Upgrade from Windows 10: You’ve probably heard by now, but Windows 11 is on its way. It was originally supposed to be unveiled during Microsoft’s “What’s New in Windows” event on June 24, but the secret was revealed ahead of time. You can now install an unofficial preview version, although we wouldn’t recommend it.
That means there are all sorts of questions about the cost of Windows 11 and how you can get it when everything becomes official. We’re here to help by talking about why we think Windows 11 is likely to be a free upgrade.
The answer lies in the numbers. According to Microsoft’s latest figures, Windows 10 is installed on 1.3 billion devices worldwide. That’s a lot of PCs, and if Microsoft opens up Windows 10 users to a free upgrade to Windows 11, chances are even more people will use the OS.
There are many reasons why they might want to do that. Remember when Windows 10 was a free upgrade for Windows 8 and Windows 7? Microsoft wanted to encourage people to upgrade to a newer operating system at no extra cost. In doing so, they also wanted to phase out older versions of Windows, but keep them for those who need them.
We are already seeing this come to fruition. The updated support page mentions that support for Windows 10 will end in 2025, which corresponds to Microsoft’s 10-year support cycle for Windows.
But there is other evidence that Windows 11 will indeed be free. Those who dared to install the leaked build of Windows 11 were able to use it on existing Windows 10 PCs without the need for a product key. The leaked ISO file for the build allows you to “upgrade” Windows 10 to Windows 11, just as you can do from Windows 8 to Windows 10.
This is an unofficial release, so it could just be a coincidence. However, some of the codes in the configuration files even suggest that Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users can upgrade for free.
The last piece of the puzzle has to do with “Windows as a service.” As you know, Microsoft offers Windows 10 updates twice a year. Microsoft recently started playing around with “feature experience packs,” which bundle features separate from the Windows operating system. If Microsoft really wants to make Windows 11 free for Windows 10 users, it could also come as a feature pack.
For now, this is all speculation. We’ll have to wait and find out more on June 24, when Microsoft officially unveils the next version of Windows.