The Free Upgrade to Windows 10 for Windows 7 OEM, Windows 7 Retail, Windows 8.1 OEM and Windows 8.1 Retail Users

Microsoft have stated that Windows 10 will be free to all Windows 8.1 and 7 users...

Do we have any information on how the download and key will be facilitated?

Update 31/07/2015 Instructions on Upgrading to Windows 10

Windows 7/8.1 to Windows 10240:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5IBXN_Xx44&feature=youtu.be

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/a-clean-install-of-windows-10/upgrading-to-windows-10/

Windows Vista to Windows 10130 to Windows 10240:

https://youtu.be/eeDx-wCWla8

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/a-clean-install-of-windows/a-clean-install-of-windows-10/windows-xpvista-%E2%86%92-windows-10-free-upgrade/

The initial upgrade to Windows 10 can be initiated via use of the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

Initially Windows 10 must be installed as an Upgrade over your existing Windows 7/8.1 or Insider Preview.

Your device will be registered as a Windows 10 Device during the initial upgrade from Windows Update. Essentially its hardware profile will be submitted to a Microsoft Product Activation Server.*

Failure to perform an initial upgrade will result in an unactivated Windows 10 Installation.

* Attempted direct Clean Install will lead to an unactivated install because the system isn’t verified as a Windows 10 Device. You will need to Reinstall your Base Windows License, update it and perform the Upgrade via Windows Update. In other words direct Clean Installation of Windows 10 won’t work but the Initial Upgrade via Windows Update and a Clean Reinstallation of Windows 10 will work. Initially I named my website DellWindowsReinstallationGuide as it was based on a Dell Windows Reinstallation DVD but the name is well suited to the procedure necessary to get a Clean Reinstallation for Windows 10. Clean Reinstallation = Clean Installation with Product Activation.

I will provide some information about the previous licensing scheme and the ability or restriction of downloading installation media. I will also provide pitfalls with each licensing scheme that users will encounter with the likely possible scenarios...

1. Windows 8.1 OEM

For a new UEFI/SecureBoot BIOS. Windows 8.1 product keys are embedded within the BIOS. A utility like RWEverything can be utilised to read them...

Hopefully Microsoft will take advantage of the fact that Windows 8.1 as BIOS embedded SLP keys and make them interchangeable with Windows 10 media...

If they done this and provided a direct link to a .iso this would facilitate moving from Windows 8.1 to 10.

If Microsoft do not provide a means of upgrading this way, users who purchased a system with Windows 8.1 with Bing or Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing and do not have recovery media will be left in a situation where it is impossible for them to utilise the free upgrade as the Windows Media Creation Tool does not accommodate these editions:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media

It is also a waste of time, money and effort to purchase reinstallation media to reinstall an old operating system in order to migrate to a new one. Especially when Windows installation media can detect that there was a genuine key in the BIOS.

Solution: Install the Windows 10 Insider with a Microsoft Account to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 RTM. Microsoft are not allowing new Windows 10 Insider Devices as RTM is being released.

2. Windows 7 OEM

Windows 7 OEM on the other hand utilises a generic OEM SLP key and cert file, input from the installation media. There are markers present in the BIOS for "Windows 7" however there is no unique product key residing in the BIOS. Moreover these markers do not have any distinguishability on Windows 7 OEM Edition. e.g. a Dell Windows 7 Home Premium Reinstallation DVD will install and activate on a system which came with Windows 7 Professional. The user will be incorrectly licensed but it'll work.

Their license depends on the COA affixed to the system however many/most COAs fade and users cannot get help from Microsoft or the OEM for recovering a faded COA. Therefore if the key on the COA must be used, many users will be stuck without help from the OEM or Microsoft.

On the other hand if a utility is required which detects the previous install. Users who went from Windows 7 → Windows 10 Technical Preview would likely have to Reinstall their Operating system in order to prove they had an original Windows OS. However it may be impossible for users who didn't backup their installations in advance using the OEM utility such as Dell Backup and Recovery, have a faded COA and don't have Windows 7 Installation media. 

