The Initial upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

DellWindowsReinstallationGuide is written and maintained by Philip Yip.



Thanks in advance for leaving any donations Philip.



This will take you through an in place upgrade install retaining your Apps and Files from Windows 7, Windows 8.x or an earlier build of Windows 10 to the latest build Windows 10 Version 1709.

Note: A Clean Installation always yields superior performance but Microsoft have made vast improvements in reducing performance losses with Windows 10 Upgrade Installs.

The Free Upgrade

Windows 10 was released on the 29th of July 2015. Microsoft made it known that Windows 10 would be a Free Upgrade for those who took advantage of the Free Upgrade within the first year of release.

Theoretically the Free Upgrade should have ended on the 29th of July 2016 which has long passed. However all activation mechanisms work with the latest Windows 10 Version 1709 (September 2017) build. The Upgrade Install has been tested on hardware with a Windows 7 OEM License (which has never previously had Windows 10 Activated) on the 22/01/2018. This date is after Microsoft Removed the Accessibility Upgrade Installer and all Activation Mechanisms are Still Reported to Work.

The English Language Issue

Microsoft assume all Windows 7 English OEM Installs are Windows 7 English US OEM Installs.

If Upgrade this PC now is selected you will have the misfortune of installing English US instead of English UK:

The English UK time & date/regional and keyboard settings may be lost:

For this reason this guide launches the upgrade install from installation media.


It is advised to Create a Macrium Reflect Windows Image of your Old Windows Installation before carrying out this guide. For more details see Backing up your Windows Installation using Macrium Reflect.

System Prechecks

Before you even begin the Windows 10 Download you should know some details about your system. This is best done by looking at system information.

Press [Windows] and [ r ] to bring up the run command:


In the run box type in


Then press ok.


OS Name and Version

Take a note of the OS Name and Version.

Technically Microsoft list the build number here and not what they call the version which is typically in the form yymm where yy is the year and mm is the month:

  • Build 16299/Version 1709 – Windows 10 RS3 “Fall Creators Update”
  • Build 15063/Version 1703 – Windows 10 RS2 “Creators Update”
  • Build 14093/Version 1607 – Windows 10 RS1 “Anniversary Update”
  • Build 10586/Version 1511 – Windows 10 TH2
  • Build 10240/Version 1507 – Windows 10 TH1
  • Build 9600/Version 1310 – Windows 8.1
  • Build 9200/Version 1207 – Windows 8
  • Build 7601/Version 1102 – Windows 7 SP1
  • Build 7600/Version 0907 – Windows 7

If the OS Name contains the words Enterprise then this guide is not applicable.

SMBIOS Version

Take a note of the SMBIOS revision if it is 2.7 or later you should ensure that you Enable a UEFI Boot and Secure Boot after your Upgrade Install. I will leave specific instructions to these near the End of this Guide.

Boot Mode and Secure Boot State

For systems with Windows 8 or Later installed you will have BIOS Mode and SecureBoot State shown. These technologies should be enabled where supported by the hardware.

This information doesn’t show if you are currently running Windows 7. For a Windows 7 install in all cases SecureBoot will be disabled (as its unsupported by Windows 7) and the UEFI Boot may also be disabled even on hardware which support these technologies (this will be rectified at the End of the Windows 7 to Windows 10 Upgrade Install).

BIOS Version

You have the System Manufacturer, System Model and BIOS Version/Date. You should compare this with the version offered by your Computer Manufacturer e.g. Dell, HP and Lenovo and Update.

Without the Latest UEFI BIOS Version – Installation of Windows 10 may Fail!!!

See my dedicated guide on the UEFI BIOS which gives more detailed instructions on updating the UEFI BIOS to the latest version.

Downloading a Windows 10 Version 1709 .iso

You must have either a Windows 10 Version1709 .iso or Bootable USB to proceed. See Downloading a Windows 10 Version 1709 .iso using the Media Creation Tool and Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB for a UEFI BIOS within Windows (optional).

Windows 8 and later have the option to natively mount .isos by right clicking and selecting mount. The Windows 10 Version 1709 .iso can be mounted and then used to initiate the in place upgrade. Windows 7 does not and while third party utilities can be used they don’t work after a restart and the upgrade install will fail due to the loss of installation media:


To overcome this one can either launch the setup from a Bootable USB or the .iso can be extracted and the setup can be launhed from the extracted files.

