Updated: Although the updated blog post from Microsoft confused the situation. It appears Insiders will still receive a free upgrade to Windows 10, regardless of whether they had a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install prior. The reason the company changed their wording in the first place was to, essentially, cover their backsides and stop the press from posting stories such as “Here’s how to get Windows 10 for free”. So in essence, the company is turning a blind eye to Insiders looking for an activated, free copy of the Windows 10 RTM, however their public message will continue to be ‘You need a valid Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 license to upgrade.’
Update 2: Gabe Aul has again clarified that Insiders *will* get a legitimate, free upgrade to Windows 10.
— Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) June 21, 2015
Original story follows.
Microsoft announced earlier this week that Windows Insiders would ‘remain activated’, regardless of whether they had a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license, if they were currently running Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10130 and upgraded to RTM. Now, it appears the company has backtracked on this statement by quietly updating the original blog post and removing all references to the build remaining activated.
The original announcement said:
As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build and remain activated. Once you have successfully installed this build and activated, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh.
Emphasis on the ‘remain activated’ part. The blog post made no mention of Insiders requiring a Windows 7 or a Windows 8.1 license, and Gabe Aul on Twitter went as far to say you could clean install Windows 10 Build 10130 (nuking your 7/8.1 install and license), and remain activated once upgrading to Windows 10.
Now, the updated announcement removes all traces of this claim, and replaces it with a very confusing statement:
As long as you are running an Insider Preview build and connected with the MSA you used to register, you will receive the Windows 10 final release build. Once you have successfully installed this build, you will also be able to clean install on that PC from final media if you want to start over fresh. It’s important to note that only people running Genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of the free upgrade offer.*
Essentially, what it looks like Microsoft is saying here is that if you don’t have a valid Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license to upgrade from, you will not be genuine on Windows 10. Insiders who clean installed the preview obviously no longer have a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install to upgrade from, and if the Windows 10 preview isn’t enough to remain activated on RTM, what’s the point in delivering it to Insiders if all they’re going to have to do is downgrade to Windows 7/8.1 and then upgrade again?
Microsoft and its communication regarding activation for insiders is confusing, and until they further explain how it will work, we’re going to have to speculate. Perhaps Insiders who installed clean and upgrade to RTM will remain activated, but only for a period of time to push Insiders to continue updating to newer builds, much like the current preview builds do, actually.
Normal consumers who upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have nothing to worry about, your activation will remain for the lifetime of the device. We will keep you updated regarding this topic. Let us know below what you think this means.