How To Get A Windows 10 Upgrade For Free


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When Windows 10 was released, most computers running a valid copy of Windows were eligible for a free upgrade. The upgrade offer officially ended in July 2016, but you can still get a copy of Windows 10 for free.

If you have a PC running a genuine version of Windows 7,8, or 8.1 and want to upgrade to Windows 10, follow the steps in this article by Ed Bott for a free upgrade.

When Windows was first released, Microsoft's upgrade tool (GWX) was delivered via Windows Update to eligible computers. The free upgrade offer officially ended July 30, 2016, and the upgrade tool was removed. Now, using the Media Creation Tool from the Windows 10 download site, you can choose to upgrade your PC immediately or download a copy of the latest version of Windows 10 to install later. Download the file to a USB flash drive, a DVD, or as an ISO file to your hard drive. You'll need roughly 4GB of space for the 64-bit version, and about 3GB for the 32-bit version.

Windows 10 licenses are tied to a specific device. If you want to reformat and do a clean installation, you don't have to worry about activation or license keys. If you have a Microsoft account and it's active on your PC, the digital license will be linked to your Microsoft account automatically. If you use a local account and have a Microsoft account, you can link the license to your Microsoft account by following the steps here.

 It's unknown if Microsoft will change the current status, but Ed has been testing this from earlier versions of Windows to July 2018 and it still works. 

Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade

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If you have been involved the computing industry long enough (and most who have commented here are in that group), you would know to treat all industry press releases with due scepticism
The ultimate lesson is that Microsoft does not have your interests at heart
Of higher priority are Microsoft profit margins, and Windows 10 Enterprise customers
Subscription charges both for Windows and for Office are inevitable

With due scepticism therefore, its laughable to read this Microsoft release:
"Microsoft Managed Desktop will charge a monthly fee to configure computers running Windows 10 and keep them running smoothly as new updates are released."
But what about your existing installed software, and device drivers for older hardware that you still use ??

I can assure you, no subscription will help you when a new update renders some of your existing software or hardware nonfunctional
- there is no way that Microsoft will ever review your current installed hardware and software, and work to maintain your current setup
- there is 100% chance that future Windows updates will stop older programs and devices from working
- you know your favourite printer or software (that is no longer being updated) that was installed over 3 years ago ?
It can be irreversibly rendered nonfunctional with a new Windows 10 update

When a new Windows 10 update is released, have a read of the untold number of useless features which do not improve your productivity, but which can potentially conflict with your current hardware/software setup. Im talking Feature updates, not Security updates

Key points
- if all you do is create Office documents, browse the internet, read your email, watch audio/video, and play video games
then new Windows 10 Feature updates, dont necessarily improve your productivity over your current Windows 7/8/10 version
- paying a regular subscription to use Windows 10 will be inevitable in the future
- the industry secret is that there IS a version of Windows 10 which only receives security updates.
This is the ideal Windows 10 version to have, not the one with all the unnecessary "Feature updates"
- the Enterprise LTSB is a long-term support version of Windows 10 Enterprise released every 2 to 3 years.
It is supported with security updates for 10 years after their release, and intentionally receive no feature updates
The 2019 release of this edition is expected to be called Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC

- using the 'free' Consumer version of Microsoft means you are running the beta version
meaning Microsoft will continually update your computer to trial their latest tweaks (Feature updates)


Until this happens, I am quite happily running Windows 7, and I use a number of utilities to stop Microsoft from updating my computer to Windows 10

Just for info, if you have an old media creation tool, it probably won't work, I tried one I had downloaded last year and I had to go to the download page and download the latest one "MediaCreationTool1803.exe". There is a EULA before the user will get to the two options

That makes sense. They would want the latest Windows 10 version tied to the Media Creation Tool.

With the recent reveal that microsoft plans to start testing monthly subscription charges "currently only for business customers"....yeah CURRENTLY....I wouldn't be so quick to give up those win 7 and 8 versions.

I hang on to my older versions. And there's always Linux, if you don't mind the learning curve.
What I find interesting about that article is this"...the company will soon launch ‘Microsoft Managed Desktop’ which will charge a monthly fee to configure computers running Windows 10 and keep them running smoothly as new updates are released."

The wording specifies that they will configure computers, and keep them running. They've formed a new team to do this through new called the Microsoft Managed Desktop. Focused on businesses right now. That's where the fee will come in. How Microsoft will segue that into charging monthly fees to consumer level users is unknown.

It doesn't say what happens if you don't want Microsoft to configure your computer(s) and keep it running smoothly. Will it be mandatory to use the service, or can anyone opt to not allow Microsoft configure your computer?


Yeah the problem is I'm pretty sure that once you activate a win 10 license those old win 7 and win 8 keys are no longer valid for install. You don't GET the option of keeping both. I still have a win 7 htpc that records my tv shows using Media Center and don't see giving it up any time soon. Ironically almost all my other computers DO run linux and have for a while now. If you have to have a few windows apps it's pretty easy to run windows in virtualbox on the linux pc with any modern hardware. There are still distro's like bodhi linux, lxle and others that will restore old hardware to new life.

That's a good point. I'm assuming you're talking about systems that come with Windows pre-installed, with a product key?
I build my own systems, so I should clarify that the older versions of Windows that I have are (valid, licensed) installation CD's that I purchased. They aren't attached to any hardware.

I installed Windows 10 on my desktop, then re-formatted the disk and did a clean install of Windows 8.1 with the disk and product key with no issues.

That said, I was able to delete a Windows 10 installation from my laptop and do a factory restore of Windows 8.1 and it worked fine.

I've used Advanced Tokens Manager to back up and restore the activation data for Windows and Microsoft Office on Windows 7 and 8.1. It may work with pre-installed systems. (I run Advanced Tokens Manager right after installation finished, and wasn't connected to the internet at the time to prevent any confusion with online activation)
Advanced Tokens Manager 3.5 RC5


This sounds too good to be true.. should try it on one of my friends/relatives computers, still running old Windows :D.

Why are you not running Linux?

That is a multi part answer. :)
- I haven't found a distro I really like that would make transitioning relatively seamless (I've tested 8 or so). Drivers have been an issue.
- Much of what I write here has to do with Windows or requires Windows so I can test it
- I don't like to dual boot. Some dual boot set ups have worked for me but some go south and I have to wipe the drive and reinstall from a disk image. Not hard, but time consuming
- I don't have the time and energy right now for the learning curve a new OS and the programs it runs needs
(and email.....I haven't found a Linux email client I like. Thunderbird is ok, Mailspring looks promising)

I'll move to Linux when it's time. :)

Transitioning from Windows to Linux is like coming out of a dark cave and seeing the light for the first time. :)

Granted any type of change involves a time investment but this is easily achieved without dual booting via a virtual install or spare machine.

Linux driver issues were mostly related to NVIDIA and wireless cards but now it is only the former that still causes any real issues but most of these have solutions in the forums.

Mail clients are as personal as browsers but Thunderbird, Evolution and Claws tend to cover most needs. Windows clients such as eM Client and others work with Linux using Wine to varying degrees.

Overall, the time you will save from Windows updates, Windows software updates, cleaning and security will be time better used on Linux.

If you let me have your machine specs I can possibly recommend some suitable distros you haven’t yet considered.

Thanks MC I'll do that.

Ed tested it out some different computers with success. After the official date the offer stopped, Microsoft kept the option open for anyone who used any of the Ease of Access tool. If you used the magnifier you qualified and got the free upgrade.

Yea, I know about that one. But haven't tried that.

It disappeared a while ago.