Windows 10 upgrade paths get more detailed

It seems that Microsoft has settled on a new strategy involving Windows 10 announcements, leaving them in tiny bits and pieces all over the place, like breadcrumbs we have to follow, pick up and piece together ourselves. Of course, until we finally get the full picture, there will always be holes in our knowledge, questions left unanswered. The latest crumbs seem to be the upgrade path for existing Windows users, courtesy of Microsoft's Australia Partner Network. But while it does clarify some scenarios, it still leaves us scratching our heads in others, especially when Windows 10 Mobile is concerned.

The gist of the message is that Windows 10 will be free for some Windows 7 and 8 and Windows Phone users, but not all, for a year from its launch. Working from that, there are a few finer details to be made, summarized in this list:

• Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate and Windows 8 and 8.1 Pro – Windows 10 Pro

• Windows 7 Home Basic and Home Premium and Windows 8 and 8.1. – Windows 10 Home

• Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 8 and 8.1 Enterprise – there is no direct upgrade path when volume licenses are involved. Upgrading Windows 10 will most likely involve updates to subscriptions, which may or may not involve money.

These leaves a few corner cases still unaccounted for. Windows XP and Vista owners are unlikely to get a free ride, not unless they've upgraded already to the latest versions above before Windows 10 launches. Those who build their own boxes are also left out of the party, as the free upgrade only covers, well, upgrades, and not new installations. As for pirates, well, they already know where they stand. All of these will require buying a brand new Windows 10 license.

The biggest question mark is still Windows 10 Mobile. This particular free upgrade is covered in the same one-year time limit, which is strange for a smartphone update. Microsoft has indicated that it will be more hands on in rolling out updates to its smartphoens, but apparently, carriers are still part of the whole flow. In the mobile industry, that means uncountable delays, which could take the Windows 10 Mobile update beyond its free period.

VIA: Ars Technica