How to Get Windows 10 for Free (or Under $30)

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Tanyac

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Please correct me if I am wrong, but I spent literally thousands of dollars on Windows 7 Ultimate for my 10 PCs (After having paid thousands for Windows Vista). Windows 7 Ultimate's equivalent in the Windows 10 world is Windows 10 Professional - Correct?

Windows 10 Pro has significantly less IT pro type features - features that I need. The only feature I don;t use is Bitlocker, but group policies and many other features are currently only available in Windows 10 Enterprise? Right?
 

jpishgar

VP, Global Community
Hey there all!

Much obliged for keeping this on topic, and keeping comments civil. Our community is encouraged to offer alternatives, and in some cases as has occurred in the past, the content presented in an article will run counter to the consensus provided by residents of the forum. Many here have offered strong opinions that provide point and counterpoint to the subject matter being discussed, and principled policy presented has been that "Caveat Emptor" is the prevailing wisdom when purchasing software from third parties. I expect there will likely always be differences of opinion on the matter, and appreciate the open, lively discussion on the topic so long as we refrain from impugning the motives of others, dealing in mutual respect.

-JP
 
Aug 3, 2018
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The last MS OS I will use is Win7X64. Win10 is like malware with a built-in key logger, etc. Its design is not for productivity but for massive time wasting. Linux is the future, not Windows.
 

AJB1973

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Carefull!!! Not all of this is completely true. 1. Just because you can use Windows without putting in a valid license doesn't make it legal!! Microsoft specifically states in the activation that it is NOT legal to use their product without a proper license. Also, you can't just take a license from one machine and put it on another. That ONLY holds true for specific licenses like RETAIL licenses. Most people don't buy retail because of the additional cost. They buy OEM licenses. Much cheaper but NON-TRANSFERABLE!!! Once loaded on a specific macchine the license key cannot be put on another system. Then you have Volume and Enterprise licensing which go by a whole new set of rules. This article is terribly written and very misleading. I really am shocked that Tom's Hardware has put this article out.
 

jimmysmitty

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@tanyac that's not correct. Enterprise has a few features above pro like Cloud Activation, App virtualization (App-V), more Defender features and a few more but Pro is still a business class OS and has all the normal IT features like local group policy, domain abilities etc.

We use Pro at my work and we have no issues doing anything IT related on it.

Home or just Windows 10 is the one with less IT/business related features.
 

USAFRet

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Group Policy, joining a Domain, BitLocker...all available with Win 10 Pro.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/compare
 

Darkbreeze

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Yes, you can. So long as it's not an OEM license, which is exactly what I said. If this wasn't "Microsoft approved" they wouldn't have made it that way. THEY are the ones that implemented the "digital entitlement" policy that allows you to register your license to your Microsoft account in order to move it to a new machine if you need to.

If you still want to disagree, I suggest you contact Microsoft and tell them they are wrong about their own policy.
 

kyotokid

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..why would I ever want to put an OS that demands I receive force fed updates which I have no control or say over whether I want or need them, does not let me check for bugs that may hamstring my system, and is bloated with "features" I don't need and are difficult to disable without the risk of compromising basic functionality? I wouldn't even do that were it free (and I didn't when it was).
 
Aug 4, 2018
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I had to buy their $40 key because I had too many installs with the same key. MS "forced" install of creators update killed my motherboard causing me to change MoBo to an old one, when I then tried to install a new one that I bought for replacement. This amounts to "ransomware" from MS! I then had to travel to an MS store to get the install to work on my new hardware. I still had to do a new install which wiped out a lot of my programs and data. Needless to say I was very unhappy with MS. All this was with legal licenses bought from MS. Even when you pay full price and then some from MS you can run into endless problems.
 

WINTERLORD

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you can usually buy one for like 15$ through bonanza is how i got my pro edition works wonderfully. have used it for couple years now even changed hardware a few times for windows 10 x64 pro
 

shrapnel_indie

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caveat emptor
 

shrapnel_indie

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One method NOT covered by the article involves one thing that you may or may not be: A Student at a participating school.

Participating schools (usually tied to a program/degree) can have a deal worked out that will allow you to get up to Win10 Education free or for low cost. Possibly older OSes and other Microsoft Applications too... 100% legal.... usually fulfilled by DreamSpark.
 

