For the first year of Windows 10's availability, the operating system was offered as a free upgrade for anyone running a consumer version of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. To advertise this unusual offer, the company pushed an update known as "Get Windows 10" to users of those operating systems in a move that proved more than a little contentious. The promotion used some shady techniques to trick people into upgrading to Windows 10. The Get Windows 10 software, however, has finally been purged from user systems. Mary Jo Foley spotted that a patch shipped yesterday, KB3184143, which removes the Get Windows 10 promotional software. Broadly speaking, the Get Windows 10 program seems to have been successful. Windows 10's uptake was unprecedented for a Windows release, with more than 350 million people now using the operating system—a number that hasn't been updated for several weeks. We hope to hear more at Microsoft's Ignite conference in Atlanta next week. The manner in which the program was operated, however, became increasingly underhanded; toward the end of the promotion, the ads felt straight-up deceptive, as they performed the upgrade even if you clicked the X to dismiss the window. That 350 million users number undoubtedly includes some number of Windows users who wanted to stick with Windows 7 or 8.1 but were tricked into upgrading.
The removal of the software isn't going to undo the reputational harm that Microsoft deliberately caused itself with the aggressive upgrade tactics, but it should at least provide some reassurance that Windows 7 or 8.1 will never again try to push a major update.
That promotion officially ended on July 30, and, for the most part, the advertisements stopped at around that time, too. Needless to say, for all the complaints about the aggression of the upgrade offer before the cut-off, we heard from many people who still wanted a little more time to upgrade and were concerned about being cut off.
If you still want to make the switch, it seems you're in luck, because it's not clear that the free upgrade program has truly ended. Paul Thurrott has been testing the use of Windows 7 or 8.1 serial numbers to install and activate Windows 10, and he reports that they continue to work. They may cease working at some point, but they haven't yet... so if you missed the free upgrade period but still want to switch to Windows 10, it seems that you still have time to do so.
the one hand, removing the Get Windows 10 app suggests that Microsoft may be winding down the program completely and that the days of using Windows 7 and 8.1 keys with Windows 10 are drawing to a close. On the other hand, the free upgrade program continues to run for anyone using assistive software such as screen readers. There's no formal end date yet for this alternative upgrade scheme, and there appears to be zero enforcement of the assistive technology requirement, so anyone willing to lie has easy access to the Windows 10 upgrade if they want it.