Will the Free Upgrade Continue? – Windows 10 RS1 Insider Preview 14383 and 14393 Builds Still Accept Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 OEM Keys

I made a Recovery Drive of Windows 10 14383 from my Latitude 7350 and clean installed it on an OptiPlex 390 system which has never been made a Windows 10 Pro Device:

I then used the OptiPlex 390's Windows 7 OEM Key to activate Windows 10 RS1 Insider Preview.

I have completed the same test with build 14393. There isno audio here as the results are identical:

Notes: As we have everything updated in these Insider builds to match the final release in order to stamp out the last bugs – this includes the license agreement, Edition and lack of watermark. Then we can say for sure that as far as the Operating System is concerned Unused Windows 7 OEM keys are still accepted. Any changes to Product Activation are not incorporated into the installation media but this not rule out changes in the Microsoft Product Activation Server.

My personal opinion is the Free Upgrade will continue after the 29th of July… Windows 7/Windows 8.x keys are too embedded into Windows 10 and the deliberate breakage of product activation without time for testing on an Insider Preview build is a really silly move for Microsoft.


10 Days until 1 Year Free Upgrade Grace Period is Over…

You have less that 10 days to register your systems hardware with a Microsoft Activation Server and make your system a Windows 10 Device if you haven't already done so…

After this date you "may need to pay full retail price" to Upgrade to Windows 10 when Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 approach End of Life (2020).

Its advised to Backup your Windows 7 or 8.1 Installation using Macrium Reflect so you can easily revert if need be. Before upgrading you should Update your (UEFI) BIOS. You then can then Upgrade to Windows 10 TH2. After the Upgrade you may Restore your old Windows Installation using your Macrium Reflect Image.

Alternatively you may backup your files and Clean Install (recommended particularly if you plan to migrate). See Download Windows 10 TH2 and Clean Install.

I have bought several second hand Windows 7 OptiPlex 390/790/7010 models this week that aren't yet upgraded to Windows 10. I plan on using these to see if the Free Upgrade will continue to work after the 1 Year Free Upgrade period. I will report my findings…

Upgrade Assistant and Media Creation Tools

Some of the Media Creation Tools are giving a 404 error… The most problematic ones are the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (needed for Windows Vista and Windows XP systems) and Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool.

Windows 10 Product Family

Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool -ok

Landing Page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10  

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691209

File name and size: MediaCreationTool (18,016 KB)

Remarks: Watch out for Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH2 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US). Download the .iso, make a Bootable USB and Upgrade from that.

Windows 10 TH2 TechBench .isos – ok

Landing Page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/techbench 

Windows 10 TH2 Academic Media Creation Tool – ok

Landing Page: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/vlacademicwindows10

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691208

File name and size: MediaCreationToolRetail.exe (18,016 JB)

Remarks: File name mentions Retail but it is Academic. Requires Product Key and does not allow selection of language or architecture.

Windows 10 TH1 64 Bit Media Creation Tool – ok

Former Landing Page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10  

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=616936  

File name and size: MediaCreationToolx64 (19,272 KB)

Remarks: Was Upgrade Only caused issues with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH1 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US).

Windows 10 TH1 32 Bit Media Creation Tool – ok

Former Landing Page: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=616935

File name and size: MediaCreationTool (17,850 KB)

Remarks: Was Upgrade Only caused issues with Windows 7 and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. Windows 7 to Windows 10 TH1 Upgrade changes English (UK) to English (US).

Windows 8.x Product Family

Some links for Windows 8 and Windows 8.x Media Creation Tools/Upgrade Assistants are giving 404 Errors.

Windows 8.1 with Update 2 Media Creation Tool – 404 error

Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/create-reset-refresh-media  

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=510815  

File name and size: mediacreationtool.exe (1,449 KB)

Remarks: Lacked Windows 8.1 with Bing OEM and Windows 8.1 Single Language with Bing OEM .isos.

Windows 8.1 with Update 1 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – ok

Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only

Direct Download Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=271128

File name and information: OSGS14-WindowsSetupBox-32bitand64bit-English-4141408 (6,281 KB)

Remarks: Is Windows 8.1 Retail only blocking Windows 8 Retail Keys and all OEM keys.

Windows 8.1 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – 404 Error

Former Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only

Direct Download Link: http://web.esd.microsoft.com/W81GA/81GF9D695DA9DF8D56B2BC5B7356B5DA9D89D29D69/WindowsSetupBox.exe  

File Name and Information: WindowsSetupBox.exe (4,839 KB)

Remarks: Was Windows 8.1 Retail only blocking Windows 8 Retail Keys and all OEM keys. Tricks with the Windows 8 Retail Only Downloader and generic product keys could be used with a Windows 8 Retail key.

