Yes, you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s how

Yes, you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade. Here’s how

Microsoft’s complimentary upgrade deal for Windows 10 ended more than 5 years back, however nobody informed individuals who run the Windows activation servers. As an outcome, you can still update to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and declare a totally free digital license for the most recent Windows 10 variation, without being required to leap through any hoops.

That upgrade ended up being more crucial than ever when assistance for Windows 7 formally ended in January2020 And it ended up being a terrific relief to family budget plans when the pandemic made working from house (or going to school through remote sessions) unexpectedly popular. In the previous 2 years, countless individuals have actually taken old PCs out of storage and gotten up to speed rapidly, thanks to these complimentary upgrades.

Likewise: Windows 11 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: Here’s whatever you require to understand

You can likewise still upgrade Windows 10 House to Windows 10 Pro by utilizing an item secret from a previous service edition of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 (Pro/Ultimate). That can conserve you as much as $100 in OEM upgrade charges if you purchase a brand-new PC with Windows 10 House preinstalled. (For information, see ” How to update from Windows 10 House to Pro without inconveniences.”)

Every strategy I explain in this post works the very same for Windows 11 too, although a lot of older PCs will be obstructed from updating to Microsoft’s most recent os by the rigid Windows 11 hardware compatibility requirements. For those PCs, Windows 10 stays a feasible alternative till a minimum of October 2025.

In this post, I’ll cover the fundamentals of how to set up Windows 10 as an upgrade on older hardware. I’ll likewise speak about the licensing problems included, which are (as constantly) complicated.

I composed and released the very first variation of this post in early 2017, a number of months after Microsoft’s preliminary complimentary upgrade deal ended. The totally free upgrade deal had actually simply ended, and when I downloaded the Windows 10 upgrade tool and ran it on an old Windows 7 PC, I completely anticipated that the upgrade would stop working activation and I ‘d be requested for an item secret.

Envision my surprise when, rather, I was welcomed with this screen.

One digital license, no item secret needed.

Over the next four-plus years, I duplicated those actions on test PCs at routine periods and validated that the totally free upgrade tool still works. I continue to get e-mail messages frequently from readers providing direct reports that their complimentary upgrades succeeded, without any purchase or item secret needed.

A little number of readers have actually reported that the upgrade stops working since of a Setup mistake or a compatibility block. For information on how to fix these mistakes, see ” This complimentary Windows 10 upgrade deal still works. Here’s why – and how to get it.” For aid translating setup mistakes, see ” Windows 10: Usage setup log files to fix setup issues.”

Want your own digital license to the current Windows 10 variation? Follow these directions.

How to update an old PC to Windows 10


If you have a PC running a “real” copy of Windows 7/8/8.1 (Windows 7 House, Pro, or Ultimate edition, or Windows 8.x House or Company, correctly accredited and triggered), you can follow the very same actions I did to set up Windows 10 as an upgrade.

Prior to getting going, I advise a couple of initial jobs that can avoid prospective issues:

  • Validate that your copy of Windows is effectively triggered This is particularly essential if you just recently re-installed Windows.
  • Look for any current motorist updates, specifically for network and storage hardware.
  • Download and set up any offered BIOS updates for your hardware; this action is specifically crucial for systems that were initially offered in 2017 or earlier, when hardware makers were still cleaning concerns with Windows 10.
  • Back up your information files to an external hard disk or cloud storage (or both). Think about doing a complete system backup to an external hard disk drive utilizing the Windows 7 backup program, which is likewise readily available in Windows 8.x and Windows10 Simply run the command Sdclt.exe, and after that select the Produce A System Image choice.
  • Briefly uninstall third-party security software application and low-level system energies that can disrupt the upgrade. You can re-install those programs after the upgrade is total.
  • Lastly, detach any unneeded external gadgets, particularly USB flash drives and external hard disks. (A number of typical setup mistakes can be traced to the Setup program being puzzled by these extra drives.)

With those preliminaries out of the method, go to the Download Windows 10 web page and click the Download tool now button. After the download finishes, double-click the executable file to run the Media Production Tool.

You can update straight utilizing this tool, or develop different media.

