The world is expecting information about a new major Windows release on June 24. I’ve been watching the byplay and discussion of what could be new, and what might be next. For me, one question is paramount. Will the next upgrade be free? Or, will users have to pay for that privilege? That’s what has me pondering free Windows upgrades, as the Microsoft event comes in a just a few more days.
History Guides Me, In Pondering Free Windows Upgrades
Let me think back on my own personal Windows history. I remember most early upgrades to Windows were neither free (because they came on “official media”) nor terribly expensive (because MS wanted users to stay current). If I remember correctly, upgrades cost US$50 to $99 for Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Windows 95 upgrades listed for US$109.95, but deals were sometimes available. Ditto for Windows 98, which also offered a pre-order price of $94.99 for upgrades to those willing to spend less sooner and get the media later. Windows Vista is the last version that I remember Microsoft charging a fee to upgrade and it cost more: US$120 (Home), US$200 (Business) and US$220 (Ultimate).
Since then, upgrades to 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 have pretty much all been free to those with legit, valid Windows licenses for previous (and sometimes older) versions. To my way of thinking, this says that recent history argues that a “next upgrade” should be free for Windows 10 licensees. OTOH, there’s plenty of older history that argues directly to the contrary.
Time Will Tell … and Soon, I Hope!
With a major announcement coming up on Thursday, June 24, we may soon be finding out what any upgrade deal will be for Windows 10 licensees. Because I have 10 PCs here at Chez Tittel, I’m more than a little interested in (and apprehensive) about the upcoming upgrade policy. In the meantime, I’ve got my fingers crossed that recent history trumps ancient history now that physical media are seldom needed, and OS downloads represent the most common and widely used distribution channel for Windows install files.