Microsoft closes the “free upgrade” loophole from Windows 7/8 to Windows 11

Windows users can no longer validate Windows 10/11 instals using old Windows 7/8 keys

Back when Microsoft launched Windows 10, they allowed users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to their new OS for free. While this free upgrade promotion officially ended in 2016, users quickly discovered that they could still validate their Windows 10 installs with old Windows 7 and Windows 8 license keys. This option remained available with Windows 11, as Windows 10 users can upgrade to Windows 11 for free.

For years, Microsoft had a Windows 11 free upgrade loophole, and now that loophole has been closed. Microsoft confirmed this with an announcement to partners this month that says the following;

Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well. Upgrades to Windows 11 from Windows 10 are still free.

Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will remain as a free option for users of Windows 11 compatible hardware. Microsoft has disabled the upgrade path from Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 to Windows 10 and Windows 11. This option has not “officially” been available since July 2016, and now this option has been fully shut down.

This change from Microsoft will not invalidate the installs of Windows 10 or Windows 11 that utilised license keys from older versions of Windows. So don’t worry about your cheap Windows installs getting invalidated.

Microsoft’s change to Windows 10 and Windows 11 installations is officially enforcing what has been been Microsoft policy since mid-2016. Microsoft’s free upgrade offer shouldn’t have been available for this long. With this in mind, it is hard to see this loophole’s closure as a bad thing. PC builders have enjoyed seven years of cheap Windows upgrades, and now that time has come to an end. One has to wonder why Microsoft has now decided to close this upgrade loophole. Is Windows 12 coming?

You can join the discussion on Microsoft closing the Windows 11 free upgrade loophole on the OC3D Forums.

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell

A Northern Irish father, husband, and techie that works to turn tea and coffee into articles when he isn’t painting his extensive minis collection or using things to make other things.

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