Software giant Microsoft released Windows 10 in 2015 and the operating system (OS) was released as a free upgrade by the company. Microsoft decided to release the OS as a free upgrade with an aim to move users to the new Windows 10 OS which was meant to get free upgrades forever in the future. But the free upgrade was available for a limited time and ended about 4 years ago.
After the end of the offer, Microsoft either forgot or deliberately did not take step to close the activation servers leading to users upgrading to Windows 10 for free years after the initial offer expired.
To upgrade to Windows 10, you will need to do the following:
– Backup all your important files, ideally off the computer. You can use an external drive or use cloud storage like OneDrive.
– Uninstall old software and security utilities as those are known to cause issues. Don’t worry, you can reinstall them once the upgrade is complete.
– You will need around 5 GB of bandwidth to download the upgrade and the drivers.
– You should also go to your manufacturer website and grab some drivers, especially for network and Bluetooth and storage drivers. These can act as a backup in case Windows 10 doesn’t install the basic drivers automatically.
-Get two different USB drives- one for Windows 10 and another for your drivers.
-You should also remove the drives that will not be used during the upgrade. This is not necessary but recommended.
-Find your product key. For older laptops, this should be in the form of a sticker on the bottom of the laptop. If you bought it separately then it should be in the Windows box or on your email depending on how you bought the license. If you can’t find it then open Command Prompt as administrator and run “wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey” command. This should fetch your product key. Keep it somewhere safe in case you need it for activation.
-Once you are prepared, download Microsoft Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and run it.
-Click Upgrade this PC to start the compatibility check. There’s a chance that some of the programs might not be compatible with Windows 10. You will need to uninstall those to proceed to ensure the update is installed without problems.
-Once all that is done, the Media creation tool will start the Windows 10 download and install it.
-After installation, go to Settings>Update and Security>Windows Updates and download the latest updates and drivers.
This is the best way to install Windows 10 on your old computer. However, if you’re upgrading someone else’s computer or have to upgrade multiple computers then you can follow the steps below. This method will require a USB drive.
-Start with downloading Windows Media creation Tool.
-Once done, open it and instead of selecting upgrade this computer, select the second option (create installation media).
-Plug in your USB drive and select it in the Media creation tool.
-Let the tool download Windows 10 on to the USB and create a bootable drive.
-You can now plug in the drive into any computer that supports Windows 10 (and is running Windows 7 or above).
-Open File Explorer and double-click on the USB drive. Now open Setup to run the Windows 10 update. The process to upgrade to Windows 10 is the same as the first method.
Do note that you can’t upgrade to Windows 10 by booting using the USB stick so you will need to log into Windows and upgrade via File Explorer.