6 Things To Know If You Don't Take The Windows 10 Free Upgrade

Eleventh Hour

For businesses and consumers that haven't yet taken Microsoft's free upgrade to Windows 10 from earlier versions, chances are good it's just not going to happen at this point. Windows Pro or Home users -- whose devices are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 -- are eligible to get the free upgrade until July 29 (this Friday).

So, we decided it would be worth taking a look at what the implications will be for turning up your nose at Microsoft's offer. What are users who don't want to enter the Windows 10 universe in for, exactly? Here are six key things to know.

How Long You'll Be Able To Secure Your PC With Windows 7 Or 8.1

For users running Windows 7 or 8.1, it'll still be awhile before Microsoft will stop offering security patches. For the popular Windows 7, security updates will continue to be made until Jan. 13, 2020. Windows 8.1 will have until Jan. 10, 2023.

The Real Life Span Of Your Windows 7 And 8.1 License

Yes, while security patches will continue for Windows 7 and 8.1, the ability to use the operating systems on new devices may not. Intel's upcoming generation of Core microprocessors, known as Kaby Lake, will only support one Windows platform -- Windows 10. Kaby Lake processors began shipping to PC manufacturers this month.

What It'll Cost To Upgrade Later

In the event you end up feeling remorse at the decision to turn down the free upgrade, you won't be shut out of Windows 10 land forever, of course. But you'll have to pay an entry fee -- $199 for Windows 10 Pro and $119 for Windows 10 Home.

How To Maintain Peace Of Mind

For users who don't take the free upgrade, here's the good news: Everything that works today on your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC will continue working when you wake up Saturday. Compatibility issues have dogged some users with upgrading to Windows 10, especially for users with older machines, according to some solution providers. It's worth noting that Windows 10 is "designed to be compatible with the majority of devices and apps that are currently available," according to Microsoft -- there's certainly no promise that everything will work.

"Why cause a problem [by upgrading an older device]?" Joe Balsarotti, president of St. Peters, Mo.-based Microsoft partner Software To Go, told CRN previously. "The problem just doesn't need to be there."

You'll Miss Out On Some Security Features By Not Upgrading

A boost to security is one of the biggest selling points around Windows 10, with plenty of benefits for users whoupgrade. Those include two-factor authentication (through Microsoft Passport), enhanced protection against brute-force attacks and BitLocker encryption for drives.

Mobility-Focused Users Will Miss Out On Some Additional Benefits By Not Upgrading

Windows 10 "also gives you the ability to have the same interface on a phone, tablet, laptop and desktop, and to move seamlessly across them," said David Barter, practice director for Microsoft technologies at Kittery, Maine-based GreenPages Technology Solutions. "The real power of Windows 10 is I get one experience, one area of access to all of my data, and it doesn't matter" which device is being used, Barter said.