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How to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

A lot of people took advantage of the Get Windows 10 upgrade promotion and but some did not. If you are one of those people that did not get your version of Windows 7 / Windows 8.1 upgraded for free, you still have an opportunity to do so. Here is how to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

How to get a free Windows 10 upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1

So, it has been a few years now since Microsoft ran the Get Windows 10 promotion and now you think you might like to get your version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 upgraded to Windows 10. The question is now, should you upgrade your computer to Windows 10?

If you think so, I will let you know a little secret, you still can get the upgrade for free. But there is a certain way you have to go about doing it. And there are some prerequisites you have to meet first.

First, your computer needs to be running a legally licensed, not pirated, version of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1. The key here is running, as you will need to start the upgrade process from inside of Windows. In essence, you will be performing what is called an in-place upgrade.

And since this is an in-place upgrade, you will need to know what edition of Windows you have. Just open a Run dialog box, type Winver and left-click on OK. The Windows edition will be listed in the About Windows screen that appears. Here are the upgrade paths.

  • If you have Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 8.1 Home Basic, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Home.
  • If you have Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate or Windows 8.1 Professional, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Professional. An upgrade path for Enterprise versions of Windows is not supported.

Second, your computer needs to meet the hardware requirements for Windows 10. The majority of computers running Windows 7 / 8.1 already meet the requirements, but there are exceptions. There are certain graphics processors are known to be incompatible.

But the only way you are going to find out is by actually starting the upgrade process. The Windows 10 installer will run a check for hardware that will not work with Windows 10 and give you a choice to stop the upgrade or continue.

If it turns out that the on-board graphics processor in your desktop computer is incompatible, you can always install an inexpensive (under $50) PCI-e graphics card (if you have an open PCI-e slot). Here is how to add an expansion card to your desktop computer. If your laptop has an incompatible graphics processor, you will not be able to upgrade it to Windows 10.

But there are a few things I recommend doing before starting the upgrade process. Checking for drive errors, cleaning up your drive and uninstalling third-party anti-virus / malware software are just a few. And definitely creating a full backup just in case something goes wrong. Just follow steps #2 through #6 in this article, 7 things to do before and after upgrading to Windows 10.

Now there is a dirty little secret about upgrading to Windows 10 that nobody ever talks about, and that is the original recovery media. Almost all computers come with a hidden partition that contains a copy of the original software that came with your computer.

When you perform an upgrade to Windows 10, that media is replaced with a copy of Windows 10. So, if you ever want to go back to the version of Windows that came with your computer, you will need to create the recovery media before doing the upgrade. Check out thee section 'Make the recovery media' in the following article, five things you should do first when you get a new computer.

So now you have got everything taken care of and you are ready to start the Windows 10 upgrade. Since this is going to be an 'in-place upgrade', you are going to need the Windows 10 installation media. Let's go ahead and make it.

First thing you have to do is download and run the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This program can do a direct upgrade or create the Windows 10 media (USB or ISO file).
Windows 10 installer what do you want to do screen
I recommend creating the media (either USB or ISO), that way if you have a copy of Windows 10, just in case you need it in the future.

The next thing you need to do is select what language, architecture and edition you want to install.
Windows 10 installer select language and edition screen
If the Use the recommended options for this PC check box is on the bottom, go ahead and make sure it has a check mark inside of it. If not, refer to the edition information you collected earlier.

You will need either a blank DVD or USB drive that is 8GB or larger. The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool will format a USB drive and make it ready to use.
Windows 10 installer choose which media to use screen
If you download an ISO file, you will need to burn it to a DVD. Here is how to burn an ISO file to a disk.

There are a couple of reasons to install from media (USB or DVD) and not the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. The #1 reason is you can always easily restart the installation if you need to take care of an issue or two.

Once you have the installation media created, you will have to start the upgrade by running the setup program located in the root of the installation media.
Windows 10 setup program in File Explorer
I recommend opening File Explorer and right-clicking on setup.exe and selecting Run as administrator.

Now that the installation has started, you will be prompted to download any updates or wait. You will be downloading the updates either now or after the installation is done, so it is strictly your call.

At some point the installation is going to check the hardware and software currently installed. If it finds any incompatible software, like an anti-virus program, you may have to cancel the installation and remove the software.

If the installation finds incompatible hardware, you may have to cancel the installation so that you can resolve the issue. Either way, you may be able to continue the installation, but that depends on how critical the Windows 10 installer finds the software / hardware issue to be.

Once the upgrade is in process, it may take a couple of hours to complete. When it is all done, Windows 10 will convert your original product key that was stored on your computer to one that is stored on the cloud. It is called digital entitlement.

And if you ever need to reinstall Windows 10, all you have to do is download the latest version using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. It is the one Windows 10 feature you hope you never have to use.

Comments (56) -

As of 12/1/18, I can confirm this worked.

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Works as of 01/01/19

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Works. Jan 11, 2019. ASUS a53u laptop.

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It is working as of 1/13/2018 from Windows 8.1 Home to Windows 10 Home. Very useful and informative article, thanks a lot.

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worked for Dell as of 14/1/2019 from window 7 to window 10.

Thank you.

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Great tutorial!
Everything works.
Update from Windows 7 to Windows 10 without problems.

Thanks!

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Works very good.  Thanks

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Worked on Jan 19, 2019. Upgraded windows 7 on dell optiplex 755. It is dual boot desktop with linux and the upgrade did not alter the linux system or break the dual boot (grub)

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Worked fine on Jan 25/19.  Upgraded 2009 Dell Inspiron laptop from Win 7.  Everything went flawlessly.  Thank you!