Windows 8.0 Retail Only Downloader (requires a product key) – 404 Error

Former Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows-8/upgrade-product-key-only

Direct Download Link: http://web.esd.microsoft.com/W8DL/DFB736WD8A9DFB5B1D8DFD92C5B1DSEC5B18956/Windows8-Setup.exe  

File name and information: Windows8-Setup.exe (5,359 KB)

Remarks: Was Windows 8.0 Retail only blocking Windows 8.1 Retail Keys and all OEM keys.

Windows 8.1 Upgrade Assistant – Ok

Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-download-online-faq  

Direct Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=261871

OSGS14-WindowsUpgradeAssistant-32bitand64bit-ClientSKU-4141411.exe (6,281 KB)

Remarks: Cannot be ran on Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant – 404 Error

Landing Page: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows-8/upgrade-assistant-download-online-faq

Direct Link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=321548  

File name and size: Windows8-UpgradeAssistant.exe (5,359 KB) 

Consider Windows Vista End of Life

Browser Support Limited

Internet Explorer 11 will be the only version of Internet Explorer Supported come January 2016.



Although Windows Vista "supposedly" reaches End of Life in April 2017:


The fact that the latest version of Internet Explorer supported for Windows Vista is Internet Explorer 9 means Windows Vista has effectively reached End of Life. No Security Updates for Internet Explorer may make it no longer safe to use.

Google are also dropping Windows Vista support for Chrome in April 2016 as they agree that Microsoft no longer actively support this Operating System:


Office Support

The latest version of Office for Windows Vista is Office 2010. It never got support for Office 2013 or later:


The Latest version of Windows Live Essentials for Windows Vista was Windows Live Essentials 2011. You've guessed it, this version too is at End of Life:


Driver Support

Almost all major venders eg. Intel, AMD, NVidia provide no new drivers for Windows Vista. This means new peripherals may not work with a Windows Vista PC.

What to Do if I'm Still Running Vista?

First you should assess the value of your system… If your systems hardware passes the minimum system requirements to Windows 10, most PCs shipped with Windows Vista will be capable then you should consider migrating to Windows 10. Unfortunately there is no "Official Free Upgrade" however the "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path via the expired Windows 10130 Insider Preview Works Well… I document this in detail here Windows Vista → Windows 10 Insider Build 10130 (Clean) → Windows 10 TH2 Pro. Although the Insider Preview Build 10130 expired in October 2015 workarounds to change the date to September 2015 still allows the Windows Insider Preview 10130 to act as an eligible Windows Edition to upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 Pro. This "Unofficial Free Upgrade" path has worked for the last 3 months…

If your system was very low end and fails to pass even these minimum requirements its time to buy a new system. If on a budget a second hand ex-business Dell OptiPlex 780 Desktop or Latitude E series with a Windows 7 OEM license and free upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 are good choices. Personally I do not recommend upgrading a system which contains DDR RAM, IDE HDDs or a single core processor. Anything like Intel 915GM graphics or worse won't cut Windows 10 and even you get it to install it will be woefully slow. The minimum hardware I would recommend upgrading is a Dell latitude D820 with a Intel Core Duo T7200, 2 GB DDR2 PC2-5300 RAM and Intel 945 graphics.

Checking Windows 10 System Requirements

If you aren't sure whether your legacy hardware running Windows XP/Vista is capable of running Windows 10 run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant (which runs on XP and Vista). The system requirements are almost identical for 32 Bit Windows 8.1 and 32 Bit Windows 10.


Simply run the upgrade assistant:


It will scan your computer to determine whether its compatible:


Click see compatibility details:


The compatibility details may show some of the following details to review:


You are looking for it to state issues specifically about your hardware.

The 4 issues it lists in this case aren't significant:

  • Install an App to play a DVD. – No problem install VLC player after Windows 10 TH2 installation.
  • SecureBoot isn't compatible with your PC. – No problem Windows 10 can run in a legacy BIOS using the MBR partition scheme. It won't perform as well and will be less secure than a newer system with these technologies.
  • Sidebar Gadgets aren't supported. – No problem, few people use these and the Apps in the Windows 10 Store are far superior.
  • Your screen resolution isn't compatible with snap. – No problem the screen resolution for Windows 10 was lowered to support 800×600 as a minimum.


