Microsoft has officially put an end to the long-standing practice of allowing Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11 for free.
Despite an announcement last month that it was discontinuing this option, some users continued to report success in activating Windows 11 with their Windows 7 and Windows 8 keys. However, as of October 11, Microsoft has now closed this loophole once and for all.
The Move Marks the End of an Era
The journey began in 2015 when Microsoft first introduced the free operating system upgrade initiative alongside the launch of Windows 10. Users of Windows 7 and Windows 8 were given a one-year window to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost.
However, due to a workaround involving the Microsoft Accessibility Site, this period of free upgrades was extended by two years and continued to stretch further. Now, eight years later, Microsoft has officially halted the free upgrade path from Windows 7/8 to Windows 11.
A Change of Policy
The new policy initially announced last month meant that users with Windows 7 or Windows 8 keys would no longer be able to activate Windows 11.
Users who have previously upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 11 will not face any issues moving forward because their activation status remains unchanged. Windows 10 users can still upgrade to Windows 11 for free.
In essence, Microsoft has now closed the curtain on a significant era by discontinuing the free upgrade route from Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 11.
From now on, users with devices running Windows 7 or 8 who plan to upgrade to Windows 11 will need to purchase an official Windows 11 activation key, as the previous workaround is no longer valid.