Get Your Free Windows 10 Upgrade and Keep Using Your Current Windows Version


Windows 10 logo, The words Windows 10 in blue letters on white background

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer expires on July, 29 2016. Here's what to do if you don't want to run Windows 10 right now, but want to take advantage of the the free upgrade before it runs out and still keep the version of Windows you're using now. (The free upgrade offer is available to anyone who is running a genuine version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.)

This article by Ed Bott outlines how to keep your existing Windows installation and still have access to the free Windows 10 upgrade, all free and legal. At its core, Ed says the process involves "claiming your entitlement under the free upgrade offer and then rolling back to your prior operating system. With that entitlement in place, you can schedule the final upgrade for when you're ready, even if that's after July 29."
This involves an upgrade to Windows 10, and then rolling back your system to it's current operating system (system roll backs need to be done within 30 days of the upgrade, when the roll back option disappears). The Windows 10 upgrade is tied to the specific computer hardware you use for the upgrade and is stored on Microsoft's servers, but if you're considering upgrading to Windows 10 in the future, grabbing a free copy of Windows 10 now might be well worth it.
Full details and directions are in Ed's article.
For more information on rolling back a Windows 10 upgrade, check out this article:
How to roll back your Windows 10 upgrade
(Thanks to our readers for their comments on rolling back the upgrade)

Since snafus have been known to happen even with mundane changes to Windows systems, making an image of your hard disk or backing up your files before making changes (in particular an operating system upgrade) is always a good idea.

How to lock in your free Windows 10 upgrade and keep using your old Windows version

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You could do that, although if you are not intending to move to 10 for some time the image would by then be out of date. I'd suggest you wait until you are ready to upgrade to 10 then download the ISO files current at that time and run it as an upgrade from within 7, it will activate from the digital entitlement and still be free.

I was really close to do what the article said. Thanks for the heads up. I looked for more info about the procedure and found a lot of people complaining. Windows 10 is not as friendly as the article would make you think.

It's like most things computer related - the majority of the time things go along fine, and then you hit a snag. Most of the well known Windows people I trust (Ed Bott, Woody Leonhard) have performed the roll back several times with no issues, but that's never going to be true for all users. This article about rolling back a Windows 10 upgrade is quite informative: