Windows 10 Isn’t Really Free for Software Testers

Over the past year, we have had many articles suggesting how Window 10 would be free for anyone who signed up to test it. Well, it turns out that some terms and conditions govern who gets a new Windows 10 license for free. In fact, what you do with your current subscription to Windows Insider Program dictates if you will have to pony up for a new license.

Windows Insider Program will continue after the release of Windows 10 on July 29, 2015, essentially meaning beta testers would have two ways to go about their subscription to Windows Insider Program:

1. You continue to remain a part of Windows Insider Program

If you decide to remain a part of Windows Insider program, there is nothing extra you have to do. You will continue to receive steady series of pre-release updates.  And in return, you will continue to provide end-user feedback to Microsoft on their builds and act as a beta tester. The other important point to note is that you cannot continue using the current Windows 10 preview, while opting out of future updates, as your license would expire.

As evident, Microsoft is pushing hard for continued success of Windows Insider Program and as a result wants testers to stay signed up for future pre-releases. You would thereby be required to ensure your test systems are constantly and that you never hit the expiration on the license, essentially meaning you are on an unstable pre-production release with plenty of bugs.

2. You decide to opt out of Windows Insider Program

In case you decide opting out of Windows Insider Program, you get same treatment as other Windows customers. The process looks something as shown below. You would need to reserve a spot for free upgrade to Windows 10.

Reserve Install Enjoy

However, the catch here is that you should have previously installed Windows 10 Preview on a device running a Windows 7 or 8.1. So if you are someone who is running Windows XP or Vista, you would have to pay in order to get Windows 10 RTM (the final build).

Biggest Beta Version of Windows 10

To sum it up, if you want a stable Windows 10 build, you should be running Windows 7 or 8.1. Also, to get a free copy of Windows 10, you can continue being a part of Windows Insider program and thereby be on latest and buggiest beta version of Windows 10. As Milton Friedman rightly said “There's no such thing as a free lunch in this world”.

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