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as of 1/31/2019, this worked!  Many Thanks!!

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hi , thank you for the this info
i upgraded from win 7 home to win 10 home
is there a way to freely upgrade from win 10 home to win 10 pro ?

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Geeks in Phoenix

The only way we know how to upgrade Windows 10 Home to Professional is to purchase it from the Microsoft Store.

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Works fine as of 7 Feb 2019 on Dell XPS 12 9Q23 windows 8.1 pro. Thank you very much !!!

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Direct upgrade from win 7 to win 10 worked flawlessly as of 2/10/19 many thanks worked great

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Works as of 2/11/2019
HP elitebook 8570w

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Working 2-12-19...

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worked on a hp laptop from 2009 or  older running windows 7 ultimate

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wow. Yep worked seamlessly from win 7 on my Toshiba laptop. Took about 2hrs. 15 Feb 2019.

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Still works Laughing

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it worked 2/17/2019

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Still works 02/18.
Saved 10k for me thank you soo much

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Success.  However, during the upgrade process, I got a warning about incompatible hardware (Intel HD Graphics 4600). I did a Google search and discovered this was a problem back in 2016 but has since been fixed by Intel.
So,...I clicked confirm and the installation went smoothly - no display issues and a good driver automatically loaded. I guess Microsoft hasn’t bothered to update the warnings!

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Installed yesterday 2/19/19. Works great!

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2019-02-22 Worked great from Win 7 Home (said intel graphics was incompatable, but no problems there)!

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upgraded today(23 feb 2019) Works perfectly. some resolution issue but that's fine will get the new driver. Thanks for the info.

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Upgraded 4 computers over the past 3 weeks; the last being today. Win 10 failed to download 3 times today; kept getting Install Updates error 0x800F0955-0x20003. The solution I found online was to check the box telling Win 10 do the updates later rather than at the beginning of the Win 10 install. Then it installed itself the 4th time and did the updates afterward without issue. Thank you Geeks for the guidance to make these upgrades.  

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Thanks. It worked. I upgraded from windows 7 (on 6/3/19) without any problems and it is activated automatically.

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Still working...Did my upgrade from
Win 8.1 to Win 10 ..Got an error message regarding Graphics and thanks to David in the comments section here, I ignored the message and continued with confirmation.Checked it for 1 day,working perfectly fine.
ThankYou.

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09/03/2019 : It's still working. Thank you sir!

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Upgraded from Windows 7 on 3/12/19. Took several hours, but it worked great.
Thank for this easy to follow procedure.

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It works 12.3.2019.

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Works perfectly with Genuine WIN10 USB, converted my WIN7 PRO licence to a WIN10 PRO licence

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Thank You! It took several hours but got it to upgraded from Win 7 Ult to 10 Pro.  BitLocker pin number stays the same (which I was hoping for). Thanks again for this great article. You guys rock!!!

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Upgraded from W7 today - took a few hours but was a smooth trouble free upgrade.
Thanks !!!

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In the past, I would do the "assisstive " upgrade, then format and do a clean install. Does that still work?

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Geeks in Phoenix

Yes. When you do the in-place upgrade, your product key is converted to digital entitlement and uploaded to Microsoft’s cloud servers. You can then wipe your drive and do a clean install of Windows 10. When you reinstall Windows 10 you'll get to a screen that asks for your product key. Just click on the 'I don't have a product key' link on the bottom of the screen. Once the installation is complete, Windows will automatically activate the first time your system gets online.

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Paul Ridley

Easy to follow instructions. Thanks for the guidance. Works perfectly.
17th March 2019

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Worked perfect for me on 03/20/2019

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Upgraded homebuilt desktop from Win 7 2019-03-20.  Everything went flawlessly.  Thank you!

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I just did it to my HP 13 Split X2 and so far it worked. I reset the Split to factory settings - nothing worth saving. Two minor glitches - 1. Unable to set-up Microsoft account as only email options were Outlook and Hotmail. Don't use either one. 2. Got an alert that the Intel graphics incompatible. Clicked confirm and set-up continued. Have Win 10 on it now and am going through the learning process all over. Significantly different from Win 7 and desktop. Next week will try on my desktop.

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This worked very well! Win7 Pro to Win10 Pro. 3/25/19

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I did this 3/26/19

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3/28/2019 this worked for me

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Easy to follow instructions.
Thanks for the guidance.
Works perfectly on Lenovo T410.

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Keri Mullis

This worked for me on April 2. Thanks for the information.

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Randy Serrano

This worked flawlessly on April 6, 2019. Updated my Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 PRO!

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Upgraded my OEM copy of Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro. Thanks!

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Mike Whitworth

Worked well on the 10/04/2019

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Upgrade Win 7 Pro to Win 10 Pro with no issues.

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Installed 4/11/2019 on Dell laptop with Win 7 Home. Worked flawlessly.

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from France. I Installed today and everything went OK. Thanks a lot.

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Great article! I upgraded a Windows 7 computer to Windows 10 without any problems.

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Thank you!  Upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10.

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Thank you! Worked as of 5/6/2019. Upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium to. windows 10.

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Thanks! Upgraded Windows 8.1 Home to Windows 10 Home.

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6/12/2019 worked for me!  windows 7 Home to windows 10 Home.  Only been a day but all seem good.

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