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Operating Systems Windows Microsoft Security Software Build News Technology

'UpgradeSubscription.exe' File In Preview Build Hints At Windows 10 Subscriptions (zdnet.com) 285

An anonymous reader writes: A file named "UpgradeSubscription.exe" is found buried in the System32 folder of Windows 10 build 14376, alongside 590 other .exe files. ZDNet reports the file has been part of other recent preview builds, but just recently uncovered. "In the file's properties, it's described as the Windows Upgrade to Subscription Tool, and its date and time stamp corresponds to other administrative tools in the same build," reports ZDNet. You can view the screenshot here. Microsoft responded to ZDNet saying: "The Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool, found in the latest Windows Insider builds, helps to manage certain volume licensing upgrades from Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Enterprise. This binary file is not associated with the free consumer upgrade offering nor is it applicable to consumer Windows editions." When pressed for additional details, Microsoft responded with, "No further comment." While the file does nothing, it does appear to confirm that it's related to licensing, referencing a registry value called AllowWindowsSubscription. Build 14376 reveals a few references to servicing packages named Microsoft-Client-License-Platform-Upgrade-Subscription-Package. Last year, there was some talk about Windows 10 being the last version of Windows as Microsoft is pushing a "Windows as a service" vision. When news broke in April about Windows Phone's sharp revenue declines, PCWorld reported that CEO Satya Nadella's strategy is to grow Microsoft's revenues by convincing customers to adopt its paid subscription services.
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'UpgradeSubscription.exe' File In Preview Build Hints At Windows 10 Subscriptions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:10PM (#52423411)

    Welcome the Windows refugees with open arms.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:11PM (#52423415)

    The first one is always free.

    Suckers.

    • Exactly! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by p51d007 ( 656414 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:18PM (#52423473)
      That's what I've been saying since 10 was announced as a "free" upgrade from 7/8. Soon as they get enough people updated, via hook or crook, they'll adopt a PAID subscription. Adobe did it. On one had, it's not a bad business model, as you can pretty much know what your revenue stream from month to month, year to year will be, but, as with Adobe Photoshop, I'll just hang onto CC6 for a while longer.
      • but, as with Adobe Photoshop, I'll just hang onto CC6 for a while longer.

        So would I, if it supported enough, but sadly it doesn't, so we're on Adobe CC...

        We need proper 4k support and some of the modern tools that CS6 lacks...

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          "We need proper 4k support"

          Proper '4k' support has been in Photoshop since the 90s. I've worked with imagery 2x-4x that resolution since the days when JASC's Paint Shop Pro was actual competition.

          "some of the modern tools that CS6 lacks"

          Almost everything Photoshop does is lock-step with what GIMP does (GIMP had picture healing and other features first.) How about you get used to a new UI and go with something free?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Proper '4k' support has been in Photoshop since the 90s

            If you used your brain rather than try and be snarky, you'd know I was talking about Premiere, since that is the only program where "proper 4k support" makes any sense...

            How about you get used to a new UI and go with something free?

            GIMP sucks... it really does... it is fine for cheap people who want a free tool, but it is no Photoshop...

      • It was a "free upgrade" to a paid service. Such a deal!

        "You know that thing you have that you use all the time? Well, we've got an even shittier one that you'll have to pay for, but we'll let you upgrade to it for free!"

        • Re:Exactly! (Score:5, Informative)

          by ReeceTarbert ( 893612 ) on Friday July 01, 2016 @07:12AM (#52425549)

          It was a "free upgrade" to a paid service. Such a deal!

          What part of

          "The Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool, found in the latest Windows Insider builds, helps to manage certain volume licensing upgrades from Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Enterprise. This binary file is not associated with the free consumer upgrade offering nor is it applicable to consumer Windows editions."

          Did you miss?

          I know, picking on Microsoft is still popular, even rightly so at times, and they might as well be lying or maybe tell the truth now and make a 360 later on, but still...

          RT.

          • What part of
            "The Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool, found in the latest Windows Insider builds, helps to manage certain volume licensing upgrades from Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Enterprise. This binary file is not associated with the free consumer upgrade offering nor is it applicable to consumer Windows editions."
            Did you miss?

            The part where they're apparently going to start charging users for the "free" upgrade. Yeah, that part.

            Let's watch and see if Microsoft doesn't start charging people for Windows 10. I bet they do. It's always been their Holy Grail Wet Dream of business models to have their customers paying by the month. FFS, look at Outlook 360 and the all the other monthly subscription services they've minted in the last few years. They want everyone on a subscription package and you'd have to be a fool not to see it.

