Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expired on July 29. Windows 10 Home currently costs $120, Windows 10 Pro costs $200 and upgrading from Windows 10 Home to Pro costs $100. Enterprise customers pay by volume pricing.
Back in January of 2015, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson revealed that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for those using Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1. These customers will be able to get the upcoming operating system for free within one year after its release.
Myerson also branded Windows 10 as a “Windows-As-A-Service” platform given that it will be kept current for its supported lifetime. That’s a big step for Microsoft and good news for small businesses. Unfortunately, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not part of the free Windows 10 upgrade program.
“Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise are not included in the terms of free Windows 10 Upgrade offer we announced last week, given active Software Assurance customers will continue to have rights to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer – while also benefiting from the full flexibility to deploy Windows 10 using their existing management infrastructure,” wrote Microsoft’s Jim Alkove in a recent Windows blog update.
Alkove went on to explain that with Windows 10, the company is taking a new approach to enterprise customers called “Current Branch for Business” and “Long-Term Servicing Branch.” For the latter, businesses can receive enterprise-level support by way of critical updates and the latest security fixes, but their Windows 10 devices will not automatically retrieve new features within the next five years after the platform’s release.
As for “Current Branch for Business,” businesses can install new features after they’re released to consumers and tested for compatibility on Windows 10 devices. Meanwhile, said devices will receive security updates as they’re released by Microsoft.
“This gives IT departments time to start validating updates in their environments the day changes are shipped broadly to consumers, or in some cases earlier, if they have users enrolled in the Windows Insider Program,” Alkove said. “By the time Current branch for Business machines are updated, the changes will have been validated by millions of Insiders, consumers and customers’ internal test processes for several months, allowing updates to be deployed with this increased assurance of validation.”
Alkove added that businesses can choose to get their Windows 10 updates through WSUS, which will allow IT departments to manually distribute features, or automatically through Windows Update.
Towards the end of the post, Alkove said that the first Windows 10 Long Term Servicing branch will be released alongside the consumer version of Windows 10 later this summer. He also expects to see businesses take a “mixed” approach in how Windows 10 devices will be kept current. Different users and systems will likely have different update schedules.
Businesses are encouraged to join the Windows Insider Program, download the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview, and provide feedback.