Can't upgrade your laptop to Windows 10? Microsoft will give you one for free*

Yes, there are strings attached.

Can't upgrade your laptop to Windows 10? Microsoft will give you one for free*

With two weeks left before Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 comes to a close, the company is pulling out its biggest gimmick yet. Its latest offer is that they’ll give you a free Dell Inspiron 15 laptop if they can’t update your laptop to Windows 10 with same-day service.

And yes, there are some strings. Quite a few. First, your trade-in PC needs to be compatible with Windows 10 in the first place. That should cut out a lot of lame old PCs from the mix. If you don’t have a compatible system, you can earn $150 to the purchase of a new PC.

Second, you have to turn over your laptop at a company retail store by noon on the day the service is to be performed, and not all retail outlets are participating. The store does the upgrade for you, and if they cannot get Windows 10 running on your laptop, you get the Inspiron.

The fine print

Microsoft is not stupid. The fine print on the trade-in information page makes it clear what you need to qualify: The laptop has to work. It must power on; hold a battery charge; not require a wall charger to operate; be fully functional; and be in working order without broken/missing components, cracked display/housing, liquid damage, modification(s) or have the device warranty seal broken. You have to remove your password, you must have the original chargers/accessories, the device must contain hard drive, and—this is the kicker—it must be running Windows 8 or newer.

So, that clunky old Dell laptop from circa-2005 with XP sitting in your closet? Leave it there.

It’s not clear if this offer applies to desktops because Microsoft uses the term "PC," but then makes numerous references to laptop performance, like the battery holding a charge. And most desktop users stick to the desktop form factor for upgrades and have a separate laptop for travel. At least, I do.

The deal runs until July 29, just like Microsoft's free OS upgrade. It's actually been going on for a few weeks, but I only now just heard about it.

* If you qualify.

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