Users can still upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free – despite the official free upgrade period ending in July 2016.
An exploit exists which allows users to upgrade to Windows 10 by manipulating their device’s system clock, and there is reportedly a reason that workarounds like this are still possible.
“After the cut off happened, the direction given was that it requires a paid license however, this was brought up by the brick and mortar stores that they were doing simple clock changes on customer devices during the upgrade challenge to get around it,” said a Reddit user who claimed to be a Microsoft employee.
According to this user, Windows doesn’t care about this exploit because former Microsoft VP Terry Meyerson cared more about upgrade statistics than licence revenue as Windows “isn’t Microsoft’s cash cow anymore”.
“It’s the same stance back in the day where Microsoft would allow Windows Updates on pirated copies of Windows 7 as the bigger picture was to thwart security threats based from those copies.”
However, the user warned that users should be careful when upgrading using this method, as if they choose to start their installation from fresh, they will lose their free upgrade.
Windows 10 has become more popular than Windows 7 in recent months, largely due to the impending end to Windows 7 support on 14 January 2020.
Continuing to use Windows 7 after this deadline will leave users exposed to a number of potential security risks.