It is possible Microsoft will have a utility that certifies that their BIOS was Windows 7 compliant (had the Windows 7 SLP markers) and then provides them with a new product key, as mentioned there is no distinguishability on Edition; would a user with a Windows 7 Starter License get the same Edition as a user with a Windows 7 Ultimate license? Likewise for Windows 8.1 it is also a waste of time, money and effort to purchase reinstallation media to reinstall an old operating system in order to migrate to a new one.

Solution: Install the Windows 10 Insider with a Microsoft Account to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 RTM.

Microsoft are not allowing new Windows 10 Insider Devices as RTM is being released.

3. Windows 8.1 Retail

Windows 8.1 Retail has the Media Creation Tool which works well for all Retail versions:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media 

An installer which prompt users to input their retail Windows 8.1 product key and issues them with a new Windows 10 product key would work. 

It would be better if the keys were made interchangeable (in a similar argument to the OEM license).

No current issues with Windows 8.1 Retail.

4. Windows 7 Retail

Microsoft's deployment for Windows 7 Retail has needed work. There are the Digital River .isos which worked well for almost all cases but omitted some languages. These were never listed as download links on an official Microsoft website however and had to be found manually and listed by Jan krohn:

http://heidoc.net/joomla/technology-science/microsoft/14-windows-7-direct-download-links

Now there is a new utility:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-recovery 

This new utility however has failed our preliminary tests on the Dell Community Forums:

http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/virus-spyware/f/3522/p/19615454/20720047#20720047 

It does not accept some retail keys from Amazon or from student discounted retail versions like software4students. If such a utility is used to issue the free Windows 10 Upgrade then many users will be misinformed about the free upgrade as it doesn't work in the bulk of cases.

Ignore the lack of Digital River .isos and the Microsoft Software Recovery Tool.

Solution: Install the Windows 10 Insider with a Microsoft Account to get a free upgrade to Windows 10 RTM.

Microsoft are not allowing new Windows 10 Insider Devices as RTM is being released.

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Sorry to Necro but this is a GREAT post

Do we have an answer on these yet?

A question I would like to have answered.  I do not want to do any upgrades, whether it is Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 OEM or retail.  Will users have an option to do a clean install? 
A question I would like to have answered.  I do not want to do any upgrades, whether it is Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 OEM or retail.  Will users have an option to do a clean install? 

We have some more information but not all the necessary information (so moderators don't mark this as an answer). I have put all I have gathered on installation (clean installation here):

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-windows/download-windows-10-technical-preview-iso/

It appears Microsoft have promised to provide a .iso according to their upgrade matrix:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/WinHEC/2015/OWD100

There has been no statement for product keys, how they will be issued and whether they be linked to a Microsoft Account for future clean installation with the .iso. This is particularly important after the first year upgrade as otherwise almost everyone will lose their product key. Microsoft could make the key one use only or remove the .iso and force users to pay for a new product key or/and a download link for reinstallation (its unlikely they would do this but due to the broken Microsoft Software Recovery Tool and previously flawed Windows 8 and 8.1 digital distribution I remain highly skeptical until I hear for certain otherwise).

There is still the issue that the Windows 7 Digital River .isos have been removed and repalced with the non-functional Microsoft Software Recovery Tool at least 6 months too early and users are feeling forced to install Windows 10 Insider in hope that Microsoft still deems their system as eligible for a free upgrade because they don't have a working Windows 7 recovery partition or Windows 7 installation media. These users concerns are still unanswered and there is also the number of users who will attempt the upgrade break their recovery partition and end up with an unbootable installation and essentially be in the same scenario.

There have been rumours about Windows 10 being free for Windows 10 Insiders to combat this however there has been BBC news articles stating it'll be free for pirates also. Again I'm skeptical.

There has been much support for this discussion on Windows Uservoice so also vote it up if you haven't already:

https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/7236772-windows-7-oem-to-windows-10-retail

Thanks much for the quick response--Hopefully this will all pan out OK in the end.

