• expired

Free Windows 10 Upgrade - Usually $225 @ Microsoft (Previous Installation/Licence Required)


Support for Windows 7 is now officially over, which means Microsoft wants holdouts to upgrade to Windows 10 to keep devices running securely and smoothly. If you have an older PC or laptop still running Windows 7, you can purchase the Windows 10 Home operating system on Microsoft's website for $225. But you don't necessarily have to shell out the cash: A free upgrade offer from Microsoft that technically ended in 2016 still works.

Here's how to get Windows 10 for free, if you're currently running a licensed and activated copy of Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 Home or Pro:

  1. Go to the Download Windows 10 website.

  2. Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download tool now and Run.

  3. Choose Upgrade this PC now, assuming this is the only PC you're upgrading. (If you're upgrading a different machine, choose Create installation media for another PC, and save the installation files.)

  4. Follow the prompts.

  5. When the upgrade is complete, go to Settings Update & Security > Activation, and you should see a digital license for Windows 10."

Above instructions/details taken from: CNET Article

Mod: As pointed out by bigjezza, a digital licence will not be deemed a legal licence, if using you are using this installer to upgrade without a valid windows 10 licence (from a purchase or previous upgrade). From Microsoft: "If you don't have a license to install Windows 10 and have not yet previously upgraded to it, you can purchase a copy here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-windows-10." For those who do not meet those requirements, install at your own risk.

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  • +3

    Useful information

    • -3


      • what are the chances of W7 being hacked tho, i'd like to load it on the legendary T420 daily once i can find a decent one

        • +6

          The chances increase as time goes on. New exploits aren't going to be fixed, and so it'll become more and more vulnerable. Windows 10 and Windows 7 have a lot of code in common, so some exploits discovered for Windows 10 will also affect 7.

          If you insist upon using it, either keep it offline or don't give it access to anything sensitive (logging into email accounts, banking details, social media accounts etc).

          If you want to actually use your computer, either run Windows 10 or an up to date Linux distro.

          • @JMC: thanks. What if I get Kaspersky, or at least run Malwarebytes / Bitdefender lol

            Yeah otherwise am interested to learn about Linux

            • +7

              @capslock janitor: The sort of exploits that they patch OSes for can often get around anti-virus/malware products as they function at a lower level, pretending to be the core OS system itself, whereas the Anti-virus/malware hooks in at a higher level. So you'd be better than without them but still no where near as safe as running Windows 10 or an up to date Linux distro.

              Honestly there's very few reasons for a home user not to update to it these days, there's plenty of guides to turning off Microsoft's overzealous data mining if that is holding you back, and UI wise it is pretty much the same unlike the 8/8.1 abominations.

              At most home users will run into some older device driver (especially in laptops) that are incompatible, and the installer will flag it and tell you you can't update anyway, letting you research the issue and figure out your options then (disable the device if you don't need it, or replace it with a newer compatible one).

              • @smashman42:

                if that is holding you back,

                just stupid.. sentimental things. I currently have a new W10 lappy I might pass on to bro when I find the t420 and i can muck about with
                I'm still bit mad mum chucked out my ~95 machine from back in the day

                • +1

                  @capslock janitor: I understand the sentimental nostalgia thing, though for me that's tied to old hardware so the daily would always run the latest patched up stuff. (Wish I had my old Amiga 500 or the family's first Pentium 120 still - hell, I gave away my Celeron 300a to a an auto mods company that needed an old rig to run their dyno, that was a big regret)

                  If you do take the plunge, do a fresh install so you don't run into problems. Ideally throw a spare/fresh SSD at it so you can plug your old 7 one back in if it goes pear shaped somehow, or if you can't do that take a backup clone of the system as it is with something like Acronis True Image or similar. Just don't do a fresh install on a spinning data drive cause going from SSD to spinning is painful.

                  • @smashman42: Were those 300A Celerons from the legendary batch that could be o/ced to 450/500MHz!!

              • @smashman42: So what about those who still use windows 95 and still connect online? How are they not hacked yet?! Or those who, well um, still on windows 2000 or xp? Could it be that those systems are so old that no one will bother hacking into it because all the good shit would obviously be on the newer systems and who even puts valuables on an old system, right?

                • +1

                  @Zachary: @highon2str yeah, mine was rock stable at 450 but a bit iffy at 504. If I still had it I'd try better cooling on it, was a bit hard with that weird slot form-factor they had back then. Can't even remember if the mobos let you screw with the voltages back then, it was all jumpers on the board not changes in the BIOS back then.

                  @Zachary - This is all speculation from a former general computer tech and lower level SME network tech perspective - the guy who had to fix all this crap for home users and small/medium businesses - not a proper enterprise infosec person that is on the bleeding edge of preventing it for huge corporations, so I could be totally wrong. Also I was medically retired around when Windows 7 came out so might have missed some newer developments or changes in the industry, though we're mostly talking old stuff which was my wheelhouse.

                  XP would still be a valid target cause of governments around the world still using it being a sweet thing to hit (the real target is organisations more likely to pay to avoid costly downtime & data loss, not home users who are only incidental targets), 2000 is still the same basic OS under the hood as XP so likely vulnerable to some of the stuff targeting XP (both Windows NT 5 variants). So These OSes are right in the shitty position of no security updates forever for home users, as well as almost nothing in the way of developments for 3rd party protection software as the majority of the business/govt userbase has moved onto 7. So definitely less protection but still some risk, even if it isn't as much as 7, 8/8.1 or 10, but more risk than 9x as it isn't totally dead in large target orgs.

                  95 and 98 might be getting to be antique enough to not be targeted any more as the underlying core OS is so vastly different, but who is to say the remaining active machines aren't riddled with stuff the owners don't know about? Someone could be spreading old stuff for shits and giggles too.

                  The types of attacks have changed a hell of a lot since those days too. Back in the days of those older OSes 95-XP the worry was all self-replicating worms spread through email or the web browser with malware/spyware and botnets being the newer kids on the block by the XP era. These days the malware/spyware and botnets are the old thing, conventional viruses are kinda dead, and the new hotness is ransomware.

                  TL;DR - XP and by extension 2K are still valid targets and not too old, 95 & 98 might be too old by now but not "safe". Find a lightweight still active Linux distro if you want to use older hardware online & consider loading old versions of windows into not net connected VMs if you need to run it for something.

                  • @smashman42: HMm, in that case I guess keep your 2k, xp, 95 and 98 installs with minimum amount of valuables to lose whenever you get hit with a ransomware….and make sure said computer isn't connected to the same network as your main computers or else the ransomware spreads there too….effectively have two networks working inside your household at the minimum I guess.

                    If you want to share stuff, burn on disc from main computer to isolated machines. But what if you want the other way around? I guess put it on a flash drive and scan the shit out of it to make sure it's not infected….

          • @JMC: but wot about the safety through obscurity argument people used for years as to why macintosh computers were invulnerable to viruses ( if not Trojans).

            • +1

              @entropysbane: With Macs, there was some truth to it because it was more economical to put effort into developing windows malware as you'd hit more machines for the same effort.

              The problem with using old versions of Windows is that people are going to be writing malware for Windows 10 (the dominant system), which may also work on Windows 7 due to their similarity. While Windows 10 will get patched to minimise the vulnerabilities, Windows 7 will just end up with more and more malware which can affect it floating around.

            • +1

              @entropysbane: Windows 7 will maintain a much larger percentage than MacOS still so there won't be much obscurity there. Still way more Windows programmers out there than Mac programmers too.

    • I wonder what happened to Windows 9.

      • +15

        7 ate 9

      • +9

        9 was skipped due to potential application issues for poorly written apps or installers that might think that version 9 meant Windows 95 or 98.

        • +4

          That's actually the best reason I've heard for why this happened, thank you

        • +3

          But Windows 10 would show up as windows 1 in this case.

          • +4

            @trinkasharma: No. MS Found there was plenty of variations of code from really old apps that had something like this in them to see if they were running on Windows 95 or 98.

            if(version.StartsWith("Windows 9"))
            { /* 95 and 98 */
            } else {

            How the else is handled would determine if the app worked if MS had used Windows 9. It's poor code but one of Windows biggest advantages is being able to run lots really old programs from decades ago still. The same code would have probably had a routine looking for "Windows_NT" for Windows NT 4.0, remember that Windows 10 is derived from the Windows NT 4 code and not Windows 95/98. Also Windows Vista, 7, 8 & 8.1 were actually Windows _NT version 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3. This again was done for compatibility. Windows 10 jumped the ver up to 10.0 to get in sync.

            • +1

              @Rockets84: Yeah… not true.

              Truth is, it’s purely a marketing exercise on what would “sound Like a strong brand”. Apple did not release an “IPhone 9” (don’t let IP SE 2 confuse you) and it’s a very popular thing to skip to 10 or X.

              The Kernel that ran 9x and Me is different under the covers and had not been supported for a while. Those legacy applications would not run on anything anyway, no matter what you’d call it. Again, don’t let “legacy compatibility” mode fool you into thinking it supports the old kernel. It doesn’t.

        • Why didn't they just name it the release year? Like Windows 2000 had? Windows 2001 for xp, windows 2006 for vista, windows 2009 for 7 …?

          • +4

            @Zachary: The intention is to stay at Windows 10 for an extended period. If they had called it Windows 2015, it would have already sounded like outdated tech even if they had released updates and security patches under the hood.

            • @RedSky: Well it'd have been consistent with past naming scheme….

    • +8

      Would Office 365 be unusable for one day during 2020 as a leap year?

      • Lol, I see what you've done here.

  • +23

    It has always been free.

      • +26

        It's been free for upgrade for people with disabilities (not that it has stopped everyone else).

        • +15

          Still being on Windows 7 could be considered having a disability =)

          • +6

            @Cheap Rich Guy: I think people whom are on 7 are mentally sound. Still not a fan of 10 personally. Would have been happy to pay alittle extra to keep 7 and have security patches

            • +8

              @Pharmacy: Windows 10 is leaps and bounds better than Windows 7 on all accounts. Unless people like living in the past and on and OS that is no longer supported, which is bizzare, it's time to accept the change for the better.
              My dad is 76 and made the move to Windows 10 about a year ago and prefers it, so I'm sure anyone can manage the upgrade if he can as he is not technically minded.

              • +13

                @DisabledUser110907: long live XP

                • +1

                  @Nugs: XP? Pffft

                  That's for newbies.

                  Windows NT 4.0 SP6a THAT is the one to live forever.

                  • @LFO: I like Dos 6.22/Windows 3.11. It takes 3 seconds to load on my i7.

              • +13

                @DisabledUser110907: Windows 10 is garbage. Stupid slow apps that take seconds to load (1-2 seconds to load a friggin calculator - what a joke), instead of programs on Windows 7 which would load instantly. Ugly UI with everything looking 2-dimensional and flat, that looks like it's designed for a mobile instead of a computer. No list of recent documents on the start menu. I could go on.

                Only advantage I see to Win10 is that the installation takes up less space.

                • @AussieZed: I can load the calculator instantly, not sure what your doing wrong.
                  It's fluent design is far from boring. What build number are you on?

                • -5

                  @AussieZed: Sounds like your computer is shit. Loads instantly on mine.

                • +2

                  @AussieZed: "Only advantage I see to Win10 is that the installation takes up less space."

                  till the updates begin, then it don't.

                  " Windows 10 is leaps and bounds better than Windows 7 on all accounts. Unless people like living in the past and on and OS that is no longer supported, which is bizzare, it's time to accept the change for the better."

                  Accept the change for the better? C'mon man, windows 10 is free for a reason. Windows 7 was a product you bought. Windows 10 makes you the product. Unless you got Win 10 Enterprise, your just a test bed. So little control. But hey, each there own right?

              • +10

                @DisabledUser110907: no it isn't, I run both on multiple computers and W7 is faster and easier to use, and as a bonus is less ugly.

                • @soob: On my Surface Book 2 I can load the OS from complete shut-down to start up within a few seconds. Happy to record a video and post if you want to see how fast it is for me.

                • @soob: I find visual reasonings so odd. Its Windows. It is so damn customisable that you can make Windows 10 look and feel just like 7… with the added benefit of modern security patches and better performance.

