You can Still Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10

The sun has set on Windows 7. It is time to update to Windows 10. Photo credit: Michael Lind
The sun has set on Windows 7. It is time to update to Windows 10. Photo credit: Michael W. Lind

Microsoft issued its last official updates to Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, but you can still update your Windows 7 system to Windows 10 at no cost.

I have a tower PC that I built in late 2010. When I built it, I installed Windows 7 Pro. With the end of support date in the far-away year of 2020, I figured that the hardware would surely die before Windows 7 Pro was no longer supported. Surprisingly, the hardware kept chugging along. As January 14th approached, I debated whether to retire the system to my pile of obsolete hardware that I call my computer museum. Based on an article that I read, I decided to keep the hardware as a production system and attempt an in-place upgrade. Here is the process that I followed.

  1. Save an image of your C: drive to a USB hard drive. I used the free version of Macrium Reflect.
  2. Disconnect the USB hard drive with your C: drive image from your computer. You should not need it, but you can’t be too careful when you are upgrading Windows.
  3. Make sure that you have your Windows 7 product key handy. You can use ProduKey to determine what the key is if you don’t have a hard copy of your key. Make sure that you have an offline copy of the key. I didn’t need my key, but you can’t be too careful when you are upgrading Windows.
  4. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
  5. Run the Media Creation Tool to write the media to a USB flash drive. Your drive will need to hold at least 8 Gbytes of data.
  6. Keep the USB flash drive inserted in the system, and run the setup.exe file on the drive.
  7. Run through the Windows 10 installation wizard. it will tell you if you have enough free disk space on your C: drive. I had 83 Gbytes free and didn’t have any issues.
  8. After multiple restarts, your PC will have Windows 10 installed.
  9. Verify that Windows 10 is activated by going to Start -> Settings and searching for activation. You should see this statement:

That is it! I was a little worried about weird system behavior after an in-place upgrade, but so far everything is working great! I have had no driver issues. I am in the process of verifying correct operation of all of the programs on the system, and so far I have found only one old motherboard fan speed utility that wouldn’t run.

If you still have an old Windows 7 system and don’t want to put it out to pasture, give this procedure a try!

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