FYI: How to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 after July 29

Earlier today, Microsoft confirmed that the offer for a free upgrade to Windows 10 would end on July 29. We shouldn't be surprised, as the firm had said that it would only be available for one year from the very beginning.

But you might not be ready for Windows 10. Perhaps you're waiting to see how the Anniversary Update is received by users before upgrading. Fortunately, with a bit of preparation, you can upgrade your PC to Windows 10 for free whenever you want.

Here's what you have to do:

  1. Back up your stuff. Everything. You're going to be doing a factory reset, so make sure that you can restore everything. If you're coming from Windows 8.1, this might not be an issue for you, as the way OneDrive is set up pretty much allows you to use it as your file system.
  2. Create a recovery disk. This could also be a good way to clean up the OEM bloatware on your PC. You can always create recovery media from your PC, but if you're coming from Windows 8.1, you can use Microsoft's Media Creation Tool, which will give you a clean, junk-free version of the OS.
  3. Upgrade to Windows 10. You heard me. If you buy a retail copy of Windows, you can install that on one PC. If that PC goes up in flames, you can install it on another. You own that license. OEM licenses work differently. The Windows license is tied to that particular machine. Once you upgrade that PC, it will then have a Windows 10 license tied to it.
  4. Restore the OS that came with your PC. Now that you have a Windows 10 license tied to your PC, you can go ahead and reinstall the version that came with your PC. Using the recovery media that you created is one way to do this, but you can also do it by going to Settings -> Update & security -> Recovery, as long as you do it within 30 days. After 30 days, your recovery media will still work, of course.

There are tons of reasons that you might not want to upgrade to Windows 10, one of which is the OneDrive issue that I mentioned above. The fact is that you don't need a reason. If you're happy with Windows 7 or 8.1, there's simply no reason to do it at the moment.

Now that a Windows 10 license is tied to your PC, you can upgrade any time you want without paying the $119 fee that Microsoft plans on charging. Whenever you're ready, grab the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and use it to upgrade your PC.

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