Windows 10 TH2 Clean Installation Tutorial Videos

I made a set of tutorial videos clean installing Windows 10 TH2 on my systems:

1. Updating your BIOS, Checking if you have UEFI and SecureBoot, Checking your Product Key from your UEFI BIOS or COA

Dell Drivers: http://downloads.dell.com/published/Pages/index.html

Windows Product Key Tool: https://neosmart.net/OemKey/

RWEverything: http://rweverything.com/

Written Guide BIOS Update and Checking for UEFI and SecureBoot

Written Guide Notes on the Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Product Keys

2. Downloading a Windows 10 TH2 OEM and Retail .iso

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using the Media Creation Tool and Creating a Bootable USB

Windows 10 Direct .iso Download Links: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/techbench

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using Direct Download Links and Creating a Bootable USB

3. Clean Install Windows 10 TH2 from a Bootable USB

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using the Media Creation Tool and Creating a Bootable USB

Written Guide Notes on Downloading a Windows 10 .iso using Direct Download Links and Creating a Bootable USB

4. Installing Systems via Windows Update, Checking your Model, Checking your Hardware IDs and Driver Versions in the Device Manager and Downloading and Installing System Drivers from Dell

Dell Drivers: http://downloads.dell.com/published/Pages/index.html

Written Guides Notes on Checking the Hardware IDs in the Device Manager

Written Guide Notes on Recommended Driver Installation Order

Windows 10 not Shutting Down

Many Dell systems (and other OEMs) are not shutting down, restarting or coming out of standby correctly after the upgrade to Windows 10 TH1. When the system does not shutdown properly the display goes black but you can hear the system fans run in the background and the battery drains. You have to hold down the power button for 10 seconds to power it down fully. Then you can power it back up.

This seems mainly due to the Intel Management Engine Interface in particular driver version (Windows 10 TH1) or (Windows 10 TH2).

The latest driver by Intel is available here version


Installation on my Inspiron 7347 gives me version which seems to reduce the issue but not fix it entirely.

The Inspiron 7347 Drivers and Downloads Page has been updated to a driver with version


This driver seems to work on many Dell's with the same issue. My Latitude 7350 for instance lists as the latest driver. Installation of the driver from the Inspiron 7347 gives it version

Likely the same fix should apply to all of these systems:

  • Inspiron 3137/3421/3422/3437/3458/3542/3543/3558
  • Inspiron 5423/5439/5458/5488/5459/5548/5558/5559/5748/5749/5758/5749
  • Inspiron 7437/7447/7537/7547/7548/7558/7737/7746
  • Latitude 7350
  • Vostro 3449/3458/3459/3466/3546/3549/3558/3559
  • Vostro 5480
  • XPS 9333/9343

If installation of the driver from the Inspiron 7347 does not work you can use the following (less ideal) workarounds.

To prevent this issue from reoccuring  Disable "Turn on Fast Startup". Right click the Start Button and select Power Options → System Settings.

Also disable Intel Management Engine Interface in the Device Manger. This should do the trick but hopefully there will be a new driver that doesn't exhibit these issues.

Finally Microsoft Make Moves to Fix the Flawed Upgrade Only Distribution of Windows with Windows 10 TH2

News from Windows Insider Blogs

I'd been complaining for at least a few years for various reasons about the lack of Downloadable Installation .isos in particular for Windows 7 OEM and Windows 8.x OEM licenses. It seems Microsoft have read all my complaints and made a move to deploy Windows 10 TH2 and later in a manner I would call proper Digital Deployment of Windows 10.

Good news from Gabe Aul…

"Device activation improvements: We have received a lot of feedback from Insiders on making it easier to activate Windows 10 on devices that take advantage of the free upgrade offer to genuine Windows by using existing Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product keys. If you install this build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview on a PC and it doesn't automatically activate, you can enter the product key from Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 used to activate the prior Windows version on the same device to activate Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and selecting Change Product Key. If you do a clean install of Windows 10 by booting off the media, you can also enter the product key from prior Windows versions on qualifying devices during setup. Refer to the Insider Hub for more information on these activation improvements including requirements."


Windows 10 TH2 Beta Download

The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 .iso is available here:


Windows 7 OEM Key Test

Test 1: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Pro .iso accepted the Windows 7 Professional OEM key from my Windows 7 Professional COA:


windows 10 th2

Inputting the Windows 7 Professional OEM key from the COA took me to the license agreement screen:

windows 10 th2 license

This means Windows 7 OEM keys on the COA should also be usable to activate Windows 10.

Windows 8.x UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP OEM Key Test

Test 2: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Home .iso automatically input the Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and took me straight to the license agreement screen.

windows 10 th2 license

This means that Windows 8.x OEM SLP keys including "with Bing" Editions should automatically be input with Windows 10 Installation media and activate.

