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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  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    They have stated that if you upgrade from win7/8 to 10 then you will be able to do clean installs to win10. Therefore your license will be a genuine win10 license.

    If they were to allow you to do that and tie your license up with extra restrictions that were previously not there they would open themselves up to unfair practice lawsuits. If your license is not an OEM license then you will be able to install it on a different machine as you were able to before.

    I have done this in the past with Win Xp through 8 and usually it is trivial, just install and activate but in the incidents where it would not activate over the net I would call the number it provides and just state that the license will only be used on 1 machine and they give you an activation code.

    So long as you are using your license on only 1 machine you will be able to activate win10 licenses.
  • Thor1946 - Friday, July 3, 2015 - link

    I think you are wrong here. Microsoft will make an ISO file available to you for a clean install but only after you have done an in place upgrade install with a Microsoft account.
    During that upgrade install, your machine will be fingerprinted with most of your hardware serials. That fingerprint will be hard coded into the ISO file they let you download and will not install on any other machine.
    As for Skylake hardware, I plan on upgrading shortly after it is released. However, Intel is in bed with Microsoft (always has been) and Skylake won’t be coming out until after 10 has launched, hence, it wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft excludes Skylake hardware from the upgrade and considers it "NEW" I am not even sure that installing 7 on a Skylake machine first and then trying to upgrade to 10 will work.
    I have other concerns as well. With a Microsoft account MS will track us from cradle to grave, they will know every piece of software you have installed, every MP3, every movie, (pirates beware) what they do with that information remains to be seen. Home version of 10 allows MS to push updates, or other files, as they see fit, to your machine. That is not something I am fond of.
    If or when I upgrade to W10 it probably won’t be until after the 1 year grace period is over and we know a little more of what MS does with all the info they gather. Even at that it will be with a retail version of PRO (no MS account required (although crippled to some extent) and no automatic updates.
  • Spectrophobic - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Ugh... Just release the ISO files publicly and have it accept both OEM and retail keys of Windows 7 and 8/8.1.

    I get scared every time MS says something about the upgrade/install procedure of W10, as it seems like they're just finding more ways to complicate stuff..
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Why is this being repeated so much, what is so complicated. This article is not referring to upgrading from win7/8, it is about the insider preview.

    If you upgrade from win7/8 then you can do a clean install. MS have stated so and this article and others about the insider preview do nothing to change that.
  • jimbo2779 - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Just to clarify, if you have previously upgraded your win7/8 license to win10 then you can do a clean install straight to win10.

    You will not need to install 7/8 and then upgrade to 10 on subsequent reinstalls.
  • Spectrophobic - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Hopefully you're right and I'm just overreacting a bit. But considering all my Win 7/8 keys are OEM and how many troubles and loopholes I had to do just to get a clean install of Win 8.1, I'm having big doubts.
  • jimbo2779 - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    They have said so. You are overreacting just a bit.
  • theMillen - Thursday, June 25, 2015 - link

    not like they have retracted or reworded anything in the past month, nope, not once ;) ;)
  • tipoo - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    Microsoft needs to work on the whole saying things they later deny thing. It's been a mess since the XBO launch.
  • pseudoid - Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - link

    I have a confirmed reservation to upgrade to Win10 from my current Win8.1Pro 32bit. My question is: During the upgrade to Win10, will MicroSoft allow me to step up to 64bit version of Win10 without paying a penalty cost? My searches here and elsewhere have not provided me any leads (pro/con) to this question.

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