            How

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Isn't this illegal where you live? This kind of bait-and-switch on something that was specifically advertised as a "free upgrade" to your non-subscription product would likely result in an investigation by Trading Standards in the UK.

        Having said that, I doubt they will make the basic OS subscription based. More likely it will be select features, like XBox Live or maybe streaming through the Windows Store or whatever it's called. Office is already available as a subscription, along with cloud storage. The fr

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )

          This is for enterprise licensing, not home users. And the spyware thing seems to have been completely overblown, with a few hints of genuinely inappropriate data being sent around turning into claims of Microsoft hoovering up your entire hard disk and sending it to their HQ.

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        But they haven't done it. This is for businesses, not home users. I applaud your rage, but it's entirely misdirected. It should take you more than a single word in a filename to generate such boundless anger.

  • This was expected (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gm ... om minus painter> on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:13PM (#52423435) Journal

    Windows 10, according to Microsoft [microsoft.com], has always had mainstream support ending October 13, 2020, and extended support ending October 14, 2025. Various sites reported this a year ago, but people forgot, I guess.

    Since this was the "last windows you'll ever buy", that meant that the next one would have to be a "rental-only" version.

    I wouldn't be surprised if 10 includes a time bomb to deactivate at it after it goes out of support.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:43PM (#52423595)

      Windows 10. So many issues it now has subscriptions.

    • by TroII ( 4484479 )

      I wouldn't be surprised if 10 includes a time bomb to deactivate at it after it goes out of support.

      Forget 2020. I wouldn't be surprised if 10 includes a time bomb to deactivate it if you don't start paying a monthly fee, starting around August or so.

      • Forget 2020. I wouldn't be surprised if 10 includes a time bomb to deactivate it if you don't start paying a monthly fee, starting around August or so.

        This might be Nadella's wet dream but he won't get away with it, in Europe at least: the EU would come down on them like a ton of bricks. They might make it very hard to install something that is not in the MS App store; this would make it hard enough to install something like libreOffice that many will just buy an Office365 subscription. They would do this by hiding the ability away such that you need obscure registry settings, or something.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2016 @01:41AM (#52424691)

          Correct. They couldn't disable it. They could start showing you ads if you don't subscribe though.

          Listen, the real lesson here is that, like it or not, Stallman was right. I'm not speaking as an FSF fan or Free software zealot either.

          Linux is your only viable escape from this. Apple isn't. Android isn't. It's starting to dawn on the masses that Stallman saw something 30+ yeas ago that they are only just beginning to understand. Those who control the source code, control you (see also, Volkswagon and the emissions scandal).

          It's happening all the time.,You only find out about a tiny number. You can't stop them unless you have the source code and the means to modifying the system.

          Call it the right to repair, the right to tinker, the right to hack. Whatever.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Agreed, but one small point. Android is fully open source. You might struggle to run it on any actual hardware without binary blob drivers, but the same is true of Linux.

            By the way, if anyone as a Loongson laptop they would like to sell, I'm in the market.

          • This has been expected for /decades/. I remember reading an article in PC World magazine where Bill Gates commented on how he'd like Microsoft to move to a subscription-based service, comparing it directly to cable companies (this was back in 1993 or so, so you'll pardon me if I don't have the exact issue and quote). The infrastructure and customer acceptance didn't make this possible - the Internet was only just starting to enter the public eye - , so it was just a pipe-dream back then. But Microsoft plays

    • Well, if Microsoft meant that this was "the last windows you'll ever buy" because future ones will be per-month rentals, then they're right. The version of Windows that many people "bought" (in the price of their computer) will be the last version they ever buy. People will flock to Apple instead of paying a monthly fee for the "privilege" of being able to boot up their computer to check their e-mail and Facebook.

    • by adolf ( 21054 )

      Given the way that the Windows Store keeps shoving itself in my face (I've been dinking around with "insider" builds), it would surprise me none if MSFT were going to take the same route as GOOG and AAPL: Give away the OS, and make money on a percentage of the take selling applications.

  • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:14PM (#52423441)

    I subscribe to Office 365, I quite like the model actually...

    I have multiple computers and being able to install Office and have it always up to date, along with 5 OneDrive accounts with plenty of storage is totally worth it to me.

