You can still upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free but you’ll need to act fast!
The end of extended support for good old Windows 7 is just around the corner and while you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free at the moment, it is quite likely this will not be the case after extended support ends on 14th January 2020.
What Will Happen With Windows 7 After 14th January?
You’ll still be able to run and use Windows 7, but the operating system will no longer receive any critical security updates and/or patches. Which will, within a relativity short period of time, lead to a highly insecure environment where it would be extremely unwise to connect to the internet.
Now, I know there are still a lot of Windows 7 fans out there clinging to this old operating system but, seriously, do yourselves a favour and upgrade to Windows 10 now.
Is The Windows 10 Upgrade Still Available For Free?
Yes, it is, on the proviso that you are currently running a genuine Windows 7 operating system. I have very recently tested this out on two of my client’s machines and both activated fine without any issues.
How To Upgrade Windows 7 To Windows 10 For Free
In both cases, I utilised the in-place upgrade option. Here’s how:
Firstly, you’ll need to download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Get it here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10
Run the tool from within Windows 7. Simply double click the downloaded executable. Follow the prompts and when you come to this screen:
Make sure you enable the option to “Upgrade this PC now”, then click Next.
The in-place upgrade should now proceed. It is a long-winded process so you’ll need to be patient. Finally though, provided your original Windows 7 is legitimate, you should end up running an activated copy of the latest Windows 10.
How To Check If Windows 10 Is Activated
There are two methods to do this. The first is via Settings/Update & Security/Activation:
The second is via Control Panel/System:
A Wise Precaution!
Just to be on the safe side, prior to initiating each upgrade, I first created an image of the existing Windows 7 system and saved it to an external hard drive. Now, if anything went awry with the upgrade process, I could at least restore the client’s machine to its original state, running Windows 7, and no real harm done. In the end, in both cases, all went well and this turned out to be an unnecessary precaution. However, I would still strongly recommend taking this step. Upgrades can be tricky, especially with older hardware involved. Aomei Backupper Standard is a free, very reliable, and easy to use imaging software that will do the job nicely.
As I said, I’ve used this method twice recently without a hitch but there have to be serious doubts whether it will still work after 14th January. While It is well known that Microsoft would prefer to see everyone running Windows 10, I’m not sure they’ll continue honouring these old license keys once the operating system is no longer supported.
Best wishes for a safe, healthy, happy 2020.
42 thoughts on “Upgrade Windows 7 To Windows 10 For Free NOW!”
Great article, welcome back Jim!
I’ll “Me too” that!
Is there any actual evidence or word from Microsoft that the Win7 product keys will no longer work to activate Win10 after support ends?
No Scott. Just an assumption on my part. When an OS is no longer supported by Microsoft I find it difficult to believe they would support upgrading same. It may well turn out I am completely wrong. However, my message is… why take the risk? if it’s still free to upgrade at the moment, and we are certain of that, why not take the plunge now?
Good to see you here again Jim!
I just did this the other day on an old Acer Aspire laptop and it worked perfectly. Took quite awhile, but ended up with all the apps and programs working and activated. You did not mention that you need to put a check in the the “keep all apps programs and documents” when that is offered or else it will all get wiped away.
Thank you Ken. You’re quite right, I didn’t mention that, because… different strokes for different folks. Some might prefer a clean install (starting off again from scratch) – as did one of my clients. That said, I should have mentioned the choices available, my bad on that one.
I’ve done this recently with a Win7-(COA) key and did the IMAGE first also.
Everything worked fine after we replaced a video card with no Win10 drivers.
While the options are clearly offered during the upgrade,
I think it is an over simplification to the readers to NOT SHOW
the *keep your stuff* option screen.
PS: I like clean installs better too, but not my call that time.
Re Aomei Backupper Standard free.
Can I backup on my huge external drive (1TB) by creating a new folder? Or does it wipe out (zap, clean) what is on my drive.
