It’s not often that a software company gives away an operating system upgrade free for an entire year. That’s just what Microsoft did when it released its new operating system, Windows 10.
For an entire year following their July 29, 2015, announcement, Microsoft made Windows 10 available for free. The goal was to encourage adoption by millions of users. Still, the adoption rate was slow – by June 2016, Windows 10 owned only 30% of the market. With the July 29, 2016, deadline approaching many people waited until the last day to upgrade. Some ignored it altogether, continuing to use older versions of operating system software, including Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. These operating systems still receive extended support, at least for the time being. (If you’re still using the even older Windows XP, you’re asking for trouble.)
The good news is, if you’ve seen the light and now want to upgrade your system to Windows 10, it’s still possible to get the upgrade for free – but it’s only available for a certain segment of the population. Microsoft is continuing to offer a free upgrade to Windows 10 for those individuals who use assistive technology. If that’s not you, then you’ll have to shell out $119 for Windows 10 Home edition or $199 for Windows 10 Pro. (That’s the price of procrastinating. Sorry.)
Types of Assistive Technology
The term “assistive technology” covers a large area of devices. Some devices are familiar to the general public, such as motorized wheelchairs or scooters and closed-captioning for television (CCTV). Other types of assistive tech may not be as well-known, including text-to-speech readers, talk-to-text speech recognition software, and alternative keyboards and mice.
Up to 20% of the American population has a disability of some sort that requires assistive technology. These assistive devices vary according to need, but computer hardware and software are a significant portion of the technology available. Microsoft wants to make sure individuals with disabilities have access to the most current applicable technology.
Upgrade to Windows 10 for Assistive Tech Users
Windows 10 is still available as a free upgrade for those who use assistive technologies like those listed above. This upgrade is NOT designed for those individuals who simply let the July 29 date slip by them and are trying to get the upgrade for free. Still, Microsoft is not limiting the upgrade to specific technologies.
Microsoft’s FAQ addresses the subject this way: “We are not restricting the free upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies. If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer.”
Microsoft has not announced an end date for this available upgrade, but it won’t last forever. If you use assistive tech and want to upgrade to Windows 10, do it soon.
To trigger this upgrade, you’ll have to contact Microsoft directly through their Disability Answer Desk.
For everyone else who let July 29 come and go without grabbing their free upgrade, get your wallets out. This version of Windows is well worth it.
If you have an entire office computer system in need of an update, call us.