    Windows as a service could work, if done right. The key is to take into account those people who have more than 2 or 3 computers and to provide an inexpensive way to grow that number (which Office 365 really doesn't under one account).

    But really it needs to be on a per-user basis, so I can install Windows on as many computers as I want, so long as my first log-in is and remains the primary account. Remove that account and the "activation" goes away. Perhaps the primary account needs to log-in once every 30 days to keep it active?

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @08:19PM (#52423757)

      I wish OneDrive was a better product though. Ever tried to sync large OneDrive folders between two machines on your local network? Unlike Dropbox it doesn't seem to realize that there's no need to do a roundtrip to an Oregon server to copy files between computers that are two feet apart.

      • I wish OneDrive was a better product though. Ever tried to sync large OneDrive folders between two machines on your local network? Unlike Dropbox it doesn't seem to realize that there's no need to do a roundtrip to an Oregon server to copy files between computers that are two feet apart.

        I agree with you... Sadly, DropBox won't offer me 10TB of storage for $70 a year...

        If they would, I'd probably use it...

        Note: I'm grandfathered in with OneDrive, so I have 10TB of storage per account. New accounts only get 1TB, which wouldn't be enough for me. :(

      • Of course there is a need. How else shall they make a real time scan of your files to make sure you are not up to no good?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I did pay for OneDrive for a while, when they were offering unlimited space. Then they realized that was a terrible idea and reduced it to 15GB, when I had about 1.2TB of data. Moved by encrypted backups to Spideroak and never looked back.

        Yes, Spideroak could screw me as well one day. That's just the risk you run with the cloud, but at least I have an up to date, tested off-site backup.

    • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @08:25PM (#52423787) Homepage

      I don't like this, and I don't use Office 365 for this exact reason. Software as a service makes no sense at all for individuals. For corporations, sure. RENTING shit is generally a fucking waste of money. At the end of the day, you have nothing.

      • Software as a service makes no sense at all for individuals.

        Nonsense, OneDrive makes plenty of sense, as does DropBox and other services...

        RENTING shit is generally a fucking waste of money.

        That is a broad brush that isn't true as much as you'd think it is...

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @10:40PM (#52424297)

        Even for some corporations it can be a waste of money to rent versus own. If a company keeps the same version of Office for several years, or keeps multiple versions of it, then buying will probably be cheaper than renting. Corporations do not need cloud support and a sane corporation will forbid using it. However there are those companies that do everything Microsoft asks of them on cue, and they'll probably save money via renting versus buying every new release that comes out.

        For a home user though, paying maybe $140 for Office 2013 versus a $100/year subscription to Office 365 is a no brainer - if you use it for two years you're saving money already. If you keep it for ten years you save a ton of money. All you lose are cloud services but you can get that without going through Microsoft's crappy service and most people will never need a cloud service. It's really a ridiculous model just based on the cost.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2016 @09:55PM (#52424147)

      I subscribe to Office 365, I quite like the model actually...

      You've never upgraded software only to find a feature you rely on has been removed, or that it no longer opens some old document format from your archives like the previous version did? And you're OK with having no control over the version you run in the event you would like to keep that feature or open those documents?

      Do you really trust that Microsoft will let you access your data indefinitely, or will they start rolling out fees to open documents?

      You are completely off your rocker.

    • Windows as a service could work

      No. Windows as a service could not work. This isn't a program, an app, a productivity suite. This is your computer capable of working. It should never require a subscription. If I want a 30 year old computer with a 30 year old OS that worked fine at the time I shouldn't need to keep feeding it money to do what it was always capable of.

  • by FlyHelicopters ( 1540845 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:17PM (#52423467)

    I can see a time when you go buy a new computer and it comes with Windows on it and 3 years of "free" updates and support, with the option to pay X dollars per year after that to get continued updates...

    This way people who don't need to buy a new computer can, at least for awhile, continue to use that machine and keep it current...

    The question is, how much per machine, or per user, per year?

    $5 per machine per year might be reasonable, or perhaps $20 per user for up to 5 machines, or perhaps a family licence for $50 per year for 25 machines and 10 users...

    I imagine they won't be that generous, but they would be smart to do so to soften the blow when they roll it out. Either way, the idea of selling Windows and giving away 10 years of free updates is probably not going to survive, whatever comes next...

    • What are you a menonite? 10 users and 25 machines in your family?

      Microsoft's previous family products included 3 licenses, don't expect that to change as they've had that policy for almost a decade.

      • What are you a menonite? 10 users and 25 machines in your family?