Test 3: The Windows 10 TH2 Beta Build 10565 Pro .iso didn't acknowledge the Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and asked for a product key.

windows 10 th2

The wording of this screen will cause confusion for those with UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP keys and it would be better if the installation media recognised the fact that there was a Windows 8.1 (Home) UEFI BIOS SLP key and stated:

Windows 10 Home Product Key Detected. Exit setup and begin installation from Windows 10 Home Installation Media or Input a Windows 10 Pro key to change Edition.

windows 10 th2a

Previous Installation Feedback

Previously feedback was given in great detail by myself and others here:


Since Microsoft have taken this feedback into account and also made downloadable installation media for all Windows 10 OEM and Retail Editions. The digital distribution of Windows 10 is now almost flawless certainly on par to what we recommended.

Now the only problem is those systems with the faded Windows 7 COAs however if a system has a faded COA and has previously been upgraded to Windows 10 then it can be reinstalled without a product key and as it is already a Windows 10 Device will activate automatically online.

faded coas

The only systems that will have a problem with the Windows 10 Upgrade are those with a failed Windows 7 Installation e.g. from software corruption or a failed hard drive/solid state drive and a faded COA. Fortunately for most Windows 7 systems Dell have shielded most COAs in the battery compartment to prevent the COA from fading.

Driver Installation Order – Windows 10

Make a Donation Button

Where to Download Dell System Drivers?

There are 2 sources of official Dell Drivers:

The recommended by Dell source is Dell Drivers and Downloads but I prefer the Dell FTP Website as the later consists of direct download links and is hence usually more reliable.

Note on the FTP Website all drivers for all OS are listed and you must select the ones which apply to you (WB64a = Windows 8.1 64 Bit, W1064a = Windows 10 64 Bit).

Note in all of Dells official services the drivers are listed alphabetically by category with applications before drivers.

This is not the install order and the system likely won't function optimally if the drivers are installed in the order listed by Dell…

We have asked Dell via IdeaStorm to list the drivers in the correct install order.

When downloading all the system drivers I recommend saving each driver in an appropriately labelled folder and adding a numeric prefix to the folder. This will ensure that you install the drivers in the recommended order.

Dell Official Support

Unofficial Support

If Dell don't support Windows 10 but support Windows 7/Windows 8.1 in most cases the drivers required will be inbuilt or obtained via Windows 10 Update. Otherwise use the Windows 7 driver versions where instructed.

For even older systems that are capable I had listed an assortment of Unofficial Drivers for Windows 7 which covered most systems shipped with Windows Vista or Late Windows XP systems. Most of the drivers in these unofficial driver sets will be inbuilt into Windows 10 or automatically obtained via Windows 10 Update.

Installation Order of Dell System Drivers


If upgrading your OS from an older version of Windows to a newer one it is recommended to have the latest Dell BIOS firmware which may have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Windows. Care should be taken when updating the BIOS as a failed BIOS update means a dead motherboard see Updating the BIOS for details.

You should only update your BIOS from your old Windows install if its stable and not infested with Spyware/Malware!


You may also have firmware updates for separate components such as hard drives or solid state drives. Firmware updates may also have enhancements which make the system run more reliable under the new version of Window. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional drive see Updating the Firmware of a Solid State Drive or Hard Drive for Details.

There are also firmware update for optical drives (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) and the instructions for updating the firmware of these components are similar to the Hard Drive and Solid State Drives. Care should be taken when updating the firmware as a failed firmware update can lead to a non-functional optical drive.

Storage Conroller "F6FLPY" SATA Preinstallation Drivers

These are drivers (labelled F6FLPY Drivers for historical reasons) which need to be loaded before the Windows Installation completes in order to access the storage controller to install Windows on the HDD/SSD. 

As Windows 10 Installation Media is likely going to be kept up to date this step is not necessary for the bulk of Windows 10 Installations so ignore this step.

  • Windows 10 TH1 – August 2015
  • Windows 10 TH2 – November 2015
  • Windows 10 RS1 – August 2016
  • Windows 10 RS2 – March 2017

If you have tried installing Windows and cannot see any hard drive(s) listed then follow the steps in Downloading and Preparing SATA Drivers on a USB Flash Drive and Loading them During Windows Installation.

Dell System (Notebook/Desktop) Software – Under System Utilities

Dell System Software is not needed for Windows 10 in the bulk of cases however I recommend installing it if you are using a system shipped with Windows 7 that has a Docking Station use the latest Windows 7 version here that will work with Windows 10.

Chipset Drivers – Intel Chipset

Your system will have either an Intel (most Dell systems) or AMD chipset… Right click the Start Button and select System. Under processor you will be told whether or not you have an Intel or AMD chipset.

If using an Intel system (most systems) install the Intel Chipset Installation Utility/Intel Chipset Device Software before any of the other drivers. The latest version can be obtained from Intel.

