Conspiracy theorists have always said that Microsoft will suddenly decide to extend its free upgrade period for Windows 10, perhaps indefinitely. Nope. When the Windows 10 upgrade expires tonight, it’s over.
Just to make sure, we reached out to Microsoft this afternoon to confirm that no surprises were coming our way tomorrow, nor when the Anniversary Update rolled out on August 2. “This is it,” we were told. “As we’ve previously announced, the free offer ends today.”
Officially, the free upgrade period for Windows 10 expires at 11:59 p.m. (UTC-10) on July 29, 2016. For Americans who never think beyond Pacific, Eastern, Mountain or Central time, that means that you have just a bit more time beyond midnight to complete the upgrade—unless you live in Hawaii.
One catch if you’re a procrastinator: according to Microsoft, all upgrades must be fully completed by the deadline—you apparently won’t be able to wait until the last minute. As part of my update of how to install Windows 10, I found that I needed a solid two hours (maybe more, maybe less) to upgrade an older PC. We don’t know what exactly will happen if you’re in the middle of the upgrade when it expires, but it’s probably best not to find out.
There’s good news, though: Microsoft’s intimated before that the “Get Windows 10” (GWX) nagware will stop tonight, and that was confirmed today. “On July 29, the notifications will end and clicking on the icon in the system tray will no longer launch the Get Windows 10 (GWX) application,” Microsoft said in a statement. "Over time we will be removing the application, but our priority on July 29th is ensuring a seamless deployment of the Anniversary Update.”
The window (ahem) is closing fast. There’s just one thing: We asked Microsoft PR to pinky swear that this was absolutely the end of the free upgrade period. They never responded. Suspicious?
Why this matters: Microsoft has made it clear that the free upgrade ends today—and many have wondered if it’s all a bluff. Would Microsoft finally give in? Apparently not. Remember, for every free upgrade Microsoft offered, Microsoft lost at least $100 from a potential Windows 10 license. It’s time to pay up.