        Microsoft's previous family products included 3 licenses, don't expect that to change as they've had that policy for almost a decade.

        I have at least 15 under my control in a non commercial environment. Fortunately only 1 is an internet connected W10 machine, with nothing personal on it at all. 5 W10 networked machines but air gapped, and the rest linux or OS X. Guess which one computer is a pain in the ass. Hint, not any Unixy ones.

        Oh, and a cute little RPi 3 running Ubuntu Mate. I have a subscription plan for Apache Office on them all. They update AO and I download and install it. They have a money back guarantee as well.

      • What are you a menonite? 10 users and 25 machines in your family?

        What, I can't have 8 kids?

        As for the computers, that isn't hard.. desktops, laptops, computers on the TVs, a file server, build and test machines, a few computers at the beach house, etc...

      • Microsoft's previous family products included 3 licenses, don't expect that to change as they've had that policy for almost a decade.

        Office 365 Family is 5, so frankly your statement isn't even correct today, much less in the future...

    • with the option to pay X dollars per year after that to get continued updates...

      This would be acceptable. What's the bet that the concept of being allowed to use an expired license on a computer isn't what Microsoft agrees with?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The free anti-virus software that comes with new PCs usually lasts about a month before you have to pay. If Microsoft goes this route I imagine they will adopt industry best practice.

  • Something smells a little funny about this to me.
  • IT is all bout (Score:4, Insightful)

    by M0j0_j0j0 ( 1250800 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:36PM (#52423563)

    It is all about rent seeking, the ultimate business model! Let's see what happens to all those free upgrades from pirated editions, popcorn ready.

    • Rent seeking is not what you think it is. But I get your point. Such a "rental" model isn't going to last long when we're in the final days of the unholy Roman empire. In the jobless future, the only business that'll matter is show business. Yes, games and porn, the better to keep the masses from revolting.

      So here's my advice to Nadella, Sell off Office and your other enterprise software businesses soon be made obsolete by Big Data AI. Focus on the Xbox, VR, etc. Your main costumer is going to be the govern

    • Let's see what happens to all those free upgrades from pirated editions, popcorn ready.

      Probably nothing since there was no free upgrades from pirated editions beyond a single screenshot with a lot of reading between the lines on a single Microsoft support page which was amended a week after it was published.

  • Again (Score:5, Funny)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @07:37PM (#52423567) Homepage Journal

    MS is poised to once again make a Moderately funny joke [ahajokes.com] into reality.

    • by mridoni ( 228377 )

      From the linked article/joke:

      Be on the lookout for products like Microsoft Mugging, which either takes $50 or erases your hard drive

      Well, it didn't come from Microsoft, but in the end this sadly came true

  • I would be interested in Windows subscriptions if it included full virtualization rights. As it is now, licensing Widows for virtualization is a clusterfsck.

  • As long as 'UpgradeSubscription.exe" doesn't interfere with the "NotAVirus.exe" i recently installed then i say go for it.
  • I've expected that once the "free" upgrade program to Windows 10 ends on July 29, 2016, those who have installed the update will get a notice that the software will require a subscription to continue using your Windows 10 computer. Unless you pay $20 per month beginning August 30, 2016, your computer will be bricked. But Wait! We have a special deal: you can also continue to use your computer with Windows 10 for only $199 for 12 months. Prices are expected to increase yearly.
  • Hey Nadella (Score:4, Insightful)

    by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Thursday June 30, 2016 @09:36PM (#52424081)

    Nadella - if you are reading this thread?

    Piss off.

    There is no way on God's Green Earth that I will ever pay a subscription fee for an operating system.

  • Win 10 let's us do Workplace Join which can let us upgrade and activate an edition upgrade from Windows Home or Windows Pro to Windows Enterprise. This let's folks use their home computer but still use things like Bitlocker and DirectAccess which aren't part of Home. The way it works is we provide an edition change package, look up the Windows 10 Provisioning Package. Rather than relying on your home computer talking to the on-prem KMS, it uses essentially an old school MAC key for temporarily activating an
  • Microsoft's evil, but they know good business. Assuredly pulling an Adobe and changing to a subscription service for Windows 10 would cause far more damage than the short term profits they would get from the ransom payments, right?

    Don't use Windows 10 because it's an Orwellian nightmare of surveillance, of course. But I am just doubtful Microsoft would shoot themselves in the head by doing what most commenters here are taking it to mean.

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