In an effort to convince the entire world to make the upgrade to Windows 10—or at least every Windows user—Microsoft offered the OS as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 users for the first year, and then continued to offer it for free through its assistive technologies page. Customers who user assistive technologies can still upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, as well as anyone else (more on that in a second), at least for now. Come late December, the free ride will be over. Maybe.
As it stands, the assistive technologies pages lists an expiration date of December 31, 2017. That will be the last day users will be able to upgrade for free, unless Microsoft changes its mind between now and then and extends the deadline (again), or simply neglects to flip the switch. However, we would not count on that.
"If you use assistive technologies, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost as Microsoft continues our efforts to improve the Windows 10 experience for people who use these technologies. Please take advantage of this offer before it expires on December 31, 2017," Microsoft states.
Technically the free upgrade through the assistive technologies portal is intended for people with disabilities who cannot use a PC in a conventional manner, and who use the accessibility features built into Windows 10, Microsoft has been improving on these over time, as well as adding better tools and resources for developers.
"With more than a billion people with disabilities in the world, we are excited for customers to experience the new accessibility features in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update," Microsoft said a blog post last year. "These include improving the screen reading experience with Narrator, the accessibility of experiences and apps like Microsoft Edge, Mail and the Start menu, as well as better tools and resources for developers to build more accessible apps and experiences."
Microsoft implementation has been based on the honor rule. That means anyone could head to the portal and upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost, whether they use assistive technologies or not. Microsoft toyed with the idea of closing the page down last year, and requiring that users with disabilities to call into its support system to obtain the free upgrade, but the page is still up.
In any event, the deadline to use the assistive technologies page to upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost will close in a couple of months. It is not clear if users with disabilities will be able to call Microsoft support after that time and still be able to upgrade for free, or if that will be the end of the line.