Miss the July 29 deadline for the free upgrade to Windows 10? Don’t worry. The real deadline for the free upgrade is December 31, 2017. That is if you are a Microsoft customer who uses assistive technologies. Contrary to some blog posts I have seen, keyboard shortcuts are not assistive technologies. Microsoft is using the honor system to make this free upgrade available. In technical terms, they are not checking whether or not you are using assistive technologies. Technically, you can say that you are and get the free upgrade. This loophole could close at any time.
So what are assistive technologies? After a modicum of research, my interpretation of Microsoft’s meaning is they are technologies meant to assist the disabled and are usually provided by third parties —
I have not tried to use Microsoft’s “Assistive Technologies” webpage tool to upgrade a computer so I can’t vouch for the loophole’s existence. There seems to be plenty of evidence for it though —
Loophole or Workaround?
What I can vouch for is a workaround I have actually performed. You can still do a clean install of Windows 10 using a valid Windows 7 product key. By clean install, I mean booting to a Windows 10 installation DVD, formatting the drive and installing Windows 10. Obviously, you forgo the ability to rollback a clean installation like you can do with the upgrade option. To download Windows 10 installation media, you will need a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 product key.
My Windows 10 installation activated without any problems. I didn’t try to do an upgrade by booting to the installation media, but my guess is that it would work. As far as I know, this is an unofficial route that Microsoft has never acknowledged or talked about. I don’t know how long this will work.
Disclaimer for my conscience sake
I’m not suggesting that you try either the loophole or workaround. Microsoft’s seeming willingness to let these methods go unopposed may suggest their lack of interest. It could be intentional. Who knows? There, my conscience doesn’t bother me now. The real question is – will yours bother you?