In this post, I'll cover the basics of how to install Windows 10 as an upgrade on older hardware. I'll also talk about the licensing issues involved, which are as always confusing. I wrote and published the first version of this post in early , several months after Microsoft's initial free upgrade offer ended. When I downloaded the Windows 10 upgrade tool and ran it on an old Windows 7 PC, I fully expected that the upgrade would fail activation and I'd be asked for a product key.
Over the next three years, I have repeated those steps on test PCs at regular intervals and confirmed that the free upgrade tool still works. As of March , I continue to receive email messages every day from readers who have continued to provide firsthand reports that their free upgrades were successful, with no purchase or product key required. A small number of readers have reported that the upgrade fails because of a Setup error or a compatibility block.
Here's why - and how to get it. Before getting started, I recommend a few preliminary tasks that can head off potential problems:. So, I reinstalled 7 a couple days ago, then upgraded again and it activated same as the first time. I'm going to try a clean install again and see what happens. I wasn't logged into a Microsoft account at all. Aside from not being mentioned in the FAQ, I was specifically told that you don't need to use a Microsoft account.
I did end up using the 'reset' feature and it wiped the drive, reinstalled, and activated with the exact same key that wasn't working for the clean install. In case if you lost it then there is no need to worry. As I said above in such a case you can use third-party software like ProduKey. In case if you end up selling your PC that had Windows 10 activated using a retail product key then it is impossible to find Windows 10 key.
But the good news is you can link license of Windows 10 to your Microsoft account with the new update so if you buy a new pc, then sign-in to your Microsoft account that had a product key for Windows 10 and activates it. Now find a section of Add a Microsoft Account section and click on Add an account and sign-in with your Microsoft account. How do I get Windows 10? 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?
How do I reinstall Windows 10 on my PC? Will Windows 10 work with the assistive technologies on my device? What do I need to know about buying a new Windows 10 PC?
How long will it take to upgrade my device? Bosna i Hercegovina - Hrvatski. Canada - English. Crna Gora - Srpski. Danmark - Dansk.
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While they might activate today there is no guarantee they will activate a month from now or whenever you decide to reinstall windows from scratch. This article is causing multiple conniptions among the Moderation team. There are very good reasons why, although tolerated from a couple of well-known sources like Kinguin, none of us ever encourage people to obtain keys this way.
It isn't illegal, so we don't sanction for it, but like I said, the tales of woe are too numerous to go unnoticed. At least the article makes no mention of "activators," which in most cases do represent outright piracy, not to mention the viruses and malware with which they are often laden.
Discussions of those are not allowed and are deleted, and sometimes offenders knuckles get rapped with a hammer.
Yes, doing this definitely constitutes a "Do at your own risk". If money is tight, run Win 10 unlicensed, until you can a get known legit key from someone like Newegg.