So, Microsoft will start charging for Windows 10 with effect from the end of July
This was announced on the Windows blog on May 5th. The UK price for Windows 10 Home will be £99.99 (including VAT). The US price will be $119. With the US$ currently worth about £0.68, I’d say they’re overcharging us, even allowing some margin for currency fluctuations. Despite the announcement, I still wouldn’t bet against Microsoft introducing some kind of “extended offer due to public demand” between now and the end of July.
It remains to be seen what tactics they are going to use after July to persuade recalcitrant Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade, but I can tell you that they are certainly stepping up the pressure in this period when upgrading is still free. As long ago as last autumn, we learned that Microsoft intended to “re-style” Windows 10 from being a completely new product to being a “recommended update”. I wrote about this in my blog of November 14th – “Windows 10 – like it or lump it“.
The upshot of this clever bit of legerdemain is that they are able to install Windows 10 without your needing to give them any new permission. If you already allow Windows to install its own updates automatically then you might wake up any day now to find that you’ve been upgraded. This happened to a client of mine last week and I saw him a few days ago to help him get over the culture shock of the new product. And last week I was doing some routine maintenance on another client’s machine and saw a screen come up that included the text “Your free Windows 10 upgrade is scheduled for ….”. Luckily, there was a cancel button (I know the client didn’t want Windows 10), so I was able (I hope!) to avert the problem.
I nicked the screengrab below from a PC World blog (the magazine, not the shop) that investigates the traps and supposed get-outs that Microsoft are laying all over the place at the moment. If you think you might already have seen a warning that Windows 10 is about to be installed on your machine and you want to stop it, then I suggest that you read this PC World blog. Do it very soon but read it slowly and carefully!
I have read in more than one place that it’s possible to reserve your free upgrade to Windows 10 some time between now and the end of July, but to install it at a later time to suit your own convenience. I don’t actually recommend this because I can imagine there’d be tears before bedtime if attempting it. Nevertheless, if the idea appeals to you, here is How-To Geek’s article on reserving your free upgrade to Windows 10.
I have also read somewhere that Microsoft have promised to stop hassling people to upgrade after the free upgrade period ends, but I can’t find the reference again and, quite frankly, I’m not sure I believe it anyway. Is it just my own world-weariness and cynicism, or is it really an absolute disgrace that Microsoft are bullying, manipulating, and even deceiving us in their monomaniacal mission to get everyone in the Milky Way using Windows 10? No, it’s not just me. One of my computer support clients emailed me just yesterday about this subject and asked “Is this one of Microsoft’s most sneaky, unethical and immoral acts so far?”. I’d say it is.
So, should you upgrade to Windows 10 now? Well, if you’ve managed to dodge the bullets so far, and really don’t want it, then I think I would advise trying to hold out until the end of July to see if the bullying, cajoling, and trickery really do stop. And good luck with that.