Just a couple of days ago, Microsoft put out a blog post outlining how Windows Insiders would be updated to the release version of Windows 10. Later, they updated their original post to change some of the wording, since it basically made it sound like anyone could use the Insider program to score themselves an activated license for Windows 10. The new verbiage was subtly different but the end result was even more confusion. Today, for the third time, the post has been updated to try and clarify again, and close the giant loophole.

Now, to clarify, all Windows 7 and 8.1 customers are eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. This free offer extends for one year from the launch of Windows 10 which will be July 29th. If you are running Windows 7 or 8.1, you are eligible. The end.

One common question though was what about the millions of people who joined the Windows Insider program and are running Windows 10 as pre-release software already? As of Friday, Microsoft’s Gabe Aul stated that they would also get an activated Windows 10 install as long as they were using the Microsoft Account that they joined the Insider’s program with. Apparently too good to be true often is, and the company has now completely changed the terms again.

There are now three scenarios (and once again this is ONLY for people running Windows 10 as an Insider) and each is handled slightly differently. Nothing can be easy it seems.

The first scenario is that you are a Windows Insider, and you want to stay in the program. After Windows 10 launches, the Insider program will continue, and there will be fast or slow rings for testers. The Insider builds are pre-release software and are activated with a pre-release software key. Eventually these builds will expire, however there will always be a new build with a new key before that happens. If you want to stay an insider after the launch, there is nothing to be done and you will continue to have an activated copy of Windows. However, from the post, there is one more point to add: “the Windows Insider Program is intended to be installed on Genuine Windows devices” so even though they are not checking, to be in full compliance, the device running the Insider preview of Windows 10 should be a licensed computer.

The second scenario is that you have upgraded your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer to the pre-release Windows 10 build, but when the final build comes around you want to exit the program. As long as you started with a licensed Windows 7 or 8.1 PC, your PC will remain activated.

The final scenario is if you want to exit the Insider program, but you are running Windows 10 from a clean install. In this scenario, you will be required to roll back to the original operating system, and then do the Windows 10 upgrade in order to get activated. Once activated, you can do another clean install if necessary.

There are of course more scenarios that have not been covered, and only time will tell what happens to those installs. For instance, on my desktop, I started from an upgraded 8.1 install, but due to some instability of apps, I wiped out my system and installed again from the Windows 10 ISO. Am I activated? I have no idea. I suppose I’ll find out on July 29th.

The Insider program has been pretty successful for Microsoft, however their communication is not always as successful. We can only hope that it improves over time.

I’ll sign this post off with a final quote from today’s post:

“This (The Windows Insider Program) is not a path to attain a license for Windows XP or Windows Vista systems.”

Source: Windows Blog

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  • DCide - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Please understand I'm completely serious.

    Small details say a lot about their attitude. A Microsoft employee can't help but say it this way, because it's the way they talk about it internally.

    If you don't see it this way that's fine, but don't write me off.
  • piiman - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    What are you on about? They are dictating how you can use THEIR OS not your machine. Don't want their OS install something else.
  • MikeMurphy - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    I suspect the problem was pirates would create an MS account, install win10 beta, then sell the accounts later on. I see goodwill in what MS is trying to do.
  • emsir - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    I agree. Microsoft is trying hard to stop the piract of their products, and I don't blame them. It really shoows that Iniders are only interested in getting a free copy of Windows 10m and then leave the Indiser Program. But that's not going to happen. Either you stay as an Insider and accept the terms or your copy wil be "preview evaluation copy". Ad It will stop all the "smart business" signing up for Insider and get a free copy and then sell it on the Internet.
  • emsir - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    I'm sorry for all the misspelling, but I can't edit my post.
  • K_Space - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Errrr, people want(ed) Windows 10 through the insider program not because they're pirates. They wanted it because it was free! Nothing beats free! And they would have got it legitimately as per the initial announcement (but not anymore). I don't see potential insiders who jumped on the bandwagon in the last 48 hours to get a free copy will stay even if it means having Windows 10 short term as you'll only get more attached and soon enough take the plunge and buy the real deal.
    I mentioned in an earlier post how I got a NUC box running Ubuntu and Win10 for few months now and only this morning after the initial announcement I was thinking: you know what? that money saved from the Win10 licence will score me MS Office 2016 (currently running Office 2016 preview, yes cheapstake but the NUC was a little experiment).
    I know MS is not particuarly concerned about the small minority running Ubuntu at home. But those on XP and Vista are a much larger chunk and this would have been ideal to recapture them and lock them into their new Store Model.
  • kspirit - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    I don't know how well XP machines would run W10. But for Vista machines it would have been a great incentive to get the new update...
  • piiman - Saturday, June 27, 2015 - link

    "It really shoows that Iniders are only interested in getting a free copy of Windows 10"

    LOL and they are also psychic since there was no free upgrade for insiders when it started ANNNNNDDD so what? Before that I had Win7 and it gets the free upgrade. So by your logic people only bought Win 7 to get the win 10 free upgrade? lol
  • GTRagnarok - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Would have been way too good of a deal if anyone could join the program and get Windows 10 for free. I don't see what the big deal is.
  • Zizy - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Now this is sensible. Use pirates to be beta testers for you. Don't check home users at all, but put clause this beta testing should be only done with a valid license to prevent companies from switching to that instead of paid Windows licenses.

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