Yes, you can backup to your external drive. And no, it won’t zap what’s already on the drive, it won’t touch that existing data. Create a new folder and give it an appropriate name… My Images, My Backups, or similar. Then, you’ll need to tell Aomei Backupper the location where you want to save the images. When you click the Backup button, and then the System Backup button, you’ll come to a window which shows the partitions to be backed up with a box underneath where you can set the backup location. Click the folder icon at far right of that box, navigate to the new folder you created on the external hard drive, click on that folder to highlight it, and then click Open. You only need do that once, the software will remember that location and save all future images there.
Hi Jim, I am new here and have a laptop computer. I can operate a computer quite well but not very computer literate.
Upon reading your information on how to “Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10”, it seems quite an easy process, however, I am a bit reluctant to tackle it on my own if something goes wrong. I have a Windows 7 Asus laptop, about 7 years old, runs well . I have just done a system image on Windows 7 backup and saved to my external drive or should I backup on what you recommended – Aomei Backupper Standard?
Is it very complicated or do you think I could manage it?.
Thank you Jim.
Hi Deborah, and welcome!
You’d be much better off using Aomei Backupper Standard. If you managed to create an image backup via Windows 7 built-in feature, you should have no trouble handling Aomei. Besides, their comprehensive collection of online help guides (tutorials) are excellent. Suggest you visit here: https://www.ubackup.com/help/
Take a look at some of the guides and that should help you decide whether or not you’d feel confident working with the software.
Thank you for your reply. I will look at all the options. The only thing that is worrying me at the moment is how do I get the license to install windows 10?
You don’t need a Windows 10 license Deborah. It will all work and activate using your existing Windows 7 license key, which will be automatically identified during the upgrade process. As I said in the article; the only proviso is that your Windows 7 must be legitimate. If that is the case, no problem.
Thank you so much Jim.
I have a Samsung Chronos laptop Puchased in 2012. I’ve read comments here and I know almost nothing about computers and their maintenance etc. If I try to load Windows 10 which is currently running Windows 8.1 do I lose all my data that is currently on the hard drive? I’ve never performed a back up but will probably try to since I do have an external drive(Seagate 2 TB) with a few movies and photos on it. Is backing up your laptop just a safety precaution or do you automatically lose everything when updating from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. I hope I get a reply soon as time is running out. I’m not looking forward to this one bit and really hoping that my laptop does not become useless or then I will have to purchase another one which I can’t do right now. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated but it must be pretty detailed/specific because of my lack of tech. skills lol. Thank you in advance if I get a reply to my concerns…. 🙂
This article is specifically aimed at Windows 7 users because that operating system is due to reach end of support very soon, on 14th January 2020. Your Windows 8.1 does not reach end of support until January 10th 2023. So, you still have 3 years before you NEED to upgrade to Windows 10. By that time, your laptop will be around 10-11 years old and most likely need replacing with a new one running Windows 10 anyway.
To answer your questions: No, you do not lose any data when upgrading. The upgrade process includes options on what to keep:
1. Keep personal files and apps
2. Keep personal files only
Choosing the option to “Keep personal files and apps” (which, if I remember rightly, is enabled by default) will retain all your personal data plus all installed apps that are compatible with Windows 10 (which should be most, if not all, apps).
So, yes, backing up is entirely precautionary. That said; you should get into the habit of backing up all your personal data anyway. It’s very easy, all you need do is copy (drag and drop) all your pictures, documents, videos, music etc from your main drive to the external hard drive.
Jim, thank you so much for your great and detailed reply!
You are most welcome Chris.
I’m still using ‘orphaned’ Windows OS (XP, Vista, and now Windows 7 because I HATE my Windows 10 ‘Windows Explorer’ I use at work.
Is there anyway to put the ‘old’ starting page and ‘Explorer’ on a Windows 10.
And, BTW, thanks PCMatic for still supporting XP.
When you say “starting page” do you mean “Start menu”? If so, Classic Shell has proven to be one of the most popular – very similar to the old Windows 7 Start menu: http://www.classicshell.net/
Not sure there is any 3rd party Windows Explorer that emulates the one in Windows 7. There are, however, plenty of free 3rd party explorer replacements available Choice is totally subjective. Suggest you search online for “best windows explorer replacements” and see if there is one you like the look of.
Thanks for publishing this information. I wanted to share my recent experience with upgrading from 7 ~ 10 on 9 machines in an office.
I downloaded the Media Creation tool on my Win10 laptop. I clicked the option to create installation media for another PC and choose a USB drive you are planning to use for upgrading OTHER machines… and then wait a very long time (approximately 1-1/2 hours). Keep in mind that the USB drive you use will be wiped of any existing data.
After the process completes, you can use this USB drive for any\all Win7 machines. All you have to do is insert the drive into an open USB port and launch the setup.exe and basically click ‘next’ and the computer will be UPGRADED in about an hour. The machine will reboot several times and will finish with a Win10 logon screen. As of the date of this post, Windows activated as part of the upgrade process without requiring an additional license key.
A couple of suggestions to offer:
1) Create a new folder on the root of C:\ (I use SOFTWARE) and copy the entire contents of the USB drive to this folder and launch the setup from there… it will definitely speed up the upgrade process.
2) Kick off a Windows Update to ensure all of the updates have been applied.
3) Delete the folder created in step 1 as it is no longer needed.
You will find the normal Windows directory in your system root, plus you will find a NEW folder ‘Windows.old’. This is a copy of the Windows directory prior to the upgrade. This is useful for rolling-back to Win7 if necessary.
Hope this is helpful.
hat happen after i did all steps the end was “Instalation fail way
windows 7 acer aspire
For the last 2 years i not be able to get the updated .
Acer never provide me a disk how i can Just star all over and complete reinstal windos , i have ready back all my files and programs .
Simple question i need to reinstal windows 7 firt and them instal windows 10 ? i how abouth my Licence where i can find it in my pc ( Laptop)
Not sure I understand the first part of your question. Sorry mate. I will, however, take a shot at it. If the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 failed, it should have automatically rolled back to Windows 7.
Did you create a system image prior to commencing the upgrade?
Is your machine still bootable?
I made two attempts at doing the upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 but both failed. The message received was “Failed in SAFE_OS phase with error during MIGRATE_DATA operation”. The error code was Dx8007042B-Ox2000D.
I’m at a complete loss and would appreciate any advice.
The upgrade failures could be down to any number of issues. Unfortunately, most of Microsoft’s error codes are pretty generic and seldom point to just one cause or solution. Some questions:
1. How much free (unused) space is on your main drive?
2. Which option, during the upgrade process, did you choose on what to keep: keep personal files and apps, keep personal files only, or nothing?
3. What antivirus program are you using?
Please feel free to post about this issue on the DCT Forum, where we’ll do our very best to help out (The forum being much more suited to helping solve these types of issues).
Thanks for the very prompt reply. I have the horrible feeling that the problem goes deeper than I though.
When I fired up the laptop to check for disk space, I was advised that Windows could not open and asked if I wanted to recover from an earlier image. I give it the nod but was eventually advised that the recovery had failed too.
Trying a normal start brings up these messages: Starting Windows, Preparing to configure Windows Do not turn off, Configuring Windows 35% complete, then Shutting down.
It restarts but goes through the same sequence again and again (ad infinitum).
This sequence is similar to the events that occurred when I was trying to run the 7 to 10 upgrade – it endlessly displayed those same messages and shutdown/restarts.
So my guess is that Windows has been irreversibly corrupted and probably needs to be reloaded from scratch. Unfortunately I don’t have the original W7 disks because the laptop was delivered with it pre-installed.
Sorry to hear that Ken.
What is the brand and model of your laptop? (the manufacturer might have included a hidden “recovery” partition)
Did you ever create a recovery disc?