My laptop came with Vista. In order to get them to sell, Toshiba offered an update dvd as soon as Windows 7 was released. I was having problems with the windows 10 upgrade notification icon, so I did a clean install from the upgrade dvd. The conclusion is, point 2 above is not only valid, but offers another question. I purchased the laptop with the upgraded operating system in mind. Apparently all commands see it as either unknown or as Vista. I wonder if this has been thought out and dealt with.

A question I would like to have answered.  I do not want to do any upgrades, whether it is Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 OEM or retail.  Will users have an option to do a clean install? 

We have some more information but not all the necessary information (so moderators don't mark this as an answer). I have put all I have gathered on installation (clean installation here):

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/download-microsoft-windows-and-office/download-microsoft-windows/download-windows-10-technical-preview-iso/

It appears Microsoft have promised to provide a .iso according to their upgrade matrix:

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/WinHEC/2015/OWD100

There has been no statement for product keys, how they will be issued and whether they be linked to a Microsoft Account for future clean installation with the .iso. This is particularly important after the first year upgrade as otherwise almost everyone will lose their product key. Microsoft could make the key one use only or remove the .iso and force users to pay for a new product key or/and a download link for reinstallation (its unlikely they would do this but due to the broken Microsoft Software Recovery Tool and previously flawed Windows 8 and 8.1 digital distribution I remain highly skeptical until I hear for certain otherwise).

There is still the issue that the Windows 7 Digital River .isos have been removed and repalced with the non-functional Microsoft Software Recovery Tool at least 6 months too early and users are feeling forced to install Windows 10 Insider in hope that Microsoft still deems their system as eligible for a free upgrade because they don't have a working Windows 7 recovery partition or Windows 7 installation media. These users concerns are still unanswered and there is also the number of users who will attempt the upgrade break their recovery partition and end up with an unbootable installation and essentially be in the same scenario.

There have been rumours about Windows 10 being free for Windows 10 Insiders to combat this however there has been BBC news articles stating it'll be free for pirates also. Again I'm skeptical.

There has been much support for this discussion on Windows Uservoice so also vote it up if you haven't already:

https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions/suggestions/7236772-windows-7-oem-to-windows-10-retail

absolutely pointless when one wants to transfer the license to a NON test machine or VM .....

We have all (MOSTLY) used non final machines - we need a private full key for 10 Pro for ANY machine we chose to install it one. Without that - the Insider program is utterly pointless and degrading to users.

My laptop came with Vista. In order to get them to sell, Toshiba offered an update dvd as soon as Windows 7 was released. I was having problems with the windows 10 upgrade notification icon, so I did a clean install from the upgrade dvd. The conclusion is, point 2 above is not only valid, but offers another question. I purchased the laptop with the upgraded operating system in mind. Apparently all commands see it as either unknown or as Vista. I wonder if this has been thought out and dealt with.

Your system is Windows Vista OEM but Windows 7 RETAIL (Upgrade) so point 4 applies to you opposed to point 2.

Theres been some more information given out and I've put it together here which might help.

http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/preparing-for-windows-10/ 

Do you have the notification icon now?

will my Windows 10 32bit (OEM) licence key work for Windows 10 64bit (downloaded iso)..if I want to clean install and upgrade my architecture ... which key i need to put in order to activate Windows 10? 
What do you currently have on your computer Windows 7 or 8.1 x86 or x64? What is the model of your computer?
will my Windows 10 32bit (OEM) licence key work for Windows 10 64bit (downloaded iso)..if I want to clean install and upgrade my architecture ... which key i need to put in order to activate Windows 10? 

well, since Windows Vista, MS allows interchangeable licenses between the two architectures of the same version and edition of windows. Even i had a Windows Ultimate original Dvd, but it was 32 bit, i used the same key with an equivalent MSDN copy of Windows Ultimate 64 bit(downloaded iso), and it got activated successfully and automatically without any flaws. But if you have no idea, whether the key provided to you was a MAK key or just Single time use key, in that case its better to take a backup of your license activation using "Microsoft Toolkit" or "Advanced Token's Manager" softwares. (Both have not been developed for Windows 10 as of now, but are expected to be released by the end of August).

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Last updated September 17, 2020 Views 208,165 Applies to: