Windows 10 is a drastic change for users, especially those still running Windows 7, with one of the biggest hidden changes being that you can get a completely legitimate copy directly from Microsoft for free.
When it came time to update my movie server, I tested a couple of different Windows versions via VirtualBox and surprisingly found Windows 10 to be the fastest, even though it was a beta copy. With speed being my number one priority, I figured I would spend $100-$120 and purchase a copy of Windows 10, after all, that had been just about the universal cost of the latest Windows version since I can recall (and I started on Windows 3.1 for WorkGroups).
Instead of paying full price, a friend told me that I could purchase it from a site like Kinguin. However, the drawback was that if the key is/was reported stolen, I would be left with a copy that I need to repurchase a key anyway.
So instead, I started looking at the different versions of Windows 10 that were offered and was shocked to find that Microsoft is actually giving away 100% legitimate copies. Now you’re thinking, “Yes, this was the upgrade program, after all, 99.99% of the Google searches will tell you this,” but after hours spent reading, I actually found out that even though the free upgrade program is complete, you are still able to download a completely working copy of Windows 10 directly from Microsoft.
To get started, head to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO. Here, you will download the ISO file.
One thing to note about this site is that, as of today, I did have the issue where, if I visited the page on a current Windows build, I could not get the site to progress, leaving me without the ability to download.
A workaround for this was to use an extension – User-Agent Switcher – to make the browser think I wasn’t on a desktop browser but instead a mobile device.
Now that the download is complete (or while you’re waiting), you will also want to download their ISO to USB tool, which is available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10/. This tool will automatically create a bootable USB installation device.
One of the biggest questions I initially had was, “What are the underlying differences in editions, and what will this free version not do?” For the average user, the differences are surprisingly hard to find. In fact, most users won’t be able to tell a difference at all. It definitely makes sense of why this knowledge of the completely free version is a little-known gold mine – the amount of sales and direct revenue from Windows sales would almost completely vanish if Windows users no longer needed to purchase their operating systems with each new revision.