Until recently, we knew that to get Windows 10 free, we needed to have a legitimate Windows 7 or Windows 8 License. Now, Microsoft's Gabe Aul reveals on the Windows Blog that anyone registered for the Windows Insider program who has Windows 10 Technical Preview, will get Windows 10 free.
Edit 6/21/2015: Microsoft changed their blog post. It originally said that Windows 10 would remain activated for those who are registered at the Windows Insider Program...
...but now the tune has changed completely. Microsoft removed the any mention that Windows will remain activated, and added a sentence that only people running Genuine Windows 7 and 8.1 will get the free upgrade to Windows 10.
It seems that the original announcement was wrong, and one of the largest companies in the world doesn't have any editorial overview whatsoever on what they post.
So, with the latest information, we will need after all a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license to upgrade to Windows 10 free. If anything changes, we will re-edit this guide.
Table of Contents
- How to get Windows 10 free
- What if I already have Windows 10 Technical Preview installed?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Will I really get Windows 10 free?
- Can I get Windows 10 free for more than one PCs?
- What if I have Windows 10 on a virtual machine?
- Will the free Windows 10 be genuine and legal?
- What if I had pirated Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8?
- Will I have to pay for Windows 10 later?
- Can I become a Windows 10 insider after July 29th?
- Is there a catch?
- Got any other questions on getting Windows 10 free?
How to get Windows 10 free
Just having downloaded and installed a Windows 10 Technical preview edition is not enough to get Windows 10 free on July 29th. We need to be registered as a Windows 10 Insider, and have our Microsoft account connected to Windows 10.
Become a Windows 10 Insider
Registering a Windows 10 insider is easy and doesn't cost a thing. We just visit https://insider.windows.com/ and click on "Get Started".
If we are not already connected with a Microsoft Account, we will have to sign in now.
If we have an outlook.com, Hotmail, live.com, or windowslive.com email, all of those are Microsoft accounts, so we can use those credentials.
If we don't have a Microsoft account in any capacity, we can create one by clicking on the Sign up now link.
Just remember to uncheck the promotional email checkbox.
Don't use a fake email to create the Microsoft account. We will have to verify the email address before our account is active.
After we logged in our Microsoft account or verified a new account, we will get the Windows Insider program terms. Make sure to read them thoroughly and check the "I accept the terms of this agreement". All the other checkboxes are optional.
That's it. We are now part of the Windows 10 Insider program, and one step closer to getting Windows 10 free.
Next, we click on the Windows 10 Insider Preview for the PC, or the Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview for Windows Phones / Tablets.
In the example we will see the PC part. By clicking the PC icon, we will get a lengthy "Before you install" page. Near the bottom of this page we will find the "Get the preview" button.
Install the Windows 10 June Update
We can either start an upgrade on our current Windows PC - Which we don't currently recommend, because Windows 10 Technical preview is still buggy...
...or download the Windows 10 Technical Preview ISO, the latest June Update, to install Windows 10 on a different PC.
The June Update is Build 10130.
Either if we upgraded, or opted for a clean installation, the most important part is to select to connect with our Windows Insider Microsoft Account. We won't get Windows 10 free with a local account.
That's all. With Build 10130 and a Microsoft account that is registered as a Windows Insider, after July 29th we will get Windows 10 free, even if we have Windows XP, Windows Vista, or have never bought Windows in our life.
What if I already have Windows 10 Technical Preview installed?
We don't need to do a fresh install to get Windows 10 free. We can also do it if we already have the Windows 10 Technical Preview installed, just by connecting our Microsoft account and upgrading to build 10130.
Check our account
First, we make sure we have a Microsoft account, and have registered as a Windows 10 insider, as we saw earlier in the guide.
Then, we check if we are using a Microsoft account in Windows, or a local account. We just need to click on the Start Menu -> Settings...
... and select Accounts.
If we have a local account, we click "Connect to a Microsoft account".
We sign in with our credentials.
If we have added our cellphone to the Microsoft account, we might be asked to enter the last four digits to receive an SMS with a code for a 2 factor authentication.
Finally, we click on Switch.
Now, Windows 10 is connected to our Microsoft Windows Insider account.
Update to build 10130
We search for Windows update...
...and check for updates.
We install any minor updates, and restart if needed.
After the restart we check again for updates. Provided we have done all the minor updates, and we will get the prompt to upgrade to fbl_imporessive Professional 10130.
This is a pretty big update, so it will take a while, both to download and to install.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I really get Windows 10 free?
Well, the language is pretty clear:
If we are Windows Insiders with the registered MSA (Microsoft Account) connected to our PC, we will get the final release build of Windows 10.
It's official, on the Windows blog, so no backsies ;-)
Can I get Windows 10 free for more than one PCs?
Windows Insiders are encouraged to install Windows 10 Technical preview on multiple systems.
So, yes, it follows that we can get Windows 10 free on every PC, Windows phone, and Windows tablet we own.
What if I have Windows 10 on a virtual machine?
If we have Windows 10 Technical Preview on a virtual machine, we will get Windows 10 free for that virtual machine, not for the whole PC.
We need to have the Technical Preview installed directly on the PC to upgrade to the final build. We can have it installed in dual-boot with an older version of Windows.
Will the free Windows 10 be genuine and legal?
Yes, it will be 100% genuine and legal.
What if I had pirated Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8?
Windows 10 will be 100% genuine and legal.
Will I have to pay for Windows 10 later?
The devices that get Windows 10 free between July 29th 2015 and July 29th 2016 will have every following version of Windows 10 free for the lifetime of the device.
Can I become a Windows 10 insider after July 29th?
There is no official answer from Microsoft on this. However, we guess that once the final build is out, Windows insider will not accept new members. After all, on August 31 Windows 10 will be on sale as a retail edition.
Is there a catch?
The next episode of the Deadliest Catch will air on 23/6/2015.
Check here for later air dates.
Got any other questions on getting Windows 10 free?
If you have any additional questions about getting Windows 10 free that we didn't cover, leave us a comment.
- Windows 10 Questions & Answers: All you Need to Know
- Remove Windows 10 Upgrade Icon from Taskbar / Systray
- Get Windows 10 with a Reservation for July 29
- Clean Windows 10 Install for Free: This is the Only Way
- Microsoft Edge - A First Look at Microsoft's New Browser
Do you want to support PCsteps, so we can post high quality articles throughout the week?
If you prefer your purchases from China, we are affiliated with the largest international e-shops: