Microsoft offers Windows 8.1 to non-profit organizations

While Microsoft has yet to offer any official information on how many Windows 8.1 PCs are out there running in the world, the company is definitely determined to get its latest operating system to as many users as possible. This week, Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 is now available for non-profit organizations, as well as public libraries, to download and install.

In a post on its Corporate Citizenship blog, the company said that those groups can now apply to get their Windows 8.1 copy via their software donation program. Non-profits and libraries that already have Windows 8 installed on their PCs can update to 8.1 by contacting the Volume Licensing Service Center. In addition, the company will hold a special webinar on Nov. 14 especially for non-profit groups to learn more about Windows 8.1. Microsoft has already offered non-profits a way to access Office 365 for free.

Microsoft has so far been pretty quiet about the adoption of Windows 8.1 since it launched a few weeks ago. The company may offer more information on that topic later this month as Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting is scheduled to be held in Redmond, Wash., on Nov. 17.

Source: Microsoft

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This article is misleading. Nowhere in the Microsoft Blog post does it say non-profits get Windows 8.1 for free. I work for a non-profit and we order through TechSoup.org all the time. We get Windows 8.1 at a very redeuced price ($12 per license), but it is not free.

I've been using Wnidows since 3.0 on a 286 with EVGA graphics....I'm MCP in XP, 7 and have been using 8 since the beta. Not doing my exam in it yet till I've done the 2012 MCSE upgrade ones. I use 8.1 at work so I think getting the exam done will be ok.

Last week I bought my first ever mac. Make of that what you will

/puts flame suit on and leaves the room

MS has been giving free software out to non-profits for quite some time. Some people make it sound like they do this just for Windows 8.x now or something. That's hardly the case, I'm sure if we check we'd see they gave free copies of Windows 7 out as well.

Very smart.. they can write this off as donations.. and pay less taxes while not really doing anything.. very smart in an accounting sort of way.

zhiVago said,
The beauty of a digital product is that each additional copy costs nothing to make

this actually saves them money because it could count as a charitable donation and therefore reduce their tax expense

The title is slightly misleading... as well as the information... TechSoup is how Microsoft distributes software for non-profits, however, TechSoup uses whats called an "Administration Fee" which is $8 for Windows 8.1 Pro (Full Version) and $12 for Windows 8.1 Upgrade (yes, that is what it is). I maintain the TechSoup account for our non-profit. Not sure why the Full version is cheaper than the upgrade...

I use techsoup also. The upgrade is more expensive because it includes software assurance. The full version is a get legal copy and you can get only 50 of them ever . They do not include software assurance. If you buy 50 of 8.1 you can't buy 50 of 9.0 full versions.

Windows 8.1 should, keyword should, make the transition easier for many people. I personally find that most people like Windows 8 minus the Modern UI. Many people could do without it.

Non-profits and libraries that already have Windows 8 installed on their PCs can update to 8.1 by contacting the Volume Licensing Service Center.

I thought 8.1 was a free update for everyone? I have to admit I didn't really keep track of the pricing for 8.1 so I might be wrong?

Rudy said,

I thought 8.1 was a free update for everyone? I have to admit I didn't really keep track of the pricing for 8.1 so I might be wrong?

Only free for those running 8.0. Got to pay if upgrading from any other OS.

techbeck said,

Only free for those running 8.0. Got to pay if upgrading from any other OS.

Reread the quote in my post...

I'm not an apologist but there's no need to downgrade. Just add ClassicShell and it will work just like Windows 7 if you have it boot to the desktop.

MS should give windows 8 free to everyone if they really want ever to pass more than 15% of market share of windows 8. Metro UI is curse on MS and is failing and will continue to fail unless MS get rid off this abomination.

On the other hand, I am sure those non-profit organizations can put classic shell to good use.

Classic shell was always very buggy for me. I found the paid alternatives to be significantly more reliable.

I myself had to downgrade back to Windows 7 b/c my Intel wireless card kept disconnecting on both Windows 8 and 8.1. Terrible drivers

CJ33 said,
Classic shell was always very buggy for me. I found the paid alternatives to be significantly more reliable.

I myself had to downgrade back to Windows 7 b/c my Intel wireless card kept disconnecting on both Windows 8 and 8.1. Terrible drivers

You are absolutely right. I personally use StartIsBack and its awesome $3 spent. Hope non profit organizations have budget to buy some third party alternative to start menu.

CJ33 said,
Classic shell was always very buggy for me. I found the paid alternatives to be significantly more reliable.

I myself had to downgrade back to Windows 7 b/c my Intel wireless card kept disconnecting on both Windows 8 and 8.1. Terrible drivers

My intel WiFi woes seem to have gone away with 8.1.
Laptop STILL boots up to a black screen and needs to be put on standby first before you see anything, though.

I had black screens and general hangups when resuming from sleep or hibernate in 8.1 on my laptop (or whatever you want to call the Lenovo Helix). Adding the Intel Matrix Storage drivers fixed it up. Seems that the msahci driver isn't as widely stable as it was in past versions.

Auditor said,
MS should give windows 8 free to everyone if they really want ever to pass more than 15% of market share of windows 8. Metro UI is curse on MS and is failing and will continue to fail unless MS get rid off this abomination.

On the other hand, I am sure those non-profit organizations can put classic shell to good use.

Clicking the Start menu is the old way to navigate. Today you hit the Start key and type what you want - it's a lot faster. Results come up instantly in Windows 8, unlike in Windows 7.

I think it's more because 1. Mavericks is free, and 2. to increase Windows 8 adoption rates.

68k said,
Clicking the Start menu is the old way to navigate. Today you hit the Start key and type what you want - it's a lot faster. Results come up instantly in Windows 8, unlike in Windows 7.

I think it's more because 1. Mavericks is free, and 2. to increase Windows 8 adoption rates.

Using circular design for tires are old ways to commute. So as per your reasoning we should abandon the perfect system which works and embrace square design because it will be new way. With reasoning like this, no wonder people like you will happily embrace whatever garbage MS churn out from Redmond.

Auditor said,

Using circular design for tires are old ways to commute. So as per your reasoning we should abandon the perfect system which works and embrace square design because it will be new way. With reasoning like this, no wonder people like you will happily embrace whatever garbage MS churn out from Redmond.


If this new design is hovering. then yes, we should ditch the ancient old design of round tires that only give rolling resistance.

Auditor said,

Using circular design for tires are old ways to commute. So as per your reasoning we should abandon the perfect system which works and embrace square design because it will be new way. With reasoning like this, no wonder people like you will happily embrace whatever garbage MS churn out from Redmond.

so in your version of the world nothing that works should ever change, ever? Windows would always be made to ignore touch input and the they would continue to lose market share, they would not be able to continue the plan of a single app ecosystem and the 3 screens vision, iPads ams other tablets would dominate to the point where windows wasn't worth it anymore and would die, resulting in a lot less than no f**king start menu!

Jesus get your head put of your arsehole , hate it if you want but your pointless analogies only serve to show how little you understand about the whole issue.

Auditor said,
Using circular design for tires are old ways to commute. So as per your reasoning we should abandon the perfect system which works and embrace square design because it will be new way. With reasoning like this, no wonder people like you will happily embrace whatever garbage MS churn out from Redmond.

A Nokia 3310 'worked', so as per your reasoning there should have been no reason to create a smartphone.

Auditor said,
MS should give windows 8 free to everyone if they really want ever to pass more than 15% of market share of windows 8. Metro UI is curse on MS and is failing and will continue to fail unless MS get rid off this abomination.

On the other hand, I am sure those non-profit organizations can put classic shell to good use.

Where is Metro failing?

duddit2 said,

so in your version of the world nothing that works should ever change, ever? Windows would always be made to ignore touch input and the they would continue to lose market share, they would not be able to continue the plan of a single app ecosystem and the 3 screens vision, iPads ams other tablets would dominate to the point where windows wasn't worth it anymore and would die, resulting in a lot less than no f**king start menu!

Jesus get your head put of your arsehole , hate it if you want but your pointless analogies only serve to show how little you understand about the whole issue.

I know It will be hard for Metrotards to understand the logic but no matter what you say but the failure of Win 8 proves it otherwise. You are resorting to name calling by telling people to get head out of arsehole while you himself are deep in to your arsehole.

As per your view anything which MS churn out, no matter how retarded, is good because it is coming out from MS. LOL. Poor fanboy.

Auditor said,

On MS financial statements.

are you that daft? just kicked yourself in the nuts
and i do hope there will be no other choice for boulder hats like you than buying a mac for $2000 and 1-year warranty (with an os that soon gets the same treatment) or using some outdated piece of software for as long as it can be sustained

This is probably to help with Windows 8 adoption rates.


My aunt got herself a new laptop, and a few days after using Windows 8, she had no clue what was going on. She told me that she absolutely hated her computer and didnt want it anymore. That was until I downgraded her computer to Windows 7.

This gets me wondering what the typical computer user at a library will think of windows 8. I know I'd hate it.

Actually, no... it's to help Non-profits get their work done and rewarding them for their non-profit efforts. Microsoft has always been huge with citizenship efforts.

Office 365 is also available free for non-profits and educational institutions, and students have free access to lots of software via DreamSpark.

Raa said,
Same, I've been doing regular "up"grades to Windows 7 for customers.
^Before downgrading, tell customers to hit the Start key then type what they want to access, instead of using the mouse.

68k said,
^Before downgrading, tell customers to hit the Start key then type what they want to access, instead of using the mouse.

Exactly. 5 minutes explaining how to use Windows 8 saves you much more time re-installing Windows 7, reinstall programs, and more.

Sure, I could downgrade everybody to Windows 7. But people usually just have a couple questions that you could easily answer and make them happier.

Raa said,
Same, I've been doing regular "up"grades to Windows 7 for customers.

8/8.1 to 7 is a downgrade in almost every respect, except for those who can do nothing but go "START MENU DUHHHH".

JHBrown said,
I've had many similar situations. I've downgraded/upgraded about 30 desktops or laptops since last November.

I'm wondering for everyone who does these downgrades for people, do you get paid? I get people going "ahh they changed this windows I don't like it" I sit with them, show them how to navigate, how to pin things, how to use the store and after a week they love it. If its an older person who legitimately can't change, install the FREE Classic shell. I see absolutely no reason to go through the rigors of formatting a good installation to go through installing windows, drivers, updates and their software over a darn menu that a free program could put in. Unless I charge something like $50 per downgrade then that 30 computer figure you gave would be quite lucrative.

j2006 said,
Actually, no... it's to help Non-profits get their work done

And what features specific to windows 8 helps them to "get their work done" that are not in windows 7 and are features that they would actually use?

I have actually found most "average people" can use Windows 8 once they have got used to it.

However i've had to put shurtcuts on the desktop for people to shutdown, and mess about with the default apps. The amount of time people have loaded a photo, then got stuck on that picture because its "full screen" aka the Modern app which launched to view the photo, despite the user been on the desktop. Same with MP3's too.

The chimes bar seems to be a problem for someone at work, he's forever having it randomly appear so was quite glad in windows 8.1 hot corners could be made a lot less intrusive.

In its default state Windows 8 is a mess for the average desktop user, and doesn't really make their life any easier, especially if they have purchased a laptop i don't have anyone to teach them how to use it.

CJ33 said,
This is probably to help with Windows 8 adoption rates.


My aunt got herself a new laptop, and a few days after using Windows 8, she had no clue what was going on. She told me that she absolutely hated her computer and didnt want it anymore. That was until I downgraded her computer to Windows 7.

This gets me wondering what the typical computer user at a library will think of windows 8. I know I'd hate it.


I've shown how to use it rather than ripping them off with a downgrade, not to mention that this benefits them in the long run. They also have access to thousands of easy to install and safe to use apps, apps that work perfectly and don't install toolbars and other crap ware. Games also, games that don't include a virus, or run in the web browser. These apps are sometimes paid for, but you don't have to remember your license key you got via email, no no mo, you just sign into your computer with the Microsoft account and you have access to your apps, on any computer! SkyDrive syns your settings.

sorry but for everyone that is doing these downgrades, your ripping people of of you are charging and if not then at least your preventing them from accessing some great features (built for the average user) all because of your bias and inability to spend a few minutes with them educating. Charlatans!

CJ33 said,
And what features specific to windows 8 helps them to "get their work done" that are not in windows 7 and are features that they would actually use?

MS used to give Windows XP to NGOs when the current version was Windows XP, same was the case with Windows Vista, 7, 8 and now 8.1. Maybe if you get over your Windows 8 bias you will understand.

InsaneNutter said,
I've had to put shurtcuts on the desktop for people to shutdown,

In windows 8.1 you can right click the start button for quick shutdown access.

CJ33 said,
This is probably to help with Windows 8 adoption rates.


My aunt got herself a new laptop, and a few days after using Windows 8, she had no clue what was going on. She told me that she absolutely hated her computer and didnt want it anymore. That was until I downgraded her computer to Windows 7.

This gets me wondering what the typical computer user at a library will think of windows 8. I know I'd hate it.

Did you take the time to walk her through it? Upgrade to 8.1, which has better help?