It's not too late to get a free Windows 10 upgrade


Windows 10 logo

If you're thinking of moving to Windows 10, here's how to get an upgrade for free.

Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade when it was released. The free upgrade officially ended July 29, 2016, but upgrades are still available from Microsoft. Here's how.

Ed Bott has been monitoring the status of free Windows 10 upgrades, and as of October 31, 2018, Windows 10 is still available to anyone who wants to upgrade. All the details including current information on licensing and obtaining an upgrade are in Ed's article (link below), but here are the basics:
Go to the Download Windows 10 page and click the button that says Download tool now (this is the Media Creation Tool). Install the file, and choose whether you want to upgrade your PC now or create installation media.
If you plan to upgrade the system you're using, go with 'Upgrade this PC' now.
The second option, creating installation media, will save the file to a USB flash drive or save it as an ISO. The ISO option lets you install Windows 10 on any PC that supports it (note that Windows 10 licenses are tied to the hardware footprint of the machine it's installed on. Licenses can also be tied to a Microsoft account).

If you have an older PC and are wondering if Windows 10 will run on your system, here are the requirements:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • A Microsoft account and Internet access (you can bypass the Microsoft account option, see this article).

You can check for hardware compatibility by downloading and running the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant.  It will check your PC and tell you if your PC is compatible, but be warned: if your PC is compatible it will automatically start downloading and installing Windows 10. There's a 'Cancel upgrade' option but I had to click on the system notification tray (to the left of the time and date on the toolbar) and click on the blue Windows icon to open the screen to get the option to cancel the upgrade. You may also want to close it using Task Manager as it will keep running after the upgrade is cancelled.

If you plan on upgrading, it's a good idea to get the latest drivers for your PC before checking for compatibility or performing an upgrade. Windows versions earlier than Windows 7 and 8/8.1 can't upgrade.
Windows 10 has been known to replace device drivers from the manufacturer with generic Windows drivers, so checking drivers after upgrading is a good idea.

Check Ed Bott's article for all the details:

Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade

You can find more Tech Treats here.


Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
Average: 4.2 (25 votes)


To be blunt - there is no way on god's earth that I would willingly upgrade to WIN 10 (see the probs amply and accurately described below) BUT as another poster mentioned, sooner or later you're going to have to (or go LINUX...nooooo).

This is NOT to decry this article, it is a good headsup, but I would far prefer something on how to get hold of a particular OFFICIAL version of WIN 10 -

Windows 10 LTSB

in which it is said, there are no forced "ads" AND you can stop upgrades or delay them till a time of your choosing (recommended). However obtaining this version is problematic as, it would appear, MS wants to call a halt on user's who want genuine choice on how they run their PC.

I simply cannot afford a system that may be borked with no notice by the WIN 10 policy of forced upgrades.

I respect your decision not to upgrade, we all make decisions about what works for us and we're all different. Plenty of room for everybody at the table. :)
LTSB does seem to be problematic for non Enterprise users to obtain. There's some discussion about it's lack of updates being a security issue. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I've seen suggestions that O&O ShutUp10 can accomplish much of what LTSB does by default (adapt your security settings, protect your privacy, control location services, control Windows Updates, not pass on your user data and diagnostics).
It's a good program and has been written up here by Rob.
If you have to upgrade at some point it might be an option.
Ads can be disabled, for now at least, and some other annoyances/issues as well. 

I'm not suggesting that anyone upgrade, or not. That's up to each individual. My goal is to provide enough information so that everyone can decide what's comfortable for them and pass along any other information that might be of use.

I am saying that many of the concerns I've had about Windows 10 can be dealt with by changing settings in Windows 10 (ads) or third party software that has enough user history over time that I consider it reliable. Reliable enough that I would be comfortable moving my main system from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 if that's what I decided to do.
Microsoft has responded to some user input and made enough changes in areas of concern that those concerns aren't an issue for me anymore.

Updates are an issue for me too because of limited internet speed and data caps. Any Windows feature upgrade goes way over my data allowance and if that happens, my connection is throttled to the point that I can't easily retrieve email or load text only websites for quite a while.
My laptop has been running Windows 10 for over a year, and I haven't had any issues with updates being installed unless I choose to install them.

Other of us are happily running Windows 7 and will continue to do so for as long as possible, and that's ok too. :)


Those are valid concerns.
A few things...if you decided to upgrade, Windows 10 has a rollback utility that lets you roll back to your previous operating system as long as you rollback within ten days. Most, but not all, rollbacks go smoothly.
Creating a disk image before you make changes is a good idea. Backing up device drivers is also a good idea, and checking the availability of drivers (especially for peripherals like printers) for any new operating system before changing or upgrading is a good practice.