Chipset Drivers – Intel Engine Interface Driver

Next if using an Intel system the Intel Management Engine Interface Driver (also known as Intel AMT/HECI). If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under system Devices look for an entry called Intel Management Engine Interface. Look at the driver version:

  • If it is driver version note that it has a serious flaw which results in a black screen that can't be exited without forcing a shutdown after the system goes into standby.
  • Install the latest version from Intel.
  • You can check the driver version by looking in the Device Manager after installation.

Intel Management Engine Interface 3

Chipset – Other Intel Drivers

Next install Intel Thermal Framework and Intel Virtual Buttons if they are listed for your system. You may install the Windows 7/8.1 version of these drivers if Windows 10 drivers aren't listed.

The USB 3.0 drivers should be inbuilt into Windows 10 and can be ignored.

Chipset – Card Reader

There may also be a card reader driver e.g. Realtek, Ricoh, O2 Micro. The card reader may also be found separately under a Removable Storage category.

The latest Ricoh Card Reader is available here.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology Applications – Under SATA Drives and/or CPU

If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers look for an entry called Standard SATA AHCI Controller. Right click it select properties, then select Details and change the property to hardware IDs:

Hint press [Ctrl] and [ f ] on this page and search for your hardware ID e.g. 1E02 as the GIF shows meaning I should use driver version

Intel Rapid Storage Technology is available to download from Intel download the version that matches your hardware ID. (6-7th generation)
Intel® 200 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A282)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A102)
Intel® 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A103)
6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9D03) (4th-5th generation)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8D02)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C82)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C82)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C02)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C02) (3rd generation)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)
Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E02) (1st-3rd generation)
Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E03)
Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C03)
Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C02)
Intel(R) 5 Series 4 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B29)
Intel(R) 5 Series 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B2F)
Intel(R) 5 Series/3400 Series SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B22) (1st-2nd Generation)
Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A22)
Intel(R) ICH10D/DO SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A02)
Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2929)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)

Free Fall Sensor – Under System Utilities

This is mainly just present for newer laptops. The free fall sensor is designed to help prevent data loss from the hard drives which may be caused by dropping of the unit or autorotation of touchscreens.

Sometimes Dell will also list the Free Fall sensor under the Chipset category.

Video Driver – Under Video

There are in general variants of video cards present in Dell systems. If you are unsure identify it using the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10 by doing this you should determine if a driver is installed for the video controllers. Microsoft are working with the big 3 vendors Intel/AMD/nVidia and most the drivers for the video cards will be applied automatically via Windows Update.

If the Display Adapter isn't labelled "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter" then Windows 10 has likely obtained the driver automatically via Windows Update so I would advise not attempting to install drivers unless Dell have listed Windows 10 compatible drivers.

If you have a 2012 or newer system and Dell provide Windows 10 drivers your laptop may have switchable graphics and require the Intel driver to be installed first then the corresponding nVIDIA/ATI video driver for full performance. There may be a few variants of graphics cards for a laptop and you must select the correct ones.

If you have a Windows Vista/Late Windows XP system upgraded to Windows 10 and the display adapter is labelled "Microsoft Basic Display Adapter" you may need to install the Windows Vista driver via the device manager in the few cases where Windows Update doesn't get the driver.

Touchpad – Under Input

This is for laptops only. There are 4 main brands of Touchpads used in Dell systems Synaptics, Alps, Cyprus and Elan. If Dell list a Windows 10 driver install it. Otherwise see my notes in Dell Touchpad Drivers where I have attempted to list Dells compliment of drivers, and compatible systems at the bottom tested by end users. Forcing installation of a newer driver via the Device Manager often works better than inbuilt Windows 10 support or installation of a Windows 7/8.1 driver.

Audio – Under Audio

Windows 10 supports many legacy devices natively or obtains the driver automatically via Windows Update. I recommend only installing the Dell driver if Dell list it as Windows 8.1/10 compatible or installing the Windows 7/8.1 driver only if you experience audio problems.

Ensure you install any audio drivers before audio applications and only install audio applications if Dell list them as Windows 10 compatible.

Network Ethernet Driver – Under Network

This usually mentions Ethernet/LAN/Broadcom/Realtek in the description. Sometimes Intel, Atheros but the latter two can also be the wireless card. Many newer laptops are being sold without an Ethernet port to save space and rely on the wireless cards only.

If you have an Intel Ethernet Controller you can install the latest driver from Intel.

Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won't need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver.

Wireless/Bluetooth Card – Under Network

For >2012 systems the Wireless/Bluetooth are usually the same card. For <2012 systems they were 2 separate cards and Bluetooth was optional. For <2010 Desktops in most cases there was no wireless card.

If you have an Intel Wireless Card download the latest Wireless driver here and Bluetooth driver here.

