrating thing about Windows updates
Windows 11 updates are moving to once a year.

Most Windows users will agree that one of the most annoying things about the operating system is the updates. While Windows Updates are necessary, they often tend to come up at the worst possible time, interrupting work and gaming sessions with persistent reminders that the system needs to reboot. Microsoft might be fixing that problem in the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 build, but it's still too early to bid farewell to those ill-timed reboots.

As spotted in the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26058, Microsoft is testing "hot patching" for some Windows 11 updates. Hot patching refers to a dynamic method of updating that often doesn't change the software version and may not even need a restart. In the context of Windows 11, it's pretty straightforward -- Windows will install the update, and you won't have to reboot your system.

Read more
Best Prime Day Apple deals in 2024: AirPods, MacBooks, iPads
Best Prime Day Deals

Prime Day 2024 is almost over. If you've been holding off buying an Apple product until some great Prime Day deals, then you'll be happy to know that this is your sign, and now is the time. Even better, it seems that Apple and other retailers are pulling out the stops when it comes to Apple's products, as we're seeing quite a few great deals across the board. We've collected some of our favorite deals below, but if you'd like to check out a few more options, be sure to check out these Prime Day MacBook deals, Prime Day smartwatch deals, and Prime Day headphones deals.
Today's best Apple deals

Amazon Prime Day 2024 is scheduled for July 16 and 17. We've rounded up our favorite Apple deals that are still available, but you're going to have to hurry with your purchase because we're not sure how much time is remaining on these offers. There is no guarantee they will last until midnight on Wednesday.

Read more