Windows 11 upgrades will be free for these legacy Windows operating systems

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We’re a week away from Microsoft’s big reveal on its next-gen Windows operating system. Unfortunately for Microsoft, its announcement was messed up this week when an early version of Windows 11 leaked on the internet, giving us an in-depth look at the successor to Windows 10.

However, with the arrival of a new version of Windows, many people are wondering how upgrades will work and which operating systems will support an in-place upgrade to Windows 11. It seems obvious that users Windows 10 will get a free upgrade to Windows 11, but what about users who are still [for whatever reason] hang on to Windows 8.x and Windows 7?

windows 7 pro

Well, the good people of WindowsLatest did some research in Windows 11 Build 21996.1 to see which previous versions of Windows are eligible for a free upgrade. Interestingly, it looks like people with a genuine license for Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 can upgrade to Windows 11 for free. But, of course, it’s the same situation as the current free upgrades to Windows 10.

As the post notes, Windows 10 introduced the concept of Windows as a Service, which has provided consistent operating system updates for free over the past six years. There’s no reason to believe Windows 11 won’t continue this same tradition, with two “major” updates per year and smaller cumulative updates in between. This will likely run until Windows 12 tilts sometime in 2027 (or thereabouts).

Windows 11 desktop

We recently took Windows 11 for a try, and the operating system is, for the most part, stable with performance comparable to Windows 10 (with a few exceptions). The biggest change, however, comes from the visual overhaul that borrows from Microsoft’s failed Windows 10X experience. For example, the Windows 11 taskbar is now positioned in the center by default, and application windows now have rounded edges. Additionally, the icons have been revamped as part of Sun Valley’s UI refresh, and there are various other keys in the operating system that set it apart from Windows 10 (many that we’re still discovering as we continue to use Windows 11).

Microsoft’s event to officially unveil Windows 11 will take place on June 24e at 11 a.m. EST. The reveal will be broadcast live, so be sure to check it out.


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