Windows 10 is just around the corner and Microsoft is urging everyone to upgrade. What’s great is that the upgrade will be free for most Windows 7 and Windows 8 users within the first year of Windows 10’s release. That’s how serious Microsoft is in its path to a consistent eco-system with minimal version fragmentation among its customers. The free upgrade will also include users of pirated copies targeted at the millions of potential customers in China. Nothing could be done for Windows XP holdouts though but there is a silver lining in store for them.
The move is not at all altruistic and could be part of some bigger plan if they can afford to give the update free and include clandestine copies. Microsoft wants users of pirated copies (millions of them) to become real players in a bid to ride on their guilt-ridden feelings. Once upgraded, pirated copies will not become genuine but can be for a few bucks, to take advantage of all the new features or just to remove annoying nags. Pirates caught, hook, line and sinker. It’s not bad at all, as was said, nothing beats the removal of that small piece of guilt like a cool breeze of fresh air in a stuffy old room. Microsoft wins even if a handful of these rebels turn to the dark side.
Now, about genuine users that still use the wallpaper with the blue sky and the green grassy hill. They remain holdouts because their systems can’t handle the upgrade; they have very critical old apps and games that run only on XP; and finally because they simply hate or dislike Windows 7 and Windows 8; or they just won’t upgrade because of all of the above. They’d surely miss out on the free upgrade and the features Windows 10 has to offer. They need to upgrade within a year or buy Windows 10 outright. Those who choose to move on have two options. For companies, they can upgrade to their Windows 7 volume license gathering dust somewhere. For individuals, they can buy cheaper Windows 8 or 8.1 retail copies since Microsoft pulled out retail copies of Windows 7 from the market. These folks can choose to upgrade to Windows 10 (if their systems can handle it) after they install Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 or, they can choose to stay with their newly installed OS. Both Microsoft and the users who upgrade wins. Users who move on to Windows 7 can take advantage of security updates until 2019 or so and Windows 8.1 users can also get updates until at least 2022. Microsoft gets some revenue off Windows 8 both from retail sales and the Windows Store and won’t have to support as many corporate or embedded XP users still qualified for updates.
Basically, getting Windows XP and Windows 7 users to move on is only part of a grand scheme. The lesser the fragmentation the better for support since Microsoft is currently downsizing their staff. Microsoft also wants the revenue for Windows 8 and Windows 10 and must urge everyone to upgrade and take advantage of its new Windows 10-centric products and services like Office 365. The technical preview of Windows 10 has been great so far, the return of the Start Menu, Cortana integration, the new Spartan Browser and better security. If the finished product turns out as it should, then many would jump at the free upgrade. But you can’t win them all. What will Microsoft do for the new generation of holdouts? Will Microsoft penalize Windows 7 and Windows 8 users who don’t upgrade to Windows 10 or will they keep gently forcing them to it?
There’s hardly anything to worry about as Microsoft can’t really force anyone to give up their OS (unless the hid something in the EULA which no one ever reads). The best they’ve always done is to announce the withdrawal of support when the OS life nears its end. As for Windows XP, it’s officially dead since April 2014 but before that, one particular update gave users nagging messages to move on (which can be disabled). After the OS life cycle, users are on their own, no more customer support and that’s the penalty for not upgrading. As for those who are already on Windows 7 and 8 but chose not to upgrade within the Windows 10 upgrade period? The only penalty is that they’d have to pay for Windows 10 later on should they decide to upgrade. Microsoft could also make another update with nag messages that could make the OS look like it’s a trial version.
Since Satya Nadella sat down as CEO, Microsoft’s marketing has become a little bit more aggressive and perhaps, aggressive enough to make people think they’d be left out if they don’t get along with the program. That’s at least another penalty.
So if Windows 10 actually delivers on its promises, there would be no harm in upgrading; after all, it’s free, for a year. Windows 10 comes with the new Spartan browser, universal apps across the desktop and mobile, Cortana integration, virtual desktops, tablet mode and better security. Plus there’s more in store as Microsoft announced a core update by 2016. Microsoft is jumping on the frozen bandwagon. In summer, just let it go.
Those who don’t want to see the Windows 10 marketing push on their machines can uninstall KB3035583 from the Windows Update panel. But because the .xml file was pegged as “version 1.0,” there’s a good chance more such updates will follow. Windows marked KB3035583 as ‘recommended’ already lets you know they’ll be putting out more of those in case you do know how to get rid of that Microsoft nag.