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Microsoft had heavily been marketing a 1 Year Free Upgrade for Windows 10 from Windows 7 and windows 8.1. That 1 Year Ended on the 29/07/2016. Now Microsoft at different levels; website, technical support and marketing state the Free Upgrade has Ended however they do so with some inconsistencies. There is a post about Accessibility users with a slightly newer upgrade assistant here.
Despite all the statements from Microsoft Marketing stating the Free Upgrade has Ended it appears:
- Slight changes have been made to Windows 10 Installation Media*.
- Windows 10 Activation Servers changed only for Windows 10130 Insider Preview**.
At current the Windows 10 RS1 .iso will accept Windows 7/8.1 OEM and Retail keys during installation. This is expected as otherwise users will install the incorrect Edition. However fresh keys also continue to activate systems not already been made Windows 10 Device. For more Details see Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso.
10/02/2017 Windows 7 OEM/Retail and Windows 8.1 OEM/Retail keys still act as Windows 10 OEM keys during clean installation resulting in normal product activation for systems that have never previously had Windows 10 installed. I last tested this out on an OptiPlex 7010 with its Windows 7 Pro OEM key on the 10/02/2017 (>6 months after).
This OptiPlex 7010 never had Windows 10 Pro installed on it before. To ensure the system was not already a Windows 10 Pro Device I performed the installation without any product key; Windows 10 Pro was not activated confirming the system was not made from a Windows 10 Pro Device (i.e. it hadn’t been upgraded in the past). A subsequent Clean Installation of Windows 10 Pro with the Windows 7 Pro key did result in Product Activation. This means the system was newly registered with the Product Activation Server becoming a new Windows 10 Pro Device.
* 07/08/2016 There appears to have been some minor changes to the Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool and Windows Installation Files is an Upgrade Install is attempted. These changes mean the user is asked for a Windows 10 Product Key and Windows 7/8.x keys are rejected. These changes are very minor and can be overcame with a few clicks.
** 26/08/2016 The Windows 10130 Insider Preview no longer activates meaning Microsoft have patched their Microsoft Product Activation server preventing further Product Activations and ending the Unofficial 10130 Insider Preview Upgrade path.
** 10/08/2016 Tested 3 systems with Windows 7 Pro OEM Licenses that weren't Windows 10 Pro Devices. Clean installation of Windows 10 Pro with the product key input during installation of afterwards in settings lead to Microsoft Product Activation and the systems being designated Windows 10 Pro Devices.
For more details see:
- Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso, Make a Bootable USB and Clean Install
- Windows 7 or Windows 8.x to Windows 10
It is extremely unlikely that Windows 10 RS1 installation media stops accepting Windows 7/8.x keys during installation as the wrong Edition of Windows may be installed resulting in many Product Activation issues…
If the Product Key is rejected in System/Settings when Windows 10 tries to contact the activation server it'll also cause Product Activation issues. I don't think this is likely to happen; it depends if Microsoft want to get serious about stopping offering the Free Upgrade…
Some users test results after the Free Upgrade: