Let us start off by making one thing crystal clear! Microsoft stopped giving free Windows 10 upgrade in July 2016, exactly one year after the launch of Windows 10.
However, there was an exception, and some Windows users have had the choice to upgrade to Windows 10 for free all along; post-July 2016. Microsoft has quietly updated its website stating that this cohort of users who have been having the option of free upgrade to Windows 10 have until December 31st, 2017 to enjoy that exemption. After that, everyone will have to purchase the Windows 10 key to upgrade to a genuine copy of the operating system.
Who had the option of Free Windows 10 Upgrade post-July 21 2016?
At the time of the launch of Windows 10 back in July 2015, the OS lacks special accessibility features needed by users with special needs. This group of Windows users could therefore not upgrade in the immediate months following the first Windows 10 release. That also means they could not take advantage of the free Windows 10 Upgrade promotion Microsoft was running until July 2016.
While there have been some subsequent Windows 10 Updates released since the initial release back in July 2016. Microsoft has kept the option open for users with special needs who for one reason or the other did not take up that free upgrade opportunity. As the company has updated (albeit quietly) on its site, that option will come to an end at the end of this year.
Did the Free Window 10 Upgrade bear fruits?
As to the effectiveness of that free upgrade promotion, one would say it was not as impressive as Microsoft had hoped. Given Windows 7 is still the most popular Windows OS out there, with a market share of 46.6%.
As at November 2015, Windows 10 market share stood at 9%, and by October 2017, it rose to 29.3%. So one cannot say the free Windows 10 Upgrade window by Microsoft bore as much fruit as they expected. Windows 7 still proves to appeal better to the masses.