I might be the only person on the planet who didn’t realize this, but I recently discovered that legal, activated installations of Windows 7 can be legally and permanently upgraded to Windows 10 at no charge.
When Windows 10 was first released, Microsoft went to a lot of trouble to notify users with activated copies of Windows 7 that they could upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge for a limited period of time. Once that limited period of time elapsed upgrades to Windows 10 had to be purchased. Jimani had upgraded all of our in house, job shop laser marking systems to Windows 10 shortly after that OS was available and we knew that it worked well with the Prolase and Leopardmark Laser Marking Software that we used on both our job shop systems and systems that we sell. Interestingly enough for us at Jimani, most new Jimani Laser Marking Systems buyers still wanted a Windows 7 OS installed on the marking computer. I can only guess that this was because they were reluctant to get on board with a brand new operating system from Microsoft. Jimani continued to purchase and install copies of Windows 7 because that was the Windows OS requested by most new users. We would only provide a Win 10 OS upon request.
Support for Windows 7 ends January 14th, 2020. Microsoft is encouraging all Win 7 users to upgrade to Win 10 and they offer a paid upgrade to Win 10 (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/windows-10-pro/df77x4d43rkt/48DN?icid=W10Pro_upsell_071817&activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab)
As soon as Microsoft announced the Win 7 end of support date, no-one wanted a new marking system computer with a Win 7 OS. We, at Jimani, had prebuilt a number of marking system computers with Win 7 and, since the software was already activated with Microsoft, it seemed as though the only alternative to salvage them was to purchase upgrade copies of Win 10. We had 12 new marking system computers in our inventory with activated copies of a Win 7 OS and it seemed as though I was going to throw away 12 copies of Windows 7 and then spend another $2,500 getting upgrade copies of Windows 10 to install in those computers.
Before doing that I decided to do a bit of research and found out something interesting. Microsoft offers a tool that is called the “MediaCreation Tool” and it is available at no charge from the Microsoft website here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10?ranMID=43674&ranEAID=je6NUbpObpQ&ranSiteID=je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg&epi=je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg&irgwc=1&OCID=AID2000142_aff_7795_1243925&tduid=(ir__oybuevyybokfr3eckk0sohzi2v2xgmnx9wq6cui600)(7795)(1243925)(je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg)()&irclickid=_oybuevyybokfr3eckk0sohzi2v2xgmnx9wq6cui600?ranMID=43674&ranEAID=je6NUbpObpQ&ranSiteID=je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg&epi=je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg&irgwc=1&OCID=AID2000142_aff_7795_1243925&tduid=(ir__oybuevyybokfr3eckk0sohzi2v2xgmnx9wq6cui600)(7795)(1243925)(je6NUbpObpQ-R1_hU4Mu2L1a9LLMPkjimg)()&irclickid=_oybuevyybokfr3eckk0sohzi2v2xgmnx9wq6cui600
In the “Create Windows 10 Installation Media” tab in that link the MediaCreation Tool can be downloaded. Once the MediaCreation Tool is downloaded and run, the user is guided through a Windows 10 upgrade procedure. After the upgrade is complete, Windows 10 has been installed, all programs and data on the computer are still there and, as long as the programs installed on the computer were Win 10 compatible in the first place, everything works and behaves normally. The MediaCreation Tools seems to be exactly the same procedure and steps that one went through when Microsoft was doing free Win 7 to Win 10 upgrades. I have gone through this procedure with 10 of the 12 new Win 7 computers in our marker computer inventory and it has gone flawlessly. The new installation registers with Microsoft and activates. It is now a legal copy of Windows 10 but the license key is from the original Windows 7 installation.
So is all of this a big oversight on the part or Microsoft and a hole in their security being exploited by people such as me? I don’t believe that for a moment and I am sure that Microsoft is perfectly aware of what is going on. A quick google search (which is how I found out about this in the first place) reveals a handful of links describing this same procedure and some of those links have been around for quite a while. I suspect that Microsoft is fully aware of all of this and it is their way of quietly encouraging users to upgrade without flaunting that it is free because they ended the original free upgrade offer years ago. It is to Microsoft’s benefit to have everyone on Windows 10 and I suspect that no-one is getting rich on paid upgrades anyway.
I thought that this information might be useful in the event that there are any Jimani Laser Marking System users who were as much in the dark as I was about free Win 10 upgrades. In the event that everyone in the world except me already knew about this, please don’t embarrass me by throwing it in my face. In the other event that just one person reads this blog and saves themselves a bit of money, congratulations.