Enter to win our Surface Book with the Anniversary Update installed, and other ways you can still get Windows 10 for free

Kip Kniskern

There’s just over a week left in our Surface Book giveaway contest, so if you haven’t entered (it’s easy!), time is running out. This brand new Core i5 Surface book comes with a 128GB drive and 8GB RAM, and will have you loving Windows 10 in no time. Here’s our favorite way to get the Anniversary Update:

Win our free Surface Book

We’re giving away a brand new Surface Book just for following us or tweeting a message on Twitter, or visiting our Facebook page, it couldn’t get much easier than that. You must be a US resident with a valid US postal address, but that about covers the rules. Here are the details, so enter now, the contest ends on midnight EDT on August 16th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

But even if you don’t win our Surface Book, it’s not too late to upgrade to Windows 10 and the Anniversary Update, even though Microsoft’s free offer ended on July 29th. Here’s how

Check your Digital entitlement

If you tried Windows 10 anytime in the year it’s been available, even if you rolled back or wiped your hard drive and started over with a new clean Windows 7 or 8.x install, you may still have reserved yourself a free upgrade. Microsoft has changed the way it activates Windows licenses beginning with Windows 10, and “digital entitlement” stores a special hash associated with your Microsoft account and linked to hardware on your machine. Once you install Windows 10 and log in with your Microsoft account, that hash is stored, and your machine is “entitled” to Windows 10.
So if you tried Windows 10 when it first came out, and reverted back, you may still be able to upgrade that machine to the Anniversary Update for free, provided you logged in with a Microsoft account.
All you have to do is install Windows 10, log in, and your machine should complete the activation process.

Try a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license key

A number of users are reporting that entering a valid Windows 7 or 8.1 license key works when installing Windows 10, even after the July 29th cutoff date. Simply enter the key when prompted early in the upgrade process, and your computer should activate, unless and until Microsoft closes this loophole.

Use the Accessibility program free upgrade process

While Microsoft has ended the free upgrade program, it’s left a pretty wide open back door. The company is providing free upgrades to anyone needing or using accessibility features, and this is a great offer for those who are vision or hearing impaired, or otherwise have accessibility issues. In fact, Microsoft is making it clear that it isn’t going to place a lot of restrictions on the offer:

We are not restricting the free upgrade offer to specific assistive technologies. If you use assistive technology on Windows, you are eligible for the free upgrade offer.

The thing is, the list of those issues is pretty long and inclusive, even to the point of including the use of keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl-C (copy) or Ctrl-V (paste). That’s right, if you’ve ever copy/pasted using keyboard shortcuts, you’ve used some of Microsoft’s accessibility features and are eligible for a free upgrade. Microsoft does mention that the offer may end, so if you really need a way to get a free upgrade, this may be it.

Turn back your clock

Recently we posted on another way to get the free upgrade, and that’s to “fool” the upgrade process by setting your computer’s clock to sometime before the end of the free offer (on July 29th). If you’re so inclined, you can follow our instructions and see if this method still works.

While Microsoft has ended the official free upgrade path for Windows 10, it’s still fairly easy to upgrade if you haven’t already, and it’s just as easy to enter our contest and win a Surface Book with Windows 10 Anniversary Update already installed!