Anyone still using an older version of Windows should figure out how to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. That’s especially because the Home Edition still typically goes for $139/£119/AU$225, which is not cheap.
Getting that Windows 10 free upgrade may not seem within reach, now that Microsoft has let expire its free upgrade offer to Windows 7 and Windows 8 users. Yet, the actual tools for it are still available and fairly accessible. And, anyone wanting to make the leap can do so easily.
Why are you still able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free in 2021? It makes sense when you think about it. Microsoft probably doesn’t want users to switch to a free operating system like Linux or, more likely, stick with an older, unsupported version that leaves users exposed to viruses and hacks.
So, read on and let us help you upgrade to Windows 10 for free, whether you’re coming from Windows 7 or Windows 8, with this straightforward guide. If you’re getting ready for Windows 11, which is on the horizon, don’t worry as that is looking to be a free upgrade as well.
Is Windows 10 free?
Windows 10 has never really been free. In fact, with Windows 10 Home costing $139 and Windows 10 Pro a hefty $200, getting Windows 10 installed on your computer or laptop is going to cost you quite a bit of money.
There was a period of time when Microsoft offered free upgrades to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, but that time has long expired. Still, a loophole remains that allows you to get Windows 10 for nothing.
And, we suspect that Microsoft is keeping it open as it’s in the company’s best interest to get as many people on Windows 10 as possible. We’re sure that it’s keen to get people to move on from the unsupported, older, operating system to the new one.
How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free
Basically, the steps for upgrading to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are the same as when Microsoft was officially offering the update.
1. Check you meet the hardware requirements
To install the latest version of Windows 10, you’ll need to have the following:
CPU: 1GHz or faster supported processor (Here is a list of supported CPUs (opens in new tab))
RAM: 1GB for Windows 10 32-bit or 2GB for Windows 10 64-bit
Storage: 32GB of space or more
GPU: DirectX 9 compatible or later with WDDM 1.0 drriver
Display: 800x600 resolution or greater
Internet connection: Some versions of Windows 10 require an internet connection during setup.
If your Windows 7 machine doesn't meet these specifications you won’t be able to run Windows 10 – and even if your machine just meets the requirements, Windows 10 won’t run that well. We’d recommend at least a 2GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM (8GB ideally) and a 160GB hard drive for Windows 10 to run well.
Check out our pick of the best laptops for inspiration and buying advice on getting a new machine, whatever your budget.
2. Download the Windows Media Creation Tool
Next, download and install the Windows Media Creation Tool (opens in new tab) and select “Download tool now” under the section titled “Create Windows 10 installation media.”
Run the Windows Media Creation Tool, and when you reach the “What do you want to do?” section, select “Upgrade this PC now,” and follow the remaining steps in the tool. This will also give you the option of keeping your files and apps during the installation process. You can find more detailed instructions on this process here (opens in new tab).)
Enter in your Windows 7 (or Windows 8) licence key, and you should soon have a Windows 10 running – for free.
Click on the ‘Activate’ button if required and your PC will be activated with a digital license after it establishes a secure connection to Microsoft servers.
If you’re unable to obtain the license, you can also enter your Windows 7 product key and manually activate the operating system.