The free Windows 10 upgrade has been ongoing since the release of Windows 10 back in 2015. Since then, several speculations of ending the free upgrade offer has surfaced from various sources over the years. The surprising fact though, is that the free upgrade has remained ongoing long after the expiration of all the end dates that were speculated. Even more fascinating is the fact that the free upgrade is very likely to continue going forward as Microsoft hasn’t made any recent remarks on ending this free upgrade. Going by the current trends, it is very unlikely that Microsoft will end the free upgrade offer any time soon. The word “FREE” in this context means without the need to buy any licenses or product keys either from Microsoft or from some other third-party resellers. This is no hark, I have had several people asking if this is legitimate, and the short answer is an absolute “YES”. Microsoft allows you to legitimately retain your Windows 7 or 8.1 license key when you upgrade to Windows 10 in the way described in this article.
It is crucial to follow these steps accordingly so as to avoid ending up with an unlicensed Windows 10. By following these steps, not only are you able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free you are also able to keep all your files and applications after the upgrade if you chose to do so. If not, you can also chose to wipe everything entirely and have a fresh copy of a licensed Windows 10 at the end of the process. Well, what can be better?
So, before you go ahead with the upgrade, you want to make sure that your PC meets the minimum systems requirements for running Windows 10. This might sound like common sense but I’ve seen situations where people ignored these requirements and then the installation takes forever and afterward, they don’t get good user experience with their Windows 10, mostly it ends up being too slow for normal use. For Windows 10 to run effectively, Microsoft recommends the following hardware specifications:
|Processor:||1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster compatible processor or System on a Chip (SoC)|
|RAM:||1 gigabyte (GB) of RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit|
|Hard Drive Size:||16 GB for 32-bit OS 32 GB for 64-bit OS|
|Graphics Card:||Compatible with DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver|
|Display:||800 x 600|
You are likely good to go on the graphics card and display requirements because that hasn’t really changed from the previous edition of Windows. However, for the processor and RAM, I will recommend that you double up on these requirements for the effective running of Windows 10. On the system requirement page, Microsoft adds:
These are the basic requirements for installing Windows 10 on a PC. If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not have the great experience intended with Windows 10 and might want to consider purchasing a new PC”.You are likely good to go on the graphics card and display requirements because that hasn’t really changed from the previous edition of Windows. However, for the processor and RAM, I will recommend that you double up on these requirements for the effective running of Windows 10. On the system requirement page, Microsoft adds:
“These are the basic requirements for installing Windows 10 on a PC. If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not have the great experience intended with Windows 10 and might want to consider purchasing a new PC”.
So, going by these minimum requirements, you will likely manage to install or upgrade to Windows 10, but the performance might be almost unusable. Personally, I will recommend that you double up on these requirements, so at least a 1.7 GHz Dual Core processor, a 2 GB of RAM for 32-bit or 4 GB for 64-bit and hard disk space of at least 32 GB in all cases.
With that out of the way, the next thing is to check that you have a licensed Windows 7 or 8.1. Remember that this is a free upgrade, so you need to have a licensed Windows 7 or 8.1 to be able to upgrade to a licensed Windows 10. To check that your current Windows is licensed, simply go to your computer folder, and click on system properties. Then scroll down to where it says Windows activation. Now, if for some reason it still says activate windows now with certain number of days to activate, then you won’t be getting an activated Windows 10 at the end of the process. Here you should ensure it says, “Windows is activated” and that you can see this genuine Microsoft icon on the right end of the screen.
Next is to ensure that your laptop has been connected to the internet at least once since after you installed your Windows 7 or 8.1. Now, this is simple yet very important. By connecting your computer to the Internet, it automatically connects to Microsoft servers to acknowledge and register the activation of your Windows 7 or 8.1 and also to store your license. That way when you upgrade to Windows 10, then they’re able to transfer your license to Windows 10 directly via the servers.
Another concern for most people is the edition of Windows 10 they stand to get after the upgrade. Below is a chart showing what edition of Windows 10 you will get depending on what edition of Windows 7 or 8.1 you have currently running on your PC. The good news is that every edition of Windows 7 or 8.1 has at least one edition of Windows 10 you can upgrade to for free.
Next, you may want to back up your files before proceeding. This is important especially if you have very important files. Not because the process will wipe your files but because just like with any such upgrade, there might be chances of error and it will be more difficult to recover your files. Based on probability, I have made tens of such upgrades and haven’t yet had such error, but is always good to make a backup.
And now that we have all that in place let’s go ahead with the upgrade.
For that visit this Microsoft download page. On this page, click on the Download tool now.
After downloading, launch the media creation tool by double-clicking. Hit yes on the user account control pop up and wait for the Windows 10 set-up tool to load.
If you’re curious about the duration of the upgrade, I will say anywhere between 40 minutes and one and a half hours. This depends on several factors, such as your internet connection speed, your system specifications in terms of RAM and Processor, and of course the edition of Windows 10 you’re upgrading to.
Here you have the license terms, so click accept to proceed.
On this next window, it asks whether you want to upgrade your PC now or you want to create an installation media, here we will leave the option as upgrade this PC now and hit next to proceed.
Then it starts downloading your Windows 10 installation files. Now the Windows 10 installation files are about 6.3 GB, so it is advisable to download over a fast WiFi connection in order to quicken the process.
Here it asks what you want to keep after the upgrade. The default option is to Keep personal files and applications, so with this, you won’t be losing your files or data. However, if for some reason you wish to delete all files or applications, then click on Choose what to keep.
There you will find the options of either keeping your personal files only or keeping nothing. Here I will leave it as Keep personal files and apps and hit next.
With that Windows 10 is ready to install, so hit install to begin the process.
From here you just need to wait until you see the Welcome to Windows 10 page. During this process, your PC will restart several times, do ensure you have your power adapter connected to your laptop during the entire process because it might take a while and you won’t be able to check how much power you have left in the battery. Below are the various stages of the upgrade:
Next, you should have the welcome to Windows 10 page below.
Here hit next, then choose the privacy settings that suit your needs and hit next.
Afterward, you should land on your desktop with the following page.
To verify that you have a licensed Windows 10, simply go to your Computer folder, click on This PC, then on the Computer tab, click on System properties. Scroll down to where it says Change the product key or upgrade your edition of Windows, and click on it. Then on the next window that pops up, you should see the activation status of your Windows 10.
Here I have Windows 10 Home Edition, and under activation, it says Windows is activated with a digital license. So, we have successfully upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for free, the same process also goes for Windows 8.1.
Hope you found this useful. If you have any questions regarding the procedures, please post in the comment section to get more help. The video below demonstrates most of the suggestions discussed above.
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