Microsoft are working with these main vendors to ensure that these drivers are inbuilt to Windows 10. In most cases you won't need to install any drivers unless Dell list a Windows 10 compatible driver.

There are generally several variants of Wireless Cards and should you will need to pick the correct one. If you are unsure identify it using the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10. See Dell Wireless Cards as I have listed most of the hardware IDs and latest drivers for the Dell Wireless Cards.

With Windows 10 there are many issues with Wireless Cards:

  • Broadcom Wireless Cards continuously disconnect saying the connection is limited – this is likely a driver issue and I hope Broadcom/Microsoft release a newer driver via Windows Update. In my personal systems I have replaced all Broadcom Wireless cards with Intel Wireless cards.
  • Very old Intel Wireless Cards continuously disconnect and this can be fixed by disabling the power management setting of the card in the device manager.

Keyboard/Mouse Drivers – Under Input

There may be additional input drivers if you purchased a non-standard keyboard for a desktop e.g. a wireless or Bluetooth keyboard. If using a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse install the keyboard/mouse drivers after the Bluetooth driver. If your keyboard/mouse is Logitech branded you should install the latest version of Logitech Setpoint.

TV Tuners/Other Video (If applicable) – Under Video

Many systems don't have these and are only added via customisation. With the loss of Media Centre in Windows 10 these will be pretty useless.

Dell Quickset or Dell ControlPoint or On Screen Display – Under Applications

Dell Quickset is for the power settings and Fn keys. In some systems this is called Controlpoint (some Vostros/Latitudes/Precisions) or On Screen Display (some Alienwares/Inspirons). Install the Windows 10 application if Dell list one otherwise install the Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 application i.e. install the latest application available. If your system shipped with Windows Vista see Unofficial Driver Sets.

For some newer Latitude (E Series)/Mobile Precision Workstations Dell Quickset was replaced by Dell ControlPoint but its not always listed under Driver and Downloads or these models. If you cannot locate Dell ControlPoint System manager which should control the volume meters on these models then use the following ones here:

  • R312259 A21. Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 64 bit
  • R312260 A21, Version 1.7.10000 Update Package Windows 7 32 bit

Webcam Driver – Under Input

Webcam drivers will be natively included in Windows 10. Application wise Windows 10 has a Camera App and as a consequence Dell Webcam Central does not support Windows 10.

Like Dell Webcam central the Camera App is limited. If you want a nice screen recording and webcam recording Application I advise using the free version (ensure you click get it free) of Debut Video Capture. The free installer is called debutsetup.exe and the pro installer is called debutpsetup.exe.

Mobile Broadband Drivers – under Communications

Most users don't have these but the drivers are there for the users that do.

Other Drivers

These are the main drivers and I have tried to give a basic guide to cover all systems. There will of course be some other variants from model to model and customisations within the same model such as mobile broadband cards, TV tuners and other drivers depending on your systems configuration.

There may also be security drivers for the business Latitude and Optiplex series.

The check for any missing drivers is via the hardware IDs see Checking Hardware IDs in the Device Manager in Windows 10. You can post your model number and version of Windows e.g. Windows 10 64 Bit aswell as the hardware IDs on the Windows 10 forum if you need help.

Dell Backup and Recovery

After all the system drivers are installed and Windows is up to date restart your computer.

I do not recommend installing Dell Backup and Recovery with Windows 10. Use Macrium Reflect instead.

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5 Million Views!!!

I am proud to say my website the DellWindowsReinstallationGuide Unofficial Windows Reinstallation Guides for Dell Computers (although most guides work on other OEM systems) has now reached 5,000,000 views and 2,500,000 visitors.


My guides are now updated for Windows 10 including the documentation of the 2 month free upgrade path for Windows XP/Vista users.

Slide3 Slide4

The Free Upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 10:
This upgrade path is valid for 2 months and is via Windows 10 Insider Build 10130 which expires on the 02/10/2015.
Windows Insiders should also take this path who have lost their base OS. Unfortunately users need to find 10130 .isos from unofficial locations, any recommendations?

Upgrading to Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool:

Creating a Recovery Drive and Using it in Windows 10:

Download Windows 10 Retail and OEM .iso:

I can also state I've helped someone in almost every country in the world upgrade to Windows 10 see world map…

windows10sdstats Windows 10 Released


Data http://1drv.ms/1IgVh0w


Data http://1drv.ms/1IgVh0w

Update 16/07/2015 Windows 10 10240 RTM is Released for Windows Insiders




From my extensive testing of the new Microsoft Product Testing introduced into Microsoft Windows 10 RTM I can tell you the following:

  • Direct clean installation from Windows 10 Installation Media, skipping product key twice or using the generic key leads to an unactivated product.
  • Using the .iso to upgrade from the Windows Desktop will only allow activated versions of Windows to release the license agreement screen. This only allows Activated versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Insider 10130.
  • For Windows Insiders Windows 10130 is then updated to Windows 10162 via Windows Update and this is updated via Windows Update to Windows 10240 (RTM) .
  • Once the initial upgrade to Windows 10240 is complete the device is registered to Microsoft as a Windows 10 Device.
  • Once a device is registered, you may create a Recovery Drive and Clean Install.
  • The Recovery Drive may be used on other devices but you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation issues if the device isn't initially upgraded via Windows Update and Registered as a Windows 10 10240 RTM device.
  • The product activation is tied to the device. You can reinstall using a different Microsoft Account or Local Account and the device will activate.
  • You may change minor hardware such as a SSD/HDD and clean install. I changed from a SSD to HDD for a quick test and Microsoft Product Activation was applied.
  • It seems Windows Insiders with Build 10130 will be passed as eligible to reach Windows 10 RTM even those who lacked a Windows 7/8.1 Base license. Those who look to join the Windows 10 Insider program after the Windows 10130 .isos have been removed will not be able to install and activate Windows 10 Insider 10240 RTM.

Windows 10 Build 10240 should be offered via Windows Update for Windows Insiders follow the instructions here:


Windows Insiders may leave the Windows Insider Program once on Windows 10 RTM as demonstrated.

There is no expiry date. no watermark on the desktop and it says Windows 10 Pro in System. The EULA does not mention prerelease software.

After the Windows 10 Upgrade via the Store you may use the inbuilt features to create a Recovery Drive which can be used to clean install Windows 10 Build 10240. The Recovery Drive can be used to install Windows 10 Pro RTM on another Device so appears to be generic Windows Installation Media Locked to an Edition but if the device has never been updated to Windows 10240 via Windows Update you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation Issues and be prompted to buy Windows 10. I tested a Recovery Drive created on a Windows 10 Build 10240 VM on a Latitude D820 with Windows 10162 and encountered the Microsoft Product Activation issues. See here for details:


In case you missed it Microsoft Product Activation is Back…

The Windows 10147 has been given by WinAero:


They list a .iso and a generic product key here NJ4MX-VQQ7Q-FP3DB-VDGHX-7XM87

During installation you are prompted for a product key:


Note I state a generic product key as it allows for installation but not product activation in the same manner as Windows 8.1 generic product keys:






If I select Store…



As this is a leak likely it doesn't work. In combination with the data provided here:


It seems like Windows Insiders will be offered Windows 10 product keys possibly through an updated Microsoft Store and when Windows 10 RTM comes out, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will be offered product keys via the Get Windows 10 App.

Note I also tested the ability to move documents, pictures, music and videos to another drive it seems to not work correctly:



A Clean Install of Windows 8.1 with a Generic Product Key = A Free Upgrade to Windows 10? – No

I just completed a clean installation of Windows 8.1 using a Windows 8.1 with Update 1 .iso and a generic product key. 2 additional screens were added after I installed by signing into my Microsoft Account.

The screen to reserve:

Windows10 Reserve

After selecting reserve I was informed my free upgrade is reserved:


As you can see a generic key was used and Windows is not activated:

Not activated

This suggests the use of a Windows 8.1 .iso with a generic key can allow one to get a free upgrade to Windows 10.

Edit: This is only a marketing stunt and the free upgrade requires an activated base Windows 7, 8.1 or 10130 Windows Install.

Windows 10 – SSD Boot Drive and HDD Data Drive

Microsoft have implemented one of the features we were requesting in Windows 10:


An easy way to save documents, music, pictures and videos to a secondary Data HDD by default.

They also let you move Apps whether they mean only Metro Apps or other Applications I'm not sure yet. I'll need to test it. Unfortunately theres no option to move the downloads folder, hopefully this will come soon.

Select Start and then select the button at the top to expand the start menu. Select settings.


Select system:


Select storage:


Change the locations as desired:


01/06/2015 Microsoft Prepare Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for Windows 10

If you have Windows Updates enabled for your Windows 7 or 8.1 installation you will get the following notification in your notification area.

Notes for testing: Test an Enterprise or Volume License to see if this notification is given (these are not eligible for free upgrades). At current Windows 10 Insiders at build 10130 are not given such a notification.


It will give you the following information on the free upgrade to Windows 10.


You can enter the details of your email address (Microsoft Account) to reserve your free upgrade.


More details are in the FAQs:


Your system will also scan for compatibility:

Your Ready

Ask on the forums if you have compatibility issues.

A Question for Microsoft – How Could Windows 10 be Deployed?

