Microsoft has announced that it wants people who use assistive technologies to be able to upgrade to use the new accessibility features in Windows 10’s Anniversary Update. In the Anniversary Update, the Narrator screen reader is improved and new applications like the Edge browser, Cortana, and Mail offer improved accessibility features. Windows users who use assistive technologies (like the narrator, on-screen keyboard, or high contrast desktop theme) may not have wanted to upgrade before these improvements were made.
This free upgrade works just like Windows 10’s previous upgrade offer. In fact, it seems to be the exact same upgrade tool. Upgrading gives your PC a “digital license” (formerly a “digital entitlement”) that allows you to install and use Windows 10 on that PC, even after the free upgrade offer ends for new upgraders.
By downloading the upgrade tool and taking advantage of the free upgrade, you’re asserting that you use assistive technologies. However, Microsoft isn’t checking if you have assistive technologies enabled before you’re allowed to upgrade. It’s more of an “honor system” kind of deal.
How to Upgrade to Windows 10 from the Accessibility Page
The free upgrade offer is simple. To get Windows 10, you’ll just have to visit the “Windows 10 free upgrade for customers who use assistive technologies” page and download the upgrade tool. Like the previous free upgrade offer, this only works if your computer is currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. (If you’re using Windows 8, you can get a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 and then upgrade to Windows 10.)
Click the “Upgrade Now” button and the page will download the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant program. Run it and you’ll be prompted to agree to the license agreement before continuing.
This seems to be the same free upgrade tool that was made available to the general public as part of the earlier free upgrade offer. Click through the wizard and it will check that your hardware is compatible before automatically downloading and upgrading to Windows 10.
Once the upgrade is complete, your PC will be running Windows 10 and will have a “digital license” that lets you reinstall Windows 10 at any point in the future.
If you upgrade to Windows 10 and decide that you’d like to downgrade later, you can roll back to Windows 7 or 8.1 at any time within the first 30 days. Your PC will still have a digital license, so you can upgrade that computer at any point in the future–even after this free upgrade offer ends.
This probably won’t last forever. However, Microsoft says it will issue a public announcement before the upgrade offer ends.