I’ve gotten tons of questions like this one from Caroline:  “I have the little window for Windows 10 in my tray.  If I pre-order for free now, will there be a monthly charge later. I have heard that there will be such a charge.”

Caroline, if you’ve got that icon in the tray then you are good to go with a free upgrade to Windows 10 and no monthly charge down the road. I’m not sure where you heard about the monthly charge, but that information is not correct

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Microsoft has stated emphatically for months that there is no charge now or ever for the upgrade as long as you do it within the first year that Windows 10 is offered to the general public.

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You have from July 29, 2015 to July 29, 2016 to take advantage of that free upgrade.

Who gets the free upgrade?  Home users with genuine copies of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro. You will get the upgrade to the same type you already have installed. Home Edition users get Home Edition Users, Pro users get Pro.  You will not have to enter your product key.

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Users of the Enterprise edition of Windows (intended for businesses)  will have to pay for the upgrade.

If you see that little Windows icon in the lower-corner of your screen, you’ve got a genuine copy and Windows is ready to upgrade.

This isn’t a pre-order, it’s just a reservation system acknowledging that you want the upgrade when it comes out. If you choose not to upgrade before July 29 of 2016 and later want Windows 10, you’ll have to pay for it.

In this case, Microsoft is offering a new operating system much in the same way that Apple upgrade the Mac OS. It’s free to current users to upgrade. This way it helps get everyone on the same page as far as the operating system they are using. When you think about it, a customer base using XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1 – is a whole lot of fragmentation. It makes it harder to secure and harder to offer new features.

It’s a bold move to a different style of doing business for Microsoft.

One last time to clear up any question. If you are using Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 – the upgrade is free as long as you do it by July 29, 2016. It will remain free for the life of your computer.

~ Cynthia