Extract the .iso onto the Desktop

To extract the .iso download and install 7zip which matches your architecture of Windows in my case 64 Bit:


Save the installer and run the setup:

vlcsnap-2016-08-08-07h02m22s106 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-07h02m28s149

Accept the User Account Control Prompt:


Select Install:


Then select close:


Right click the .iso and then select 7-zip and Extract to “”:


You will now have an extracted .iso on your Desktop. Select Close:


The setup.exe is in the root of this folder:


Beginning the Windows 10 Upgrade from the USB or Extracted .iso

Insert the Windows 10 Version 1709 Bootable USB. Open the USB from within Windows Explorer or alternatively open the Extracted Windows 10 Folder on the Desktop:


Double click the setup:


Select yes at the User Account Control prompt:


The Windows setup will load and prepare:

You will see Windows:


It will then prepare:


It’ll ask you if you want to check for updates. Select next:


Accept the license agreement:


Windows 10 assumes all English Windows 7 installs are English US so you may get this error message if you opt to Upgrade to English UK.


Select OK:


Then make sure your PC has enough space for the in place Upgrade Install:


Here you can decide what to keep. I’ll keep my personal files and apps so I’ll just select Install:


Windows 10 Version 1709 will now install and your computer will restart three times:


You will be prompted to select your user account and login:


If you are stuck on this screen and the Next Button does nothing you likely have an incompatible Wireless/Bluetooth driver. This can be resolved see Stuck on Windows 10 Screen Due to Incompatible Wireless/Bluetooth Driver.

Next you’ll be given the privacy options amend these in accordance to your own preferences then select Accept:

Select Next:

You will enter the last few screens of the Windows 10 Version 1709 install:


Finally you will be on the Windows 10 Version 1709 Desktop. You should leave your system idle for 30 minutes or so and then check whether your system is activated.

Right click the start button and select settings

There should be no Activation watermark on this screen. Select Update & Security:

Select Activation:

It should say “Windows is Activated with a Digital License”:


110 thoughts on “The Initial upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

  1. Hi
    When I click “Upgrade this PC now” nothing happens – the purple windows disappears and soesn’t come back. The only change it seems to do is add the two $WINDOWS folder in my C drive. The BT folder is around 23KB, and the WS 47.3MB. Neither of which get any bigger even after 30 minutes.
    Any ideas?

    1. many have encountered this ‘blue screen of something happened’.
      for most, it was because the Microsoft servers were overloaded. and… eventually those people I am referring to, were able to get through and across.

      hope this helps

  2. Philip, I have a fully functional, activated Windows 10 Pro 10240 from being an Insider, do I still need to do that upgrade, download the tool and run it? Or I am good to go and just Stop receiving build, create a recovery and clean install from there. There is too much commotion in insider forum that no Microsoft expert gives the answer.

    1. The Media Creation Tool gives you a Windows 10240 .iso. Windows 10240 (10*1024) is the final release. I mentioned it was 2 weeks ago but some of the MVPs on Microsoft Answers doubted it and some of the others on the Insider forums followed the doubt so theres much confusion in the threads.

      Anyway if you system is activated it is now a Windows 10 Pro Device and you can Clean Reinstall using the Media Creation Tool or by making a Recovery Drive should you want to.

      If on the other hand it performs well you can change the Windows Update settings to leave the Device from the Insider program and use Windows 10 that way.

      1. Thank you much man, I too am using a Dell E6410 as my test platform for Insider program since October 2014 with an old vista OS. Went through all the way never skipped any build, I tell you it is running better than when it was vista.

        Again thank you

      2. In the tutorial video (still got to audio) I was using a Latitude E5510 upgrading from a Windows 7 Pro OEM license and in the other video a Latitude D820 which came with XP.

  3. Philip,

    First, thank you for the clear and concise instructions you have provided here and on Your work is greatly appreciated.

    Based on what you have published, an Insider with an activated 10240 effectively has a valid license for Windows 10 Professional RTM. You’ve demonstrated, even after changing the PC’s hard-drive, one can restore from a Recovery Drive and the freshly installed Windows 10 will activate properly.

    In my case, Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10130 was installed on a separate partition of an old laptop PC running Vista. It was progressively updated to 10240 (and all minor security updates). I can confirm my Microsoft account shows my PC has an activated edition of Windows 10 Pro. In other words, I can conclude that I, as an Insider, have received a licensed edition of Win 10 Pro. Your report that I can reinstall it from a Recovery Drive, without loss of activation, implies my PC’s hardware profile is on record with Microsoft.

    Now for my question: can I reinstall from the media produced by the Media Creation Tool (and not lose activation)? In other words, can I safely “clean install” using the retail version of Windows 10?

    It seems to me the answer ought to be “yes”; Microsoft has my activation information on record. However, there is at least one report of an Insider trying this and resulting in loss of activation. See “Mark in AZ” reply (5th post) in this thread:

    I find this perplexing because it implies one of the following:
    1) There’s a subtle difference between the retail version and the final build (contained in a Recovery Drive) received by Insiders.
    2) Perhaps an Insider must first use the retail version to “Upgrade” from 10240 (which seems nonsensical to me; activation/hardware profile are already on record) and only then can the retail version be used for a clean install.

    Do you have any information that clears up this confusion?

    1. For build 10240 I have only tested with the Recovery Drive. I have not tested with the .iso its on a queue of things for me to do so if you are in a rush, make and use the Recovery Drive.

      However I done extensive testing on the product activation with build 10147 and its the way things worked with the .iso.

      What I would say is that the .iso (at least if its like the Insider Build 10147 will ask for a product key twice): Product Activation

      You have to skip the product key twice, do not input the Windows 10 generic key otherwise you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation issues.

  4. Philip, do you have any insight on “We can’t create a recovery drive / A problem occured while creating the recovery drive”. That’s the error message I received when trying to create the recovery from USB thumb drive. The drive is already in fat32 oob, do you think I still need to make it ntfs? The finished product in your video is in fat 32. I found similar thread and they’re all within just 2 days old. I was gonna create it as a back up in case media creation tool fails or trouble along the way ie. activation or any error.

      1. I used 8 and 16 same issue. What I am thinking of doing now is run media creation tool, select option to a usb, then remove my now hdd and replace it with a new one and test from there if it will all come back and be activated. If it fails I will just swap my hdd.

        Have you done this? Use a clean hdd and install win 10 using media created by the tool? If it all goes well I will just keep the new hdd in.

        Your thoughts?

      2. I’ve tested this out. If you install from the UEFI BIOS/BIOS using media from the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool you will be prompted for a product key 3 times.

        Skip all 3 times and your product will automatically be reactivated. Do not try inputting a generic key.

    1. Its advisable to back up all your data to an external hard drive periodically in case of hard drive failure or software corruption.

      If you follow the instructions exactly as shown here your data and programs will be retained.

  5. Hi, i think you know the problem with the inspiron 15R N5110, my question is: can i do this with my laptop? or its not worth it? can you help me please? the “not supported by dell” its killing me, this is a very nice computer and i dont want to sell it in this moment, hope you can help me, thank you man and nice work. Greetings from México.

  6. I have only C drive here.If I update will it delete the files/data my personal one.Please help?

    1. Its better to backup your data periodically in case of hard drive failure or software corruption.

      The Windows 10 upgrade shouldn’t result in data loss however.

  7. I already updated my Dell N5110 Bios but, my problem is that in the Windows Media Creation tool the process remains in 0%, this can be fixed? or its a surrender?

  8. Is theie an option to switch to a different drive for installation? I want to install win 10 onto my e drive not my c drive.

  9. Hi, I have had a number of failed attempts at the Windows 10 upgrade on my Inspiron 7000 and currently have a bricked machine. Have you heard of any similar stories and / or do you have any advice?

    The steps I have followed so far are:-
    – Tried to allow the automatic upgrade via Windows update – the system hung after a reboot at 71% and did not load any further. Restarted the machine and it reverted back to Windows 8.
    – Attempted a manual upgrade using the Media creation tool and Upgrade this machine now option (4 attempts) each time it hung at around 71% – same result as above.
    – 5th attempt from Media creation tool, after the system hung I connected a monitor by HDMI cable and restarted – the install resumed and continued to 75% when it hung again.
    – I reset the machine to factory settings using the standard method on boot, choosing to keep my files. I then tried again with the media creation tool but it did not start after down load.
    – Attempted again with same result, a search on Google advised me to try and launch the upgrade manually by clicking on the start.exe file in the downloaded file in a shared folder (sorry I have lost that location). This then installed correctly – not: I opted to install without updates.
    – I checked the machine under Control Panel – System and all looked ok except the NVidia Graphics driver had a yellow exclamation mark, I checked for a new driver and it reported that the driver was up to date.
    – The system asked to be restarted to install updates which I did. Since then I have been getting the sqame black screen on load or attempting to install Windows 10 again and getting the same problems.

    The problem at the moment is that not only will it not load or install, I cannot rest the machine as it tries to reset it to a Windows 10 build which of course will not load.

    Please do you have any advice?


    1. The English 64 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:

      Windows 10 Home x64 3,269,248 KB
      Windows 10 Home Single Language x64 2,560,192 KB
      Windows 10 Home N x64 3,118,016 KB
      Windows 10 Pro x64 3,274,752 KB
      Windows 10 Pro N x64 3,274,752 KB
      As you can see the size appears to be different for Languages and Editions.

  10. HI
    I have bought a new dell inspiron 3543 i7 machine and my express service code is 138-903-401-90 . I tried upgrading windows 8.1 by using the media creation tool but after downloading/verifying the files i got a message that media host has stopped working and the process ended without upgrading , i have not tried it again . Can i get a direct upgrade ISO to download instead of going through this media creation tool process. ( windows 8.1 to windows10)…
    my windows 8.1 core key is RGB99 extracted from BIOS.

  11. i downloaded the upgrade now after accepting license terms its checking for updates . want to know the size of these updates as so far able to download 13 %

  12. Sir i have faced a serious issue after windows checked the update and went to the step where it shows making sure you are ready to install , at that moment my laptop froze and nothing is working not even sleep mode. I was watching a video the dialogues getting repeated fron a certain position. Please help

  13. Hello Philip,

    First, thank you very much for the clear and concise instructions you have provided here. Your work is greatly appreciated and not only by me.
    The installation of ‘Windows 10′ on my N5110 went well and everything seems to work fine. The only issue I have concerns the quality of the screen. Before updating to ’10’ and on a similar N5110 with ‘Windows 7′ the screen (letters) are much sharper and when I checked the system, I found that there are two videoadapters installed in Windows 7; an Intel HD Graphics 3000 and an AMD Radeon HD 7450M. Updated to ’10’, the AMD has disappeared and only the Intel remains.

    I’ve tried in vain to download drivers for the AMD adapter. Could you please help me with a solution? If not, can you give me tips on how to uninstall ’10’, because a sharper image is important for me.
    Thank you in advance!

    Kind regards,
    Ruud Feltzer
    The Netherlands

      1. I would advise Clean Reinstalling Windows 10 to see if the device shows. The Clean Reinstall prevents many of these driver conflicts. Check also the BIOS setup in case theres an option to disable the dedicated graphics card.

  14. I know how to slipstream the entire x64 of the Win10 install files into the x86 files. But the current process, which is an in-place upgrade from Win7SP1 or Win8.1 to Win10, requires launching the old Windows, then triggering SETUP.EXE on the upgrade (folder, DVD or USB). But the process I know, slipping x64 wim into the x86 wim, leaves us with a USB root SETUP.EXE which is x86 and WILL NOT RUN an in-place upgrade on an (existing) x64 system. Do you have a solution, to get an x64 SETUP.EXE onto the slipstreamed All-in-One? Thanks!

  15. I have upgraded my DELL N5010 to Windows 10 Home from Windows 7 Home Basic. I upgraded through Windows Update. Had I came across this article, I would have done through Media creation tool.
    Having said that, my laptop is almost working fine, except few glitches. After the initial upgrade, there was no sound. When I changed the driver from IDT High Definition Audio Device to High Definition Audio Device, the sound came back, but this time the sound is very low even at full volume, compared to what it used to be. Another major issue is the Integrated WebCam driver. Initially it did not work at all. I tried few times upgrading the driver, originally, Creative Live! but it didn’t work. Then I changed it to Microsoft driver. But this time, the camera works ONLY with the Camera App provided in the OS. All other applications such as Skype, Hangouts etc. cannot detect the camera.

    Bluetooth is also not working, but that is not any issue for me as I hardly use the feature.

    Please let me know if you came across these issues and suggest some fix, if you have any.

      1. I have not logged into any service using microsoft account(hotmail/outlook). Just want to be sure that the next time when I install in clean mode, my hardware profile would be taken from the server and I won’t have issues with activation.

        Also, I have OEM Windows 7 key ( sticker at the bottom of laptop). Is the product key supposed to work with Windows 10 also, since I have upgraded from Win7 to Win10

    1. Hi i have dell inspiron n5010 but not able to upgrade to windows 10 can u help me sir

      1. Please make a new thread on the Dell Community Forums, provide some more details like your current Windows Edition, hardware IDs and BIOS revision.

  16. I try to upgrade my D430 from Win 7 to Windows 10, but the previous check failed with the note: the Processor U7600 is not supported.
    Is there any chance to upgrade?

      1. Hi Philipyip,
        I already try to do it by Media control tool, but it brings the same result:
        U7600 is not supported 😦