                  Also calculator is definitely instant in human terms. Its not truly instant, but the delay between me clicking the button for it or typing 'calc" and hitting enter is entirely a non-factor.

                  The only real reason to stick with Windows 7 is a corporate environment with hundreds or thousands of PCs where upgrading them all and maintaining program functionality is a huge task.

                  Personal computers? Just upgrade while you can for free. And then do 5 minutes work to tweak it to look however the hell you want, even like OSX if you care to.

          • +11

            @Cheap Rich Guy: Actually, Windows 10 is the one designed for people with disabilities. The UI looks like it's designed for obese people with very fat fingers.

            • +2

              @AussieZed: 'murica

            • +1

              @AussieZed: If you're having performance issues it's most likely your computer and not the OS, Windows 10 is infinitely better in every aspect. There is no reason that makes sense to keep Win7 over 10, as far as looks are concerned it is all semantics

              • +3

                @ColstonAUS: Nope, nothing at all to do with my computer which is a quad core i5 with 16GB RAM and an SSD. Here is an explanation regarding the slow load times, in response to another user who reported the same issue on reddit:

                "It's because the new Calculator is now written as a Universal Windows App. Since Windows 10 (and 8/8.1) are made to run on both tablets and desktops (as well as xbox and other devices), they have to have an isolated mobile component to run apps in, like Android/IOS have, with limited access to the system. Rather than the old winforms style of programs, which you could double click an exe and it'd run. The new universal apps have to be run inside a store app container, which is basically a modern/metro sandbox to isolate that app into. So when you open calculator, what it's doing is actually opening/loading the app container, then loading calculator UWA into it which can take a little more time than just executing the old winforms application."

                So, in my view, this makes Win10 worse than Windows 7. As a desktop user, why should I care about apps and making them accessible to tablets, mobiles, and xboxes? Every time I open one of these stupid apps, I have to wait much longer than I did in Win7.

                • +3

                  @AussieZed: @AussieZed - did you blow away 7 or over the top upgrade, cause a totally fresh install fixes most of the borked W10 performance issues. No way a quad core i5 with that much RAM & a SSD should be that slow on Win10, my daughter's Ivy Bridge i5 with 8GB RAM and a SSD is the same as it was on 7.

                  The sand-boxing might seem theoretically slower, but your system isn't shit so it should do it before you even notice it, unless something is borked of course, hence my over the top/fresh install question.

                  • +1

                    @smashman42: I couldn't do a totally fresh install. I tried, but the Win7 key didn't work. I had to install 7 first, then do an upgrade. I chose to do the "cleanest" upgrade though, that is, getting rid of all previous settings, etc.

                • @AussieZed: Your explanation doesn't explain why Calculator loads pretty much instantly on mine. Sandboxing shouldn't slow it down as much as you are describing (unless you are exaggerating). I agree with the other poster that something is probably wrong with your Windows 10 installation

                  • @Riker88: Fact: UWP apps run about 1000x slower than WPF apps. I have written identical app in both and run it to test. It's the sandboxing and resource borrowing stuff that makes it slow.

            • +5

              @AussieZed: Yeah. The Windows 10 UI sucks ass. Needs 3-4 clicks to get to settings I used to be able to get to in 1-2 clicks on Windows 7. Doing it multiple times a day on multiple computers turns into a pain in the ass.

              I use http://www.classicshell.net/ to change it back.

              • +2

                @Blitzfx: There's also another issue in Win10 where if you open an image using the default viewer, it will lose sharpness shortly after it opens. No explanation as to why this is - never happened in any previous version of Windows. Yes, you can use a different third-party image viewer to view photos, but why should you have to?

              • @Blitzfx: Which setting?
                Right clicking the windows icon bottom left of screen brings up a very useful menu: System, Device Manager, Disk Management, Computer Management, Command Prompt and more.

                I suppose Win 10 has annoying aspects but all of them did and you can learn to tame them if you want to. I've got a quick launch menu that works like XP's.

                • @The Magic Pudding: Didn't know about the right-clicking start menu. Yeah, those are some of the settings I frequently went to. I guess it's too late now. I probably won't remember to try it out on a new install given how unintuitive it is.