Many vendors, particularly printers for some reason, don't update drivers for older models. This has been the case with other Windows version upgrades in the past, so it's not a new issue.
Microsoft isn't responsible for driver updates and operating system compatibility, it's always been the responsiblity of the vendor to make sure their drivers are compatible with any operating system that they make drivers for. It's on us to check if there are compatible drivers when changing or upgrading operating systems. For example, many vendors don't have drivers for Linux, which is one reason I haven't migrated.
There were no drivers for my printer when Windows 7 came out and there were never driver updates to Windows 7 for that printer. It was get a new printer or not upgrade.

You can control what updates you want to get using Windows Update MiniTool. You can also defer major or version upgrades in Windows 10 settings. 
You can turn upgrades on and off and set some connections to metered using Windows 10 Update Switch.
You can block the ads that appear in Explorer and other places.

I'm not suggesting that anyone upgrade or not upgrade - I'm saying there are tools to manage most of the issues in Windows 10 that are problematic for most of us. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Edit: Windows 10 has a history of problems with updates - everything from making systems unusable to personal data deletion. Best practice is not to install the twice a year version upgrade until the bugs are worked out. We are the beta testers for Microsoft now - they get some feedback from the Insiders program but most problems are worked out after the upgrade is issued and the issues surface for many users. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8, and you are happy with your current hardware and software, I recommend you do not upgrade
There are no productivity benefits to be gained to offset the incompatibilities that can easily arise
Remember that Windows 10 will insist on upgrading you to the latest 2018 version
Microsoft wont then provide you a guarantee that your current hardware or software WONT STOP WORKING COMPLETELY
Have some hardware from 2014 that works perfectly? A new operating system four years later can easily render that printer for example, unusable
Hardware manufacturers want you to buy the latest hardware product, and often do NOT provide drivers for your old software or hardware.
Also assume that the update may erase some of tour personal files and documents. This may not happen, but again Microsoft cannot guarantee against loss of your existing photos, files and data. So before upgrading search your entire C drive for any personal files and make a copy of all these files
You have been warned !
Windows 10 is the future so we all will be using it soon enough. Just upgrade safely without regrets.

I have said for a long time, to avoid mandatory Windows updates. Similarly upgrading your current computer to Windows 10 has a lot of risk, for not much true benefit/productivity improvement
To show that my perpetual caution regarding Windows is well founded:

Google: 'Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update'

Microsoft has stopped distributing its latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update.
“We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” says Microsoft on its support site for Windows Update.
Microsoft has struggled with the quality of Windows updates recently.
The company delayed its Windows 10 April 2018 Update earlier this year over Blue Screen of Death issues

Windows 10 seems to be having more issues than previous versions for a variety of reasons.
Microsoft pulled the latest feature upgrade (1809) not long after it was released. It's still up in the air as to when it will be rolled out. Some issues with the 1809 feature upgrade include the deletion of personal files (documents and photos) and blue screen errors.
The Windows 7 monthly rollup was causing blue screen errors, so issues aren't confined to Windows 10. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is the reason I wait to install patches and feature upgrades (the Windows 10 twice a year upgrade that contains new features and fixes) until the issues have been worked out. I tend to run a release or two behind the current feature update for that reason. I've done the same thing with every version of Windows I've used, starting with Windows 3.1. I wait until new updates and upgrades get the bugs worked out and then install them. 

The monthly Office and Windows patches don't usually cause much trouble and this would be a good time to install them since the 1809 release is on hold.

My favorite places to keep up with what's going on with Windows is Woody Leonhard's column over at Computerworld, and Susan Bradley's Master Patch list at Woody Leonhard's website. If you want to know anything about the patches for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Server 2012, Windows 7 and Office, whether they are safe to install, any issues being tracked, their status and what they are patching, Susan is the best person to check with for the latest status of Microsoft product patches.

Thanks for those patch sites: it's good to know they exist if I ever need them.

I always take the latest updates but I am a confident user of Windows so most of the fears don't bother me. Over many years using Windows, the most intractable problem that I've had with taking the latest updates is not that an update causes me problems but that the update install does not complete and I've been stuck in a loop of repeated attempts to install.

I'm been running on 1809 since it was available for manual install. It has given me a few productivity and performance improvements which I am benefiting from. I would like to install it on my other computers but I had neglected to keep the downloaded files so I'm stuck waiting for Microsoft to re-release it.

After I installed 1809, I was immediately able to confirm that I hadn't lost any files because I use FreeFileSync to keep a local (i.e. on the same computer) copy of my files. All that I needed to do was to run the sync job to confirm that no files needed copying.

I'm glad that version is working for you and you didn't have any issues.
I'm going to give FreeFileSync a try, it looks good, and I like their "you're using an ad-blocker" message. :)