Description: This article will show you how to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft has completely discontinued support for Windows 7. This means that they will no longer offer any tech support or security and feature updates. You will still be able to use Windows 7 that already exists on your computer, however you will do so at your own risk. Just like with Windows Vista and Windows XP, over time your system will become at more risk of infection and should you encounter any issues with the operating system, you will essentially be on your own to fix it. This article will give you some general information about what to expect from this change, how to prepare for moving forward, and different options available to you for upgrading to Windows 10.
- Before anything else, back up your data. Make sure that any personal data or information that needs to be kept is saved before proceeding with any sort of upgrade or installation of Windows 10. Even if you do everything correctly, there is still always that small chance that something could go wrong and cause your data to be lost. For more information about pre-planning for a Windows 10 upgrade, refer to our support article: https://www.microcenter.com/tech_center/article/8268/upgrading-to-windows-10---before-you-upgrade.
- Check your specs. Depending on how old your computer is, upgrading to Windows 10 may not be a reasonable option. Older hardware is not always compatible with or capable of running Windows 10 in an optimal manner, and it might be better to just purchase a new system instead of upgrading and old one.
- According to Microsoft, the minimum system requirements for running Windows 10 include 1GB of RAM and a 1 gigahertz (GHz) processor. These minimums, however, would result in an extremely poor user experience. In practice you should have at least 4GB of RAM; 8GB is recommended. There are very few processors that would be less than 1GHz that were made after the year 2000, but having at least a dual-core processor would also be recommended.
- Some older hardware may not have any Windows 10 compatible drivers and therefore may not function correctly after you do the upgrade. For example, older wireless cards that do not have Windows 10 drivers will not let you connect to your wifi. Check the manufacturer’s website for your computer components to see if they have any Windows 10 drivers available. Even if you can’t see Windows 10 drivers on the manufacturer’s website, that doesn’t mean it won’t work. Windows 10 has a lot of generic drivers that will work with older hardware, but there are no guarantees.
- If you believe your system should be able to meet these recommended specifications, then the only other prerequisite would be to make sure you have a Windows 10 License. You can purchase a Windows 10 license through the Microsoft Store, or you can purchase a retail key at your local Micro Center location. Once you are certain that you have your license activation key then you can proceed forward with the upgrade.
- Upgrade Options:
Perform an in-place upgrade:
- Using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, you can perform an in-place upgrade to Windows 10 on your computer. It’s like downloading and installing a program on your computer. This option will preserve the programs and data already on the system, but we still recommend backing up your data before attempting this.
- You can download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft's website: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.
- When you run the Media Creation Tool it will give you an option to Upgrade this PC now. Select that option and follow the prompts.
- When Windows 10 first launched, Microsoft was offering free upgrades for many users, however that has not been available for a while. If your license is not already eligible for the upgrade, you will need to purchase a new license in order to activate Windows 10 after it installs. You can proceed with the upgrade but just be aware of the possible outcomes.
- The in-place upgrade does not always work for various reasons. If that is the case, you will need to either perform a clean install or upgrade install from installation media.
Clean install Windows 10:
- To perform a clean installation of Windows 10 refer to our tech article at: https://www.microcenter.com/tech_center/article/11085/how-to-perform-a-clean-installation-of-windows-10.
- A clean install means erasing everything on your system and installing a fresh version of Windows. This is the best option in terms of ensuring there are no strange problems or issues during the upgrade process.
Perform an upgrade install from installation media:
- Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft at: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10.
- Place the file onto at least a 16GB flash drive, then run it from the flash drive. Follow the prompts to create the installation media.
- Once the media completion is complete, restart the PC and boot from the USB flash drive. You may need to go to the BIOS or Boot Options Menu to select to boot from the USB flash drive.
- During the setup dialogue, be sure select Keep files and apps if you wish to upgrade and not do a clean installation.
- Follow the remaining prompts to install the Windows 10 Upgrade on the device.