If you have actually downloaded the Media Production Tool on the maker you prepare to update, and you prepare to update that PC and just that PC, you can pick the Upgrade This PC Now choice. That alternative sets up the most current variation of Windows10 It usually takes about an hour, depending upon your hardware. (Having an SSD as your system drive is the very best method to accelerate the procedure.)

If you understand you’ll wish to update to Windows 10 on more than one PC, or if you simply desire more versatility on the occasion that the immediate upgrade stops working, select the 2nd choice and conserve the setup submits to a USB drive or as an ISO file. The download takes a little time however when it’s total, you can run the Windows Setup program by hand to set up Windows 10 on any PC running any supported Windows variation (sorry, this will not deal with PCs running Windows Vista or Windows XP). The specific actions depend upon which download alternative you selected:

  • USB flash drive Place the USB flash drive you simply developed into a complimentary USB slot on the PC you wish to update. Open File Explorer (Windows Explorer in Windows 7) and double-click Setup to set up Windows10 Keep in mind that you can not boot from the freshly developed USB drive or DVD to carry out an upgrade to Windows10 You need to run the Windows 10 setup program from your presently set up and triggered copy of Windows.
  • ISO file After the download is total, you’ll require to install the ISO file and open it in a Windows Explorer/File Explorer window. On a PC running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, you can double-click the ISO file to open it as a virtual drive. On a PC running Windows 7, you’ll require to set up a third-party energy such as the complimentary, open-source WinCDEmu After installing the ISO file, double-click Setup to begin the set up procedure.

Then simply follow the triggers to finish the upgrade to Windows10 You will not be requested an item secret, and when the upgrade is total and you have actually linked to the web, you’ll have a digital license to the most current Windows 10 variation, which you can verify by going to Settings > Update and Security > Activation. All your apps and information files will be offered.

The digital license is related to that particular gadget, which suggests you can reformat the disk and carry out a tidy setup of the very same edition of Windows 10 anytime. (If you’re thinking about updating your old system drive to an SSD, carry out the upgrade to Windows 10 on the old hardware; after validating that the brand-new Windows 10 variation is correctly triggered, set up the SSD and after that either bring back from a backup image or boot from the USB flash drive to do a tidy set up. You will not require an item secret, and activation is automated.)

Is your license legitimate?

And now the huge concern: If you obtain yourself of this upgrade to Windows 10, is the resulting license legitimate?

The whole “totally free upgrade” deal was constantly accompanied by language that was, to put it nicely, a bit squishy. And the language around completion of that deal was likewise unclear. See the responses I have actually highlighted here on Microsoft’s Windows 10 Upgrade Frequently Asked Question:

The phrasing here is incredibly unclear.

That’s really odd language. The totally free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 app ended on July 29,2016 The conversation of item secrets states a secret will be essential “for this tool to work” (not real) however does not state a word about licensing.

And unlike the weaselly “Real Windows” label on older upgrades, the activation screens for a Windows 10 upgrade particularly verify the presence of a “digital license.”

Anyhow, the totally free upgrade deal was extended quickly, a minimum of for individuals who utilize assistive innovations. The frequently asked question on a different page even called it a “totally free upgrade deal extension” and specifically kept in mind that it was not restricted to particular assistive innovations. (I frequently utilize the Magnifier energy in Windows, which is indisputably an assistive innovation.)

Obviously, I’m not a legal representative, and this column isn’t legal recommendations. I will state that I am personally positive in the activation status of any PC updated utilizing the tool on that page throughout the eligibility duration.

This extension was, I believe, a huge nod and a wink, developed to make it simple for those who desired a Windows 10 upgrade to still get it while pacifying the OEM partners who were none too delighted about the year-long focus on upgrades instead of brand-new PC sales.

Unfortunately, I state “was,” due to the fact that the extension (which was itself extended) formally ended on Jan. 16, 2018 The page that previously ran an Upgrade Assistant now shows a message about the expiration of the deal.

The huge concern now is whether Microsoft will ever shut off the code on its activation servers that gives digital licenses after an upgrade from an earlier Windows variation. I have actually continued to check that situation, and I can verify, long after completion of assistance for Windows 7, that it still works.

I continue to speak with readers sharing their experiences. If you have actually utilized this method on a PC, click my name at the top of this post and utilize the contact kind to let me understand how it opted for you.

Note: This post was initially released in January2017 It has actually been upgraded several times ever since to show the most existing info.

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