Microsoft admits you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free - here’s how

Windows 10 on a latpop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

If you’ve been thinking of upgrading to Windows 10, but didn’t want to pay for it, it turns out there’s another way. Several ways, actually, according to a Microsoft employee who confirmed that methods still exist to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

The Microsoft employee detailed how to go about getting the Windows 10 upgrade for free in a support thread (opens in new tab), addressing a user’s question if they could make the leap from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 at no cost.

The instructions provided by the employee are refreshingly simple, and there’s not that many hoops to jump through in order to get yourself the Windows 10 upgrade, should you want it. However, the employee was adamant that this free upgrade path might not be guaranteed to work, urging users to exercise caution.

How do I upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

First off, you’ll need to be using a genuine copy of Windows 7 or later. If, for some reason, you’re still using an operating system earlier than that, the upgrade unfortunately won’t work for you.

Once you’ve got that confirmed, head over to the Windows 10 software download page (opens in new tab). When you’re there, download and open the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and select the option to “Upgrade this PC now.”

Accept the terms and conditions presented, and make sure to choose the upgrade option that lets you keep your files and information. The Microsoft employee in the support thread warned that upgrading via a fresh install isn’t guaranteed to work, so be sure to stick to the former option to keep your files and avoid any potential risks.

After the installation has been completed, ensure your PC’s connected to the internet and open your Settings app. Scroll down to “Update & Security” and click on the “Activation” tab. Here, you can confirm whether or not the Windows 10 upgrade has worked. If not, there may be an “Activate” button you’ll need to click that will establish a connection to Microsoft’s servers to create a digital Windows 10 product key for you.

Finally, the employee in the support thread stated that if you’re unable to obtain the license, you can enter your existing Windows operating system product key to manually complete the upgrade to Windows 10.

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Rhys Wood
Hardware Writer

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Rhys has a strong love for all things gaming, including everything from triple A blockbusters to hidden indie gems. For Rhys, the highlights of the work are being able to test out top-notch gaming hardware, from controllers and headsets to VR and beyond. When he's not on the clock, you'll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14 and Sea of Thieves. Or taking massive Ls in Mario Party Superstars.