Add your Votes so Microsoft Address this Critical Feedback

If you have the concerns this page has on Windows 10 Installation Media then please support my ideas so Microsoft Addresses them:

1. Windows UserVoice

go to this link and vote this idea up and share so everyone else votes it up.




2. Microsoft Answers

Also if you log in with your Microsoft Account on Microsoft Answers and hit "Me Too"



3. Windows 10 Feedback App

If you are a Windows Insider Feedback please also use the Feedback App.

Launch the App.


Select Windows Installation and Set-Up


Search for Windows 7 OEM


Comment including any issues you've ever had attempting to download Windows 7 or procure installation media:


// //

On the Dell Community Forums we are getting concerned at how Windows 10 will be released in particular the Windows 7 OEM UserBase.

YouTube Video – Windows 7 to Windows 10 via Windows Update


How Could Microsoft Release the Update?

Scenario 1 and 2 will cause issues.

Scenario 1: "Windows Update (Only)"

Looking around there are rumours that Windows 10 will be released/forced through Windows Update. This concept is beginning to form some concern on the Dell community especially with the Windows 7 OEM userbase. Forcing the update this way will likely cause a small to large fraction of systems to become non-bootable. It will also break the functionality of most Windows 7 OEM Recovery Partitions. A larger fraction of systems will have reduced performance as its an upgrade.

Since Microsoft have broke the Digital River .isos and replaced them with a miserable non-functional Microsoft Software Recovery Tool which deliberately rejects the OEM license. OEM users will not be able to Reinstall Windows 7 to perform a Double Reinstall to get to Windows 10. Moreover it will be increasing difficult to procure installation from OEMs such as Dell (as Microsoft will stop OEMs from being able to provide installation media) and the bulk of these systems will be outwith the warranty period. It is also a huge waste of time enforcing a double installation both for Dell and the end customer. Users should not have to contact Dell to get Windows 7 installation media just to be able to download >200 updates and then download Windows 10.

I am sceptical Microsoft will enforce something highly flawed like this as they forced the "free" update to Windows 8.1 via the Microsoft Store. It took them a two years to make a working downloader for Windows 8 which could be used with the OEM license; the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool. This tool still has flaws but a tool of at least its capability should have been made available on Windows 8.0 Release Date.  This tool still does not support Windows 8.1 with Bing. These users will be stuck in the same scenario should Microsoft enforce a double installation.

Scenario 2: "A Key for a Key"

If users have to input their 25 digit Windows 7 product key from their COA. In theory this would work.


Link in case image doesn't display:  https://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/coa.png?w=550&h=204

In practice however if this is the only method of installation for the free upgrade then there is a problem for a large fraction of the Windows 7 OEM userbase. Microsoft provided OEMs such as Dell with COAs of terrible print quality. This didn't matter for Windows 7 OEM as OEM installation media input a generic Dell OEM SLP key.


Link in case image doesn't display: https://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/faded-coas.jpg

A case like this is not uncommon and is more common for other OEMs as Dell shielded COAs by placing them under the battery.

Scenario 3: Windows 10 .iso and Product Key Linked to Microsoft Account

This is the only logically working scenario that I can see is a utility which performs the following functions:

  • Checks the Base Windows License is Genuine
  • Tells user to Sign in with a Microsoft Account
  • Assigns a Product Key to the Microsoft Account (similar to Office Online)
  • Gives the user an option to install Windows 10 via Windows Update or to Create Installation Media for Clean Installation
  • End User can later sign in with their Microsoft Account to Download a Windows 10 .iso and obtain their product key

Windows 10 9926 Test – Inspiron 7437

Windows 10 Installation with UEFI and SecureBoot Video Demonstration// //


  • Part 1 Downloading Windows 10 and Rufus.
  • Part 2 Creating the Bootable USB (GPT for UEFI and SecureBoot)
  • Part 3 Preparing Preinstallation SATA Drivers
  • Part 4 BIOS Settings – UEFI and SecureBoot
  • Part 5: Windows 10 9926 Installation
  • Part 6: Downloading System Drivers
  • Part 7 Installing System Drivers


Additional Notes Before Installing – Dell Backup and Recovery Playlist

Important Feedback

Minor Feedback

  • Windows Explorer icons look terrible, like they have been made from Microsoft Paint. Bring Back the Windows 8.1 icons or have an option for users to change them.
  • Update the Windows and X Menu (Right Clicking the Start Button) to make it look like part of the Start Button.
  • Add Windows Defender (Right Click Context Menus) and Add Windows Defender to the Windows and X Menu.
  • Add Windows Defender Offline to the Windows and X Menu.
  • Add a Utility to turn a Windows 10 .iso into a Bootable USB to the Windows and X Menu (and possibly download the .iso).