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If you want Windows 10, get a Windows 7/8.1 PC, already

Mark Hachman | June 24, 2015
XP and Vista users (and pirates) can't get Windows 10 for free, period. The only workaround is a new PC, or a fresh copy of Windows 10.

For those who wish to continue as Windows Insiders: "Since we're continuing the Windows Insider Program you'll be able to continue receiving builds and those builds will continue to be activated under the terms of the Windows Insider Program," Aul wrote.

Basically, because Insiders are continuing to help test Windows 10, they'll continue to receive new builds. Those builds will expire after a while, but a fresh build will always be there to take its place, Aul wrote. Insider are receiving Windows 10 for free. The tradeoff, of course, is that new Windows 10 builds usually break something, so there's always a chance of some inconvenience. 

Here's the puzzler: Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Vista owners are eligible to test Windows 10 as an Insider. So Windows Vista owners should get the benefits of Windows 10 without needing an upgrade. Microsoft hasn't said anything about cutting off Vista owners at a later date from Insider upgrades.

It's time for some new hardware, Vista owners

If you're running Windows Vista and opt out of the Insider program, it appears you'll have to pony up for a new license. Sorry.

"This is not a path to attain a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista systems," Aul wrote. "If your system upgraded from a Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license it will remain activated, but if not, you will be required to roll back to your previous OS version or acquire a new Windows 10 license. If you do not roll back or acquire a new license, the build will eventually expire."

Seriously, however, if you do own Windows Vista, it's time to upgrade. A mid-range PC costs a just a few hundred dollars--probably less than what you paid for a decent Windows Vista system. Running a modern OS, Windows 10, on ancient hardware will simply become more and more painful.


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