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

Updated May 15, 2020

Many people took advantage of the Get Windows 10 upgrade promotion, and some did not. If you are one of those who did not get your version of Windows 7 / Windows 8.1 upgrade 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

It has been a few years 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 can still get the upgrade for free. But there is a particular 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 perform what we call 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. It will list the Windows edition 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.
  • If you have Windows 7 Enterprise or Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you will upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise.

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

But the only way you will find out is by starting the upgrade process. The Windows 10 installer will run a check for hardware that will not work with Windows 10 and will allow you 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 cannot 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 I recommend creating a full backup only in case something goes wrong. Just follow steps #2 through #6 in this article, seven 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 recovery media. Almost every computer comes with a hidden partition that has the original software that came pre-loaded with the machine.

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

Now, you have everything you need to take care of, and you are ready to start the Windows 10 upgrade. Since this will be an 'in-place upgrade', you will need the Windows 10 installation media. Let's make it.

The 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, you will 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 checkbox is on the bottom, make sure it has a checkmark inside it. If not, refer to the edition information you collected earlier.

You will need either a blank DVD or a 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 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 at 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.

The first screen that appears tells you that Windows 10 is going online to get updates, drivers, and optional features.
Windows 10 setup program prompting to download updates
If you click on the Change how Windows Setup downloads updates link, you can choose to download the updates or wait until later.
Windows 10 setup program update download options
You will be downloading the updates either way, so it is strictly your call. But I have found that a lot of the errors associated with the upgrade process can be avoided by waiting until the upgrade is complete before downloading and installing updates.

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

If the installation finds incompatible hardware, you may have to cancel the upgrade to resolve the issue. Either way, you may be able to continue the update, 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 the Windows 10 upgrade is complete, the original product key for your old version of Windows will be converted and uploaded to 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 (106) -

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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Just a follow up from 6/12/2019. Working awesome ,really like 10 now that i'm getting use to it.. Thanks you for this easy to follow instruction.

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Sad to let Win 7 go, but this article was a great help! Everything worked fine.

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info was spot on worked great windows 7 - windows 10 26/6/19.

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Lordsweapon

Upgraded from Win 7 Home to Win 10 Home. on July 3rd, 2019. Went flawless no problems at all. Thank you so much!!

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Upgraded from Windows 7 Home Premium on 2019-07-12.  No problems.  Thank you.

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Excellent info. Works fine as of 14  July 19. Took me two goes, but first time was my fault because I did not follow the advice properly; I only disabled Bitdefender and Acronis Active Protection, rather than uninstall them. I'm guessing the Win 10 upgrade re-installs them which then re-enables them? So first time Win 10 installer was stuck at 55% all night. Cancelled out, and it hung, so expected to have to resort to restoring the system image I'd made, but left it a good while before hard shut down, and then my Win 7 Home Premium  booted OK. Bitdefender a pig to uninstall, but once it and Acronis AP uninstalled, retried the upgrade. Worked fine, though it lingers at some % values that starts to look worrying, but patience wins the day. Now have fully activated Win 10 home with digital licence. Many thanks.

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Will this work for multiple computers on a network

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Geeks in Phoenix

As long as each computer has its own unique, legitimate (not hacked) product key, you should be good to go.

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Worked for me from W7 on 18 July 2019. The install required me to first remove Windows Media Center before confirming and continuing. The program is not listed in Programs and Features list, a search and found instructions to select the Windows Options menu item and unticked that  program. It popped up a restart request, I ignored this and returning to the W10 install clicked on the Confirm button and it continued to completion. Checked activation and looking good. Thanks.

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Worked great for me on 7/20/19.  Only issue was that my Office Suite 2013 became inactivated.   I didn't have the product key since I obtained the license through my company home use program (HUP).    I called Microsoft with my work email and confirmation code and they provided me with the product key.    Thanks so much for the article!!

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1 Aug 19.  Worked 1st try Win 7 Home Prem to W10 Home.  Had to download and re-enable W. Photo Viewer.  Also wiped out Firefox (I guess incompatible) but once downloaded and reinstalled all emails still intact.

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Worked great! I cloned my win 7 to a new SSD, then used this to upgrade from windows 7 home to windows 10 home. Thanks!

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Had to comment because my name is Nick too and I did the exact same as the last guy.

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Great tip, worked well for me, from Windows 7 Starter to Win 10 Home, using the USB option.

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Easy to follow.  Had to uninstall McAfee first but worked great on 9/9/19

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I installed this on 6/12/19 and left comment then. So this is 3 months later and couldn't be happier with this update to windows 10. Thanks  scottstgelais for your instructions . Works great !!!

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Tried this instuctions on Sept 13, 2019.  WORKS GREAT.   THANKS!

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WORKED GREAT September 28, 2019!

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Hi - Brilliantly clear instructions......just one question.  I currently run Win7 Ultimate.  Will installation automatically Win10 Pro or do I need to follow a different route? Many Thanks - Bob

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Geeks in Phoenix

We recently did an upgrade to a version of Windows 7 Enterprise and it did upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise. So, we would have to believe the same would hold true for a version of Windows 7 Ultimate.

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Geeks in Phoenix - Further to my 9/29/2019 3:51:51 PM. Absolutely fantastic . Followed your instructions to the letter and my Win 7 Ultimate upgraded to Win 10 Pro without any other input being required. Many thanks for your help.
Best Wishes - Bob

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Upgraded flawlessly on October 4th, 2019.

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Still FREE as of 10/9/19. NOTE: Uninstall AV & active Malware/Spyware and Ransomware protection  "before" upgrade to prevent install issues. Re-install AV and other protection after upgrade is complete. Voila!!!

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Hrishikesh Kale

will it work for dell inspiron n5010 laptop? anybody tried with that?

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Geeks in Phoenix

The specs on your Dell Inspiron N5010 are within the requirements for Windows 10. If it runs Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, there is a 99% chance that Windows 10 will work perfectly fine. But we always recommend doing a full backup before doing the upgrade, just in case it does fail. And we have found that not allowing Windows 10 to download updates before installation works best. You will just have to go through a few rounds of updates after the upgrade to get Windows 10 fully updated. But the upgrade works better that way.

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Worked seamlessly for OptiPlex 390 W7 Pro 21/10/2019. All files carried over. Thanks very much Geeks In Phoenix.

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worked 03/11/2019

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worked for w7 home 08/11/2019, thank you

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Worked as described 11/13/2019.  Windows7 Home Premium.  I kept Norton Security Suite active during upgrade and chose update now rather than later.  Took about 3 hrs.  Thanks for your clear instructions which gave me a lot more confidence.

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This article was written in Nov 2018. Is it still valid? Or is there any update to the procedures?

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Geeks in Phoenix

All of the information in this article is still relevant. In fact, we upgraded a laptop running Windows 8.1 Home to Windows 10 Home just this past weekend (11/16/19) using the procedures outlined in the article.

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It worked for me. I updated from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 10 Home on on Acer Aspire One laptop. Thanks!

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Its works. And updated from win 7 to win 10.
Thank you very much.

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Mike Webster

Just completed this upgrade as per the instructions given.  All worked great from Windows 7 Home to Windows 10 home. Thanks

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works as of today, thank you very much! Smile i upgraded win7 home premium OA to w10 home with no issues.

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Worked Dec 1/19
Burnt IOS to DVD but couldn’t see files on the DVD so booted with it. When asked for key, I entered Windows 7 key. Got message that install won’t work, upgrade using setup.exe. Recreated media on a USB stick, ran setup.exe and install went fine.  Checked activation in Windows 10 and it showed activated. 😀
Did have to re-enter key for Office 2013.  Everything else seems fine. Did not uninstall Norton Security beforehand, just turned off the firewall. Don’t know if it was needed but didn’t want to uninstall so gave it a try.
Thanks for the good instructions!

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Thank you Geeks!  I have followed your directions for an old mini dell with 8.1, an old HP and finally my Dell Tower with Windows 7.  Everything went seamless.  I didn't turn off Norton or anything else.  I had read that Microsoft Outlook 2003 wasn't going to work on Windows 10 so I converted all my addresses and collected address to Thunderbird and made the switch.  16 years using that program, but Thunderbird works just as well.  Also, I had to download the Microsoft Creation Tool using my laptop since Microsoft website wouldn't let my Windows 7 download the tool.  Once it was on an external drive, I was then able to plug it into my tower and get things going.  Lastly, I found that my USB ports in the front of my computer wouldn't work with the tool either.  I'm not sure why, but I plugged it into the faster ports in the back and after about 3 to 4 hours I am now the proud owner of Windows 10 on my main computer for free and in time for January 2020.  So thanks again Geeks!

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Geeks in Phoenix

Still works as of 1/5/2020. Just upgraded a Windows 7 Home computer to Windows 10 Home and a Windows 7 Professional computer to Windows 10 Professional.

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Working as of 1/14/2020. Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10.

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1/16/2020 still working.  had to update dell bios for my laptop 1st , no problems for my dell desktop inspiron 530s though. left my eset antivirus in both. THANK YOU!!

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Worked great for me 1/17/2020 Windows 7 starter to Windows 10 on an ancient netbook. Thanks Geeks

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Worked great on 1/21/2020  Making install media went great.  Entire time for Install from Win 7 Ultimate to Win 10 Pro on a custom build 5 year old computer including all the updates at the end took total of 2 hrs. 22 minutes.  Thank you!!!

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Worked great on Jan 26, 2020. Thanks, appreciate it!

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Thank a lot
Following your recommendations the update from,W7 to W10 work properly. A new license was free created.

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No problems upgrading Win 7 pro to Win 10 pro on newish Dell laptop. Thanks for the step by step instructions!

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Geeks in Phoenix

Still works as of 2/23/2020. Just upgraded an 11 year old Dell Inspiron 530s from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 10 Professional.

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Geeks in Phoenix

The in-place upgrade still works as of 3/29/2020. Upgrade a Dell Latitude from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 10 Pro.

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Thank you works perfectly
Asus N76 from win 7 to 10
01-04-2020

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OK. Worked here too. I can confirm you don't want to upgrade directly. I tried that first and got "upgrade failed.' Make sure you run updater as Admin -- I missed that one too and failed a SECOND time (ooops). Finally ran USB from within W7 -- as Admin! -- and it worked great. Didn't ask for product key and did a great job of preserving all my apps to W10. Thanks for the step by step!

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Updated old Dell win 7 laptop today, followed you steps exactly no issues. Thank you. Cheers

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