Windows 10 reality check: Separating fact from fiction

Licensing, upgrade paths, ‘Windows as a Service’ -- here’s the lowdown on common Win10 misconceptions

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With the world officially on a collision course with Windows 10 on July 29, it’s time to clear up common misconceptions about Microsoft’s latest, evolving version of its flagship OS. Perhaps not surprising, there’s quite a bit of misinformation floating around, some of it harmless, but some of it potentially damaging to any decisions you make about Windows 10.

InfoWorld has been tracking Windows 10’s progress very closely, reporting the evolving technical details with each successive build in our popular “Where Windows 10 stands right now” report. But there’s more to Windows 10 than bits and bytes, menus and apps, Universal and otherwise -- so much, in fact, that it can be understandably confusing. Licensing, upgrade paths, Windows 10 updates -- here’s where we cut through the myths and fictions, and give you the straight dope about Windows 10, in hopes of preparing you to make the most of Microsoft’s latest, though not last, Windows release.

Fact: Windows 10 will be a free upgrade to “genuine” Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines

If you have a Windows 7 Service Pack 1 machine or one with Windows 8.1 Update, and it passes the “genuine” test, you qualify for a free upgrade to Windows 10. To confirm whether you’re running the genuine stuff, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System. At the bottom you should notice that “Windows is activated.”

As long as your current copy of Windows is “genuine,” the new copy of Windows 10 will be “genuine” -- and free. The caveat: You have until June 29, 2016, to make good on the upgrade.

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