            • +2

              @AussieZed: "Windows 10 is the one designed for people with disabilities." Never a truer work spoken.

          • +4

            @Cheap Rich Guy: I don't understand this sentiment or the upvotes. I personally cannot stand win 10 and think it's the ugliest thing i have to use at both my jobs. Windows 7 is infinitely better imho and there's no way i'll be "upgrading" to win 10. I talk to others who feel the same way so i know im not a total outlier.

    • +6

      Technically you are correct. This process has also been available, I've personally used it for all these years

    • +10

      God I hate the hivemind. You're absolutely correct but have -5 votes. Elsewhere, someone says the same thing and they have +29.

      SBOB 1 hour 31 min ago new

      Free upgrade from windows 7 etc has been running since it came out
      Never went away, they just stopped explicitly talking about it


      • Incomplete link.

      • Never went away, they just stopped explicitly talking about it

        I'm pretty sure there was talk about stopping the free upgrading (even from Microsoft themselves) but it's never not worked for me, years after the fact I've always been able to upgrade 7's to 10.

        Edit: I'm posting this for proof of Microsoft saying they were ending the upgrade but again I've always had the upgrade work for me years after the announcement:

        Is the Windows 10 free upgrade offer still available?
        The Windows 10 free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app ended on July 29, 2016.

        How do I get Windows 10?
        You can purchase a full version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro for your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC. However, the best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. Today's computers are faster and more powerful and come with Windows 10 already installed. To learn more, view new Windows 10 PCs.

        Do I still qualify for the free upgrade offer if I've already downloaded Windows 10 to a USB drive, but haven't yet upgraded my device?
        All upgrades must have completed and reached the "Welcome" screen by 11:59 PM UTC-10 (Hawaii) on July 29, 2016; this is one worldwide point in time.


  • +9

    I can confirm this still works. I did it earlier today.

    • Yep, I have also just downloaded it on 2 computers in my household.

      • +4

        Out of interest, why did you wait so long before upgrading?

        • +12

          Someone told me the update was crap..so I decided not to go ahead. Then I saw windows 10 in action for myself and I liked it, but it was 'no longer free'. So I've been hoping for a free version to come out for a while. But a quick google came up with this.. So thought I would give it a go. No issues so far! :-)

          • +1

            @kimba88: I originally updated my wife's computer as soon as windows 10 was released. The first version was awful and we ended up having to wipe the HD and start from scratch with windows 7 again. After a week it wouldn't even boot. I am happy to say the later releases and current release seems to have solved every issue we had. We both use it every day without any trouble. It is faster than windows 7 for us too.

        • For me, it was on a PC used by my strata for accessing CCTV rather than a personal computer.

        • -4

          Have you used the settings app or any of the re-designed XAML UWP Frankensteinian replacements for their win32 predecessors? There's your answer, at least for me.

          • @daitro: Almost all of the settings elements are their in their original form. The "settings" app is just an App version of that with a front-end for a lot of previously buried menus.

            I'm finding it so weird that im reading some people with the legit opinion that they haven't upgraded because "Win10 apps are slow compared to .exe's". Yep, and everything else about the OS is faster. I don't think 50ms slower launch time for Photos or Calc.. the only apps built in that you'll really regularly use, matters.

            • @Valliance: Calc is always pretty snappy but you're best to install an alternative photo viewer and media player as the Photos app and Movies apps have super slow launch times.

              Opening photos in irfanview or windows live gallery is near instant compared to Photos app can sometimes leave you with a black square for over 5 second before even showing the photo.

              Same with Movies & TV app can choke up opening large movie files sitting there with some dots scrolling along the bottom for like 5-10 seconds before beginning playback. I use K-Lite Standard pack w/ MPC as the default video player it's much more snappy and way better subtitles support. Also MadVR render is best quality picture.

  • +49

    Free upgrade from windows 7 etc has been running since it came out
    Never went away, they just stopped explicitly talking about it


    • +1

      Seems like MS are kind of just content having people in the Windows ecosystem now, but still more than happy for you to pay for the privilege.

