Upgrading to Windows 10 for Free: Everything You Need to Know

When Microsoft rolled out its Get Windows 10 promotion, a lot of people took advantage of it. After all, getting the upgrade for free means not having to pay $120 for a Windows 10 Home edition or $200 for the Windows 10 Pro edition. That’s a lot of savings for anyone who needs a fast operating system but doesn’t have a huge budget for it. Unfortunately, that offer didn’t last long because it was only good until the end of 2017.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade

If you’re one of those who failed to take advantage of that great promotion for some reason, you’d be glad to know that you can still upgrade from Windows 7 and 8.1 to Windows 10 without paying a single penny. But before you get all giddy and excited, make sure that you meet all these free upgrade Windows 10 system requirements first:

First order of business: your existing OS needs to be legally licensed.

This is a no-brainer since Microsoft would never upgrade anything pirated, whether it’s for free or paid. Before running the free Windows 10 upgrade, make sure that your computer runs on a legally licensed version of Windows 7 or 8.1. Since this will be considered an in-place upgrade, it’s very important to know exactly what edition of Windows you have. Do this by simply opening a Run dialog box, typing Winver and click OK. You will see the Windows edition on the About Windows screen that pops up.

Depending on your existing Windows edition, you need to follow the right upgrade path.

If your computer is running on Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic and Home Premium or Windows 8.1 Home Basic, you need to upgrade to Windows 10 Home. On the other hand, if it’s running on Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate or Windows 8.1 Professional, you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Professional. Unfortunately, there are no supported upgrade paths for the Enterprise version.

Your computer should meet the hardware requirements to upgrade to Windows 10.

While most computers running on Windows 7 or 8.1 already meet the hardware requirements for Windows 10, some graphics processors may still be incompatible with it. The only way to know is to start upgrading since the Windows 10 installer will check your hardware. If it’s good to go, you can continue with the process. If it’s not, you have a choice to stop the upgrade or install a PCI-e graphics card on your computer.

Once you’re ready to upgrade to Windows 10, you can start by checking for any drive errors, uninstalling third party malware or anti-virus software and cleaning up your drive. Of course, you can’t forget about creating a  full backup of all your data just to make sure that you don’t lose anything if something goes wrong.

What Will You Leave Behind?

Migrating to Windows 10 means leaving a few things from your old OS. For one, Media Center will be replaced with the Windows DVD Player app, which costs $14.99. But you can always download the free VLC app instead. You also need to say goodbye to seven desktop gadgets including Minesweeper, Hearts and Solitaire.

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