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Windows 10 testers to get free upgrade to the real thing

Barry Collins
12 May 2015
Windows 10
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Microsoft's engineering chief promises Windows Insiders a free upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft says customers running the Windows 10 Techncial Preview will be able to upgrade to the full version of the operating system for free. It's the first time Microsoft has promised all of its testers a free upgrade.

The pledge came from Windows engineering chief, Gabriel Aul, in a response to a question posed on Twitter. When asked: "Will you be able to upgrade to the #Win10 RTM version for free with #insiders preview?" Aul simply replied: "Yes." RTM stands for 'Release to Manufacturing', Microsoft's terminology for the completed operating system code that is sent to PC makers for pre-installation on their PCs. 

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Pre-release versions of Windows typically time out in the months after the operating system's release, forcing users to buy a new licence to continue using the OS. However, given that Microsoft already plans to offer users of Windows 7 and 8 a free upgrade to Windows 10, the company has perhaps decided that it has literally nothing to lose by offering testers a free licence. It's not as if the type of person who's testing a pre-release version of Windows will still be running Windows Vista on their PC, after all.

It's not clear whether the upgrade to Windows 10 RTM will be offered as an in-place upgrade, where users don't have to reinstall all of their software, as has typically been the case with previous releases. It might be advisable to perform a clean install and remove any clutter left over from previous versions of the Technical Preview anyway.  

Microsoft has now released eight different versions of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, the latest being Build 10074, which has once again introduced tweaks to the way the Start menu operates and fully integrates the Cortana voice assistant into the Start menu.

Microsoft has pledged to release Windows 10 in time for the back-to-school market at the start of September, giving the company little time to iron out the remaining bugs and lock down the design of Windows 10. PC makers need at least six weeks to validate the code and get an operating system pre-installed on their systems.  

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