In spite of the official end of the free Windows 10 update offer on July 29, it seems any valid Windows 7/8.x retail product key still installs Windows 10 for now.
Yes, Microsoft officials insisted and insisted again that after July 29 at 11:59 p.m. UTC, the free Windows 10 upgrade offer would end.
But it didn't -- at least not completely.
The Get Windows 10 (GWX) promotions seem to have ended. But I've heard from several Windows users that they've been able to take advantage of the free Windows 10 update using their older Windows 7/8.X product keys after July 29.
Users have been able to both kick off and activate Windows 10 on machines where they've previously installed Windows 10, as well as on machines where they've never installed Windows 10 using their Windows 7/8.X product keys.
My ZDNet colleague Ed Bott mentioned in passing in an updated post about Windows 10 that he also was able to get Windows 10 for free after July 29 using a never-used Windows 7 Ultimate product key. Paul Thurrott of Thurrott.com also noted last week that he still was able to get Windows 10 for free using an existing product key.
While some have noted that Microsoft isn't restricting Windows 7 and 8.X users -- whether legitimately or not -- from continuing to have access to Windows 10 via the company's assistive technology offer, this key loophole is different.
I asked Microsoft why the Windows 10 free upgrade offer seemingly has not ended completely as announced. A spokesperson, reiterating that the Windows 10 free upgrade offer has ended, provided the following statement today:
"Users upgrading their PC for the first time will need to enter a Windows 10 product key. Users who've previously installed Windows 10 on their PC should activate successfully with a digital entitlement when reinstalling Windows 10 on that PC."
So it seems Windows users who have not yet updated to Windows 10 can still use any valid Windows 7/8.x retail product key to install Windows 10 as of now on any PC...