How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10

If you’re still holding on to Windows 7, you really should consider upgrading your PC to Windows 10 soon. End of Support for Windows 7 is set to end on January 14, 2020, and upgrading to Windows 10 will ensure that your PC is safe from security threats like viruses and malware.

Microsoft once had a free upgrade process to Windows 10, but, unfortunately, it has ended. However, there are still a few ways that you can upgrade your Windows 7 PC to Windows 10. In this guide, we’ll help you get the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft, all while keeping your PC safe and secure.

Step 1: Buy a Windows 10 license

Microsoft

The first step in this process is buying a Windows 10 license. As Windows 7 users can no longer upgrade to Windows 10 for free, you’ll need to buy a Windows 10 product key through Microsoft or any other authorized retailers. You also can try to get Windows 10 for free, if you meet the requirements to avoid paying the below listed prices.

Currently, you can buy Windows 10 Professional for the price of $200 over at the Microsoft Store You also can Windows 10 Home for cheaper at $140This is a nice option if you’re budget-conscious and don’t need features like Windows Sandbox or Bitlocker.

Step 2: Create a USB installer for a clean install, or choose to upgrade with the Windows 10 Media Creation tool

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If you’re choosing to buy Windows 10 through Microsoft, you’ll notice two options. You can download the operating system to your machine as an ISO file, or you also can choose the USB option. If going with this USB option, you will have a copy of Windows 10 mailed to your home. This is an excellent choice if your internet connection isn’t stable enough for the 4GB download.

The download option, meanwhile, lets you create an installation media on a CD or USB on your own so you can completely erase your hard drive and “clean-install” and upgrade to Windows 10. You also can also double click the ISO file to mount it and open the Setup.exe file in the folder to proceed. However, if you choose to have an install USB is delivered, you can still do the same, as we’ll describe later.

We actually have a separate guide that explains how you can do that “Clean-Install.” Basically, once the media is created, you’ll be able to tweak your BIOS settings so you can boot from the installer, and follow its step by step guide.

However, regardless of which way you buy, you’ll likely get a product key in an email. If you’re interested in just upgrading your existing Windows 7 installation without having to erase, then continue on to the next step. This is a much more simple process and is a lot less foolproof.

Otherwise, follow our linked guide above.

Step 3: Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool or open Setup.exe from your USB

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The simplest method of upgrading to Windows 10 is to download and open the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Or — if you’ve purchased a Windows 10 USB — open the USB-drive in Windows Explorer and click the Setup.exe file. In both cases, you should notice that whenever the window is open, there should be an option that says Upgrade this PC now. 

Click that option and follow through the prompts. If you’ve obtained the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft online, it will need to download Windows 10 first. If you’re using the USB, there won’t be a wait.

Either way, you’ll see a few prompts. One prompt will let you know about problematic apps or services that might conflict with Windows 10. It’s up to you to address these issues.

At some point, you also might need to put in the product key that was emailed to you. Depending on your situation, it might not show up at all. But in most cases, you’ll need to input the key, if it’s not automatically pulled from your Windows 7 machine.

Step 4: Wait while your PC upgrades, and then check for driver conflicts

Now that you’ve entered your product key, you can just sit back while your PC upgrades. A typical upgrade will take roughly an hour, depending on your CPU speed and how old your PC is.

When it is finished, you might want to head into Device Manager in Windows 10 and make sure your hardware is being read properly by the new operating system. You can do this by right-clicking the Windows Logo and choosing Device Manager. Click through each of the categories, and if you see anything with a yellow (!) then right-click it, and choose the Update Driver option. Windows will then search the internet for the right driver, and attempt to install it. If you’re noticing too many missing drivers, then your PC might not be compatible with Windows 10, and you might need to buy a new desktop or a new laptop.

Once everything is right, we do have a few tips for you. You can tweak Windows 10 to look like Windows 7, and you can also check out our guide on how to use the new operating system.