      • -39

        What ecosystem? They don't make phones anymore and no one uses a Surface.

        • +27

          At 600,000 sales a quarter, that is a lot of no-ones using a Surface.

          • -8

            @Tiggrrrrr: It's a lot of private school IT departments mandating their use over macbooks and iPads. No one in business I know has kept theirs.

            • +1

              @daitro: Better to mandate a Windows device at school than mandating a Macbook device that some schools have done. At least you can pick up a cheap Windows device for under $500.

              • @lechuck123: Most schools are shifting to BYOD. No system mandates beyond Office 365 at our school, and that is free through the school email address.
                MBAs would be the most popular at my kids’ school, followed by MBPs or HP spectres. Rich bastards. There are even a couple of geeks with MSI or Razor gaming laptops, that apparently are always running low on power, and I suspect will get bad backs.
                The surface seems less prevalent than they were a couple of years ago. Same at my workplace. They were seen as the next big thing, and then sort of weren’t. My workplace was really pushing them at one stage, but most people end up with HPs and ‘ugh’ Dell.
                Those that want a tablet at work go iPad. .

        • As much as it annoys me, Surfaces are extremely popular, and now with the Surface book 13 and 15 range, they provide more options with dedicated graphics for much more power than the original Surface 2 in 1 laptops provided

        • +1

          My entire family uses Surface devices and so does my workplace. I personally use a Surface Book 2 and it's by far the most reliable and well designed device I've ever used.
          Not that this has ANYTHING to do with upgrading from Win 7 to Win 10.

      • +3

        Have a look at where they make their money, it's not in selling Windows licences, it's all in the business sphere selling Exchange and SQL Server. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if their could-based offerings are starting to eclipse the business software now these days. They can literally give Windows 10 away and it won't make a dent in their profits (well, they kinda do anyway).

    • I wonder if anybody ever paid $225 to upgrade Win7 machine to Win10.

      • +7

        I am sure so called IT helpers would have charged elderly people wanting to service their pc …

        • +7

          I charge them because I cleanup all the junk toolbars, spyware, etc. And after upgrade install & configure open shell to give them win7 menu, hide unwanted extra buttons on taskbar, perform video driver update/install, install classic win7 games, create shortcuts to whatever they want on desktop, etc.

          The process of doing the upgrade and cleanup normally take over an hr. Add the travel time to their house too and you would be crazy doing it for free.

          Also have to troubleshoot compatibility with whatever random apps they have on there.

          • @Agret:

            after upgrade install & configure open shell to give them win7 menu, hide unwanted extra buttons on taskbar, perform video driver update/install, install classic win7 games, create shortcuts to whatever they want on desktop, etc.

            do your customers explicitly request this?

            • @AlexF: Explicitly request? Like they know thats what they want until someone points out what they will lose and what will change. They are more likely to agree they want those things when the changes are pointed out.

              • @Tuba: Sort of like a tradie padding out blank cheque of an ignorant customer. You’re a winner.

                • +1

                  @AlexF: LOL, the work is done… hardly padding out. You act like hes Centrelink and his service is part of the pension.

                  You asked a poster if their customers explicitly requested the service he provided when they very likely had no idea what would change therefore had no idea what to explicitly request. But they sure would have understood what they missed and struggled to navigate once he left if he didnt do it. He tells them he can make it feel and look very much like what they are used too, and they like the idea. Fact is, they cant do it themselves or he wouldnt be there in the first place.

                  You have a strange sense of entitlement.

      • I paid to upgrade three months ago. $4!! By the by, this was easily the quickest and simplest Windows upgrade I've ever installed .. :-) .. !! Zero issues or complaints after three months.

    • It's still not explicitly compliant with licensing.

      For a home user it doesn't really matter, but for businesses it is technically non compliant and would be an issue if you were audited.

  • +1

    Make sure to do an in-place upgrade so you do not have to enter any license codes again.

    • +6

      Of note for anyone interested, once you do the in-place upgrade, you can then do a full wipe and reinstall with windows 10 without any licence issues.

      Your win 10 licence automatically reactivates after a reinstall.

      It's good for those who want a clean install (or they want to reinstall at some point in the future).

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