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.
- Save an image of your C: drive to a USB hard drive. I used the free version of Macrium Reflect.
- 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.
- 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.
- Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
- 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.
- Keep the USB flash drive inserted in the system, and run the setup.exe file on the drive.
- 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.
- After multiple restarts, your PC will have Windows 10 installed.
- 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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