Does the Windows 10 free upgrade expire? In 2015, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would offer a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1. You may remember that.
The main reason was to allow the use of new accessibility features in Windows 10 for those using assistive technologies.
Whether it was a strategy for Microsoft to allow as many users to install the Windows 10 version is not clear, but many people opted for the free upgrade, that is a fact.
Table of Contents
- Does the Windows 10 free upgrade expire? When?
- How to upgrade to Windows 10
- Wrap Up
Does the Windows 10 free upgrade expire? When?
Microsoft stopped (in theory) the free upgrade offer on January 16, 2018, and fixed a price tag for it. The free Windows 10 upgrade offer may be theoretically over, but is it truly over? Can you still upgrade for free, many years on? The simple and easy answer is a big yes.
Once you’ve done a Windows 10 upgrade, your PC is now getting free Windows updates forever. Your Windows 10 license, which is associated with your computer, is stored by Microsoft on their servers.
If you upgraded to Windows 10, but then you want to roll back to your previous version, you can do so, and still, you have your license that automatically activates Windows 10 for you.
How to upgrade to Windows 10
To upgrade to Windows 10, you can use the Media Creation Tool. Alternatively, you can opt for the Assistive Technologies option. Excited? Yes, but wait, this upgrade process might not be as easy.
If you’re looking to upgrade your old PC, we’re going to show you how to do a free upgrade to Windows 10 all by yourself.
Before you proceed with your system upgrade, make sure you have done the necessary preparations for a smooth and easy process. And this includes backing up all your important data.
Windows 10 upgrade checklist
It’s recommended to check your computer hardware specifications if you want to run Windows 10 smoothly.
Here are the minimum Windows 10 hardware requirements to ensure you avoid any technical issues during the process:
- 1 GB of RAM (32-bit version) and 2 GB of RAM (64bit version);
- Minimum 1 GHz CPU;
- Minimum 16 GB storage space (32-bit version) or 20 GB (64-bit version);
- DirectX compatible graphics card and a WDDM 1.0 driver.
Backing up your Windows 7/8/8.1 data ensures you can retrieve your files and folders if the process goes wrong. Again, since you’re migrating to a new OS, transferring your files to a new space ensures you don’t lose important data.
You can back up your files to an external hard drive or to cloud storage. We recommend using a full system backup to an external hard disk or using the built-in Windows 7 or Windows 8.x backup program. However, backing up on an external hard drive or cloud storage is the better option compared to the built-in backup and restoring function in Windows.
You might consider uninstalling third-party security software and other system utilities that could interfere with the process. You can reinstall them after the upgrade is successful.
It may be also helpful to disconnect any unnecessary external devices like external hard drives, USB flash disks, printers, and other peripherals since they can contribute to installation errors.
Windows 10 upgrade using Media Creation Tool
Bear in mind that this free upgrade offer works only if your computer currently runs on a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 version. If you’re using Windows 8, we suggest you get a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 first, then upgrade to Windows 10.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Access the Windows 10 download section on Microsoft’s Windows 10 website and click on the “Download tool now”;
- Download and run the Media Creation Tool;
- Accept the terms and conditions by clicking “Accept”;
- When on the section to create Windows 10 installation Media, select “Upgrade this PC now”.
Depending on your hardware, the process usually takes about 1 hour. Going through this option downloads the most recent version of Windows 10 available at the moment.
If you want to do a Windows 10 upgrade on another PC, choose the second option. This also applies just in case the current upgrade on your computer fails. The installation files will be saved to a USB drive or to an ISO file.
- You can omit the step for downloading important updates and do it later. Choosing “Not right now”;
- Windows will then configure your PC by fetching necessary updates;
- When you get to the “Ready to install” screen, three options become available. We recommend you select “Keep personal files and apps”. Then click “Install”.
Follow the instructions and prompts on the screen to complete the process. Have in mind the whole process can take a while. Also, your computer may restart several times during the installation.
After you finish installing, connect to the internet and check whether your Windows 10 installation is active.
Go to “Settings” > “Update and Security” > “Activation”. If it’s active, all your apps and data file should be available.
Your Windows 10 should now be ready to run!
Microsoft states on their website that you will need to enter a valid product key during setup for the tool to work. But it has commonly happened that it doesn’t ask for the product key, is automatically activated with a digital license.
If your upgrade fails the most common causes would be setup errors or a compatibility block. When you’re done installing, you can now download, or install your anti-malware software, and connect your external storage devices and other peripherals.
Upgrading to Windows 10 using assistive technology function
The assistive technologies upgrade offered on the Microsoft website is still active and functional. You can use this option by visiting the “Windows 10 free upgrade for customers who use assistive technologies”.
Microsoft doesn’t check if you have enabled assistive technology on your PC for the upgrade. Just like the other way to upgrade we mentioned above, it also only works if your computer is currently running on a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 version.
Here’s how to do it:
- Click the “Upgrade now” option and then download the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant program from the Microsoft website;
- Double click on the Windows 10 Upgrade program that you’ve just downloaded;
- Click “Accept” to agree to terms and conditions;
- Files begin to download and the Windows 10 installation automatically begins;
- Click “Restart now” or “Restart later” to complete the process.
It’s amazing that even after the expiry for Windows 7 support at the beginning of 2020, the free upgrade is still accessible.
You can still upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 and get yourself a digital license for the latest version of Windows 10.
What we don’t know is how long it will take before Microsoft shuts off this free upgrade possibility.
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