You may be able to use the Windows recovery options to repair. Might work, but I doubt it. Still, worth a try. For an explanation how how to access the recovery options menu in Windows 7 and what it does, have a look at this MS advisory: https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/17101/windows-7-system-recovery-options:
I have 7 on my home computer. I have 10 on my work computer. With 10, MS can send anything they want to my computer, including updates. I’m not saying updates are bad, I’m saying I don’t like MS having control of my computer ANYTIME they want it.
This is why I will not load 10 on my home box.
I’m pretty sure MS would have been sending updates to Windows 7 as well. 🙂
I hear what you’re saying mate, but that is just part of the way in which connecting to the internet has evolved. – these days, its all about sharing and curating for personal interests.
Besides, MS is doing nothing more than what Google and Apple have been doing for years.
Thanks again Jim.
It’s a HP Pavilion Dv2000. Fairly old and I had retired it but am now trying to resurrect it for someone else to use.
I did create a recovery disk some years ago, but unfortunately haven’t kept it.
I tried the System recovery tools today. The Startup Repair didn’t find anything wrong.
The System Restore option has now been running for about 6 hours but I’m not optimistic about its success.
According to HP, the Pavilion Dv2000 does include a recovery partition. To initiate recovery, you need to keep tapping the F11 key during initial boot stage, in the same manner as you would tap F8 to boot into Safe Mode. This will bring up a recovery menu which should include the option to “Restore to factory settings”.
This is probably your best bet to get the machine up and running again.
I have another question for you. The technician in a computer shop, where I go to if I have a problem, gave me a CD with Windows 10 on it. I bought a new one terra bite SSD hard drive. When I asked him how to install windows 10 on it, he told me to remove the interface cable from my C-drive, I have windows 7 on it and connect this cable to the new hard drive.
I do not understand how I can download windows 10 on this drive without a key. Or is this the same as downloading windows 10 on the same hard drive with windows 7? And what do I after? Connect the interface cable which is now connected to he new hard drive, to the old windows 7 hard drive? Then I can use the old drive for backups. If this is to complicated, then I still can download windows 10 over windows 7 hard drive.
Because the license key for your original Windows 7 is embedded in the registry, using the method suggested by the technician would prevent the Windows 10 installation from automatically identifying your original Windows 7 license key. It’s still possible to upgrade that way but you would first need to use a 3rd party freeware to locate and record your existing Windows 7 license key, which you would then be required to input, either during or after the installation.
Unless, of course, you still have your original Windows 7 license key, either displayed on a sticker attached to the machine or on media packaging provided by the original vendor.
Alternatively, you could upgrade to Windows 10 from within your existing Windows 7, and then clone the old hard drive to the new SSD: https://davescomputertips.com/how-to-clone-to-new-ssd/
It’s too bad PCMatic waited to publish this 4 days AFTER the “cut-off date”.
I was able to upgrade our laptop and desktop 2 days after the cut-off date on the 16th with no issues.
@ Marco – That’s good to hear. Thanks for posting this information Marco, appreciated.
@Thomas – There was no cut-off date as such Thomas. Just my educated guess that Microsoft might stop allowing upgrades from Win 7 to Win 10 once Win 7 was no longer supported. Apparently, that is not the case and Windows 7 users are still successfully upgrading. That’s not to say MS will keep allowing the upgrade indefinitely.
I updated an old (2008 vintage) self-built desktop yesterday (18th Jan) from W7 64 bit with no problems and it’s registered W10.
Thanks for the article – I was going on the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” policy on a machine that is used in a studio for specific tasks. On reading your piece, I then decided that I didn’t have anything to lose by at least trying to update. After using Macrium Reflect (free) to image the OS disk and preparing everything I could for driver compatibility, I was surprised that everything has worked with no issues at all.
Good to hear Andy. Appreciate you posting that information. Thanks.
Great article. I’ve also had many questions about whether or not it would still be free to upgrade to Windows 10, and just like you I’ve found as long as the Windows 7 product key is genuine, it’s automatically activated once upgraded to Windows 10.
Appreciate this info TechMD, thanks for posting. All these types of comments are a great help for other readers.
An excellent, very well written, and most helpful information regarding upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 SP1.
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