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Microsoft will give you a new laptop if it can’t upgrade your system to Windows 10

There’s less than two weeks before Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expires and the company is pulling out all the stops to encourage people to update. The company’s latest offer is that they’ll give you a free Inspiron 15 laptop from Dell if they can’t update your laptop to Windows 10 with same-day service.

As you might imagine, there are some caveats to the offer. First of all, your PC needs to be compatible with Windows 10 in the first place. If you don’t have a compatible system, you can earn $150 to the purchase of a new PC. PCs must be turned over to the company by noon on the day the service is to be performed, and apparently not all retail outlets are participating, so check with your local Windows Store beforehand.

Those of you thinking of walking in with an ancient Compaq Presario and claiming $150 to the purchase of a new Dell should be advised that there are additional caveats attached to this as well. Microsoft’s fine print reads:

To be eligible for trade-in, you must own the qualifying device, device must power on, battery must hold charge and not be required to be plugged in to operate, and be in fully functional, wor king condition without broken/missing components, cracked display/housing, liquid damage, modification(s) or have device warranty seal broken to be considered working. Cannot be password protected, and include original chargers/accessories. Must contain hard drive. Devices must be running Windows 8 or newer. (Emphasis added).

This last requirement is going to ensure that the majority of customers can’t qualify for upgrades on older systems. The only Windows 8 laptops that wouldn’t qualify for Windows 10 would be some old Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 X2 designs that didn’t implement the CMPXCHG16B instruction, which performed an atomic compare-and-exchange between 16-byte values; systems that lack this instruction would have failed a Windows 8.1 upgrade with a “You can’t install Windows 8.1 because your processor doesn’t support CompareExchange128” message. AMD’s share of the notebook market at this time was extremely small, however, which means very few systems of this era were built. Similarly, some older Intel Core 2 Duo motherboards didn’t support CMPXCHG16B, either (the CPUs of the era supported it, the motherboards didn’t). Again, these systems would predate Windows 8 itself by several years.

Finally, Microsoft will give you a $20 discount on Office 365, which doesn’t make Office 365 any less of a terrible deal compared to buying a copy of Office in the vast majority of circumstances. And apparently there’s an opportunity at some stores to win an Xbox One, though you have to inquire about the details at the store, in-person.

It’s not clear if Microsoft’s offer applies only to laptops, or if desktops are also eligible. The text of the offer refers only to “PCs,” but the fine print notes that the battery must hold a charge and the system can’t require a wall plug to operate. This would seem to imply that the offer is mobile-only. If you decide to take Microsoft up on the option, let us know how it goes in the comments below.

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