Darkbreeze

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No version of windows has ever KILLED a motherboard. It doesn't work that way. Borked driver support for it? Maybe, but doubtful since that would mean for practically any chipset version that thousands of people would all have the same problem, but KILLED? No, that didn't happen. It was either something you did or it was a normal failure that just happened to be coincidental. If there were any changes to the operating system that were able to kill a motherboard, then every person using a motherboard with a chipset like yours would have all had the same problem, and they didn't.
 

Darkbreeze

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So did everybody else that had more than simply browsing capabilities in their toolkit. It's not that it wasn't known. It's just that it wasn't recommended. It takes a LOT of resources to develop and support Windows and all of the peripheral applications. If you want to use it, you should support it.

Nobody cries and complains when they buy a new car and the monthly bill arrives. You expect to pay for getting something of value in return. If you think Windows isn't something of value, use Linux for a while.
 

uglyduckling81

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It is the same PC in that I no longer use the old one. It's not a separate PC using the same key, meaning a double use of the key. It's the same PC "from a certain point of view".
 

uglyduckling81

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I have 3 licences all Win8 upgrades attached to my account. I can see them when I'm trying to activate but it just refuses to work. I know I can install Win8 then upgrade to 10 and it works that way but honestly I'm sick of doing it that way so I've started battling the call centre hoping for a solution. They offered me a reasonable solution, being a cheaper copy, and I took it.
 

USAFRet

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From the point of view of the OS and licensing, changing the motherboard is a whole new and different PC.
 

blackbird1001

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Buying on Ebay (Win10Pro) for 4-6 $, get license 5 to 10 min.
It is typical volume license, or used. But they work and it is fully legal in the EU.

Micosoft and others may not prevent reuse or sale of software through other licenses.

If they try it, so I dare fine to Google, will be called small.

In the EU, you can also get the money for your License, which comes with a new PC, if you want to use another OS.
 

khoughton

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I have been using Kinguin for years and have never had a bad license. They are also good for Steam games at a discount price.
 

Darkbreeze

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Lot's of people use intravenous drugs and don't die from it either. Doesn't mean it can't or doesn't happen. It does, and that too is something that should be avoided.

You can play Russian roulette for a while and not catch a bullet but eventually a persons time will run out and when it does, it's likely they'll be here crying about it. We literally have hundreds of threads of this nature where people have been shafted buying from a variety of these gray area key reseller sites. Your example of one does not change the fact that it's not just a bad idea from the standpoint that you might get ripped off but it also compounds the problem of organizations that steal these keys from the legitimate owners and then resell them online. Too much to really go into here, but suffice to say if you are buying stereo systems from somebody in the Walmart parking lot out of the back of their truck you are in essence probably supporting several levels of some kind of crime organization.

Are they all stolen? No, of course not. Are many of them? Yes, of course they are.
 

Tanyac

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Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that in Windows 7 world it went starter - Pro - Ultimate - Enterprise, and that each version had more features than the one below it.

But having done a lot of reading on this over the last week, there are several limitations on Pro compared to Enterprise (Such as Telemetry and Update configurations). And since I can't buy Enterprise as an individual, I'm better off sticking to Windows 7.

On the topic of licensing though, and please forgive me if I'm drifting a little off topic here;

I came across an organization that upgraded their Windows 7 laptops to Windows 10 Home. There were so many problems (like updating in the middle of a work time - And their work hours are from 8am to 11pm, driver issues and instability they went back to Windows 7 after about 6 months.

They now run all 20+ laptops with Windows 7 in an unactivated state (So the non genuine watermark appears on the screen).

Is this legal? Is there any licensing scenario where Microsoft allows customers to downgrade Windows after such a long period and leave them not activated (I gather they can't activate because their keys have been upgraded to Windows 10??)


 

USAFRet

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Talk to the right sales rep from Microsoft, anything is 'possible'.
This may involve more money.

And "updating in the middle of a work time" ? That's simply mismanagement from their IT person.
 

Tanyac

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Wow! Would not have thought that to be legal, or at least Ethical. They are a local community Basketball Association. So big VL's are out of the question.



You got that right! They can't even figure out how to configure/disable Windows Error reporting, uninstall bloatware or get printers working with them

The laptops are used to score basketball games, and each venue has an administrate laptop. They are used all day and night then locked away overnight.

Well, I'll say no more about the licensing. May be they did do it legally..
 
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