Windows 10 arrived in 2015 to a world that was skeptical of Microsoft’s claims of a free update. It’s now 2017. That skepticism hasn’t gone away. The Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer will go down as one of the smartest moves Microsoft ever made to ensure that Windows would continue to thrive in a world dominated by smartphones and tablets running Android and iOS. Problem is, the Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer is over, leaving many people to figure out how to download Windows 10.
To be clear, you don’t need to know how to download Windows 10 in every situation. New Windows 10 laptops, desktops and tablets all come equipped with Windows 10. The operating system is already on them even as you peel away their packaging and get ready to set them up. The same isn’t true of devices that came with Windows 8 installed. If you didn’t take advantage of the offer, you will need to figure out how to download Windows 10. The same goes for those that are building computers that don’t have an operating system installed on their PC or one that qualified for the upgrade.
Read: What is Windows 10?
Here’s how to download Windows 10.
How to Download Windows 10: Purchase it in the Microsoft Store
The easiest way to download Windows 10 is to purchase the operating system outright. This way you get everything that you need without searching for loopholes that still may not result in you having an activated copy of the operating system. Remember, Microsoft set a one-year time limit on the Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer. It expired in August 2016. Since then, Microsoft has removed the reminders that used to percolate in Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro are available directly from the Microsoft Store website. That’s the firm’s online retail arm. Ordering online takes just a few moments and you can immediately begin downloading the operating system for installation. If you want to make the purchase but don’t want to bog down your internet connection, select the Flash Drive option instead of the download option.
Windows 10 Home, the standard version of the operating system for anyone not running a business, is $119. Windows 10 Pro, the version of the operating system that packs BitLocker encryption and more management features, costs $199. If you’re going from a Home version of Windows 8 or Windows 7, Windows 10 Home is the right operating system to download. Professional users should go with Windows 10 Pro.
You don’t have to go to the Microsoft Store. You can also head to Amazon to purchase a USB drive with the operating system on it.
How to Download Windows 10: The Free Windows 10 Upgrade Accessibility Offer
Microsoft has said publicly that it wants to “empower” everyone to do more digitally. That includes people who use the accessibility features in Windows 10. In fact, the free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer lives on for people using Narrator, floating keyboard and other features designed to make Windows 10 easier to use.
Microsoft watchers call this the Free Windows 10 Upgrade Accessibility Offer. It works the same way that the original upgrade offer did. Clicking on the Accessibility upgrade website allows you to download the Upgrade Assistant, get a product key and a digital download of all the necessary files.
The only requirement is a check box asking you if you actively make use of accessibility features. If you don’t, then it’s a good idea to go ahead and purchase Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store or another retailer. It’s a bad idea to abuse this method of downloading Windows 10. The company could decide to close the loophole if enough people are found to be using it dishonestly.
How to Download Windows 10: Windows 10 Pro Upgrade
Not everyone needs to know how to download Windows 10. It’s already installed on 400 million laptops, desktops and tablets. You might be wondering how to download Windows 10 Pro though.
Once you have Windows 10 Home, Microsoft treats Windows 10 Pro like a feature upgrade. That is, you can go directly from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro. You don’t need to back up everything on your PC and reinstall Windows.
Just open the Store app from your PC’s Start Screen or Start Menu. Search for Windows 10 Pro in the search box and select Get Started.
You’ll be greeted by a breakdown of the features that the Windows 10 Pro Upgrade adds to your system. To be clear, buying the upgrade this way doesn’t suddenly make it cheaper. Even though the Windows Store you’re looking at a $199.99 fee per computer.
Good luck trying to download Windows 10. After you’ve successfully installed the operating system, stay on the lookout for free software updates. Large upgrades to the operating are still free. One such upgrade, the Windows 10 Creators Update, is on the horizon.