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Windows 10 free vs. paid: (Almost) everything you need to know

Windows 10 Price and Free Upgrades

Since January when it first confirmed the news, Microsoft repeated time and again that the upcoming Windows 10 upgrade will be available as a free download to certain users, including pirates, adding that enterprises will still have to pay for licenses. To further clarify the Windows 10 update process, Microsoft senior director of product marketing Aaron Woodman talked to Yahoo Tech, revealing new details about the company’s boldest OS release yet.

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Woodman said that consumers who are currently on the latest versions of Windows 8 (8.1) and Windows 7 (SP1) will get Windows 10 as a free one-step upgrade, but only after their computers are updated to the latest versions for those operating systems.

Pirates using the same Windows versions will also be able to upgrade to Windows 10 via Microsoft, although the exec did not explain what that entails. Previously, Microsoft confirmed that non-genuine Windows versions will still be deemed as non-genuine even after switching to Windows 10.

The Microsoft execitove clarified that you have exactly one year after Windows 10 launches this summer to perform the free upgrade. After that, you’ll have to pay for it. However, once a computer with a genuine version of Windows is upgraded to Windows 10, users won’t have to worry about Microsoft charging them for the software update at any time later.

Regarding prices, Microsoft did not reveal how much Windows 10 licenses will cost. This is obviously an important detail that should be announced later this year, but did the company say it still plans to sell the OS to some consumers.

What’s clear though, is that enterprise customers will not be able to simply perform the update free of charge, as their employers will still have to pay for licenses. Similarly, OEMs selling new devices shipping with Windows 10 preloaded will also have to buy licenses for each machine they plan to sell.

Finally, PC tinkerers planning to build their PCs from scratch will also have to buy Windows 10 licenses, and the same goes for anyone looking to run the final version of the software update on top of Mac OS X or other platforms.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.