The Initial upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 RS1

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Unless you have a Faded Windows 7 COA in all cases A Clean Install of Windows 10 is recommended opposed to an Upgrade Install. Clean Installs have superior performance and less bugs crop up if Windows 10 is Clean Installed. To Download Installation Media and Clean Install see Downloading a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso.

If however you want to retain your files and installed programs then you’ll need to carry out an Upgrade Install. This guide will continue with an Upgrade Install although like I said I don’t recommend it as much as A Clean Install.

Note after the 29/07/2016 the marketing 1 Year Free Upgrade to Windows 10 came to an End. This means that Upgrade Installs are no longer supported by Microsoft unless you buy a new Product Key… The Windows 10 Upgrade setup has a recent weak modification to coax you into buying a Windows 10 key but can be overridden with a couple of clicks…

Last tested on an OptiPlex 760 on the 21/10/2016.

  • On the 20/10/2016 this system had never had Windows 10 Pro Installed and hence had never been made a Windows 10 Pro Device.
  • It became a New Windows 10 Pro Device when Upgraded from a Windows 7 Pro OEM base install.
  • The Windows 7 Pro OEM base install was activated using Dell OEM System Locked Preinstallation.

If one uses the Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool Directly and selects “Upgrade this PC now” they will be asked for a Windows 10 Product Key… This screen will reject Windows 7 and Windows 8.x OEM and Retail keys preventing you from carrying out an Upgrade Install…


There is an option to select “I’m reinstalling Windows 10” on this PC which is true in this case. The PC had A Clean Install of Windows 10 Pro before Windows 7 Pro was Clean Reinstalled:


Selecting this just gave an error which ended the setup:

BTo circumvent this screen one may use the Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool to make installation media and then Upgrade using the Installation Media:


When initiating an Windows 10 RS1 Upgrade Install from Windows 10 RS1 Installation Media if the recommended settings specifically “Get Important Updates” is selected:


A similar screen appears prompting you to input your Windows 10 Product Key. This again blocks Windows 7 and 8.x OEM and Retail keys as before:


If one doesn’t opt to get these “Important Updates” and doesn’t opt to leave feedback to make “the Installation of Windows Better” one can proceed with the Windows 10 RS1 upgrade unhindered. i.e. these “Updates” give the input your Windows 10 Key screen:


As 14393 is likely to be the last installation media without these “Updates” its likely the last installation media which can be used for an “Upgrade Install” from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

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.

Note: Windows 10 Installation Media still accepts unused Windows 7/8.x OEM and Retail keys and activates them online making the system a Windows 10 Edition Device as normal. This is likely to be the case for the rest of time as they have became embedded as part of Windows 10 TH2 and Windows 10 RS1… You can use the installation media to perform A Clean Install however the remainder of this guide will take you through an Upgrade Install…

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. The Windows 10 RS1 Installation Media will be used in pretty much all systems running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1x OEM.

If you have a European Commission N Retail Edition (which is immensely rare) you will have to use the Windows 10N RS1 Installation Media.

SMBIOS Version

Take a note of the SMBIOS revision…

  • If it is 2.7 or greater you should have a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot.
  • If it is 2.6 you might have an Early UEFI System (UEFI without SecureBoot) or only a Legacy BIOS. You will need to check your BIOS Setup*.
  • If it is 2.5 you will have a Legacy BIOS.
  • If it is 2.4 you will have a Legacy BIOS and the processor should be checked for 64 Bit compatibility.*
  • If it has an SMBIOS of 2.3 or less its below minimum system requirements for Windows 10.

For Intel processors e.g. the G640 as shown, Google search Intel Ark G640. As the instruction set is 64 Bit I am all set to run Windows 10 64 Bit.

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.

Unfortunately to perform an Upgrade Install from Windows 7 you may need to continue using a Legacy Boot with the MBR partition scheme and without SecureBoot. This will offer less security and system performance. To Enable these technologies you must perform A Clean 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 RS1 .iso

The Windows 10 .isos are multiple Edition .isos:

  • The Windows 10 .iso contains Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Single Language and Windows 10 Pro.

The Media Creation Tools is here:

Scroll down until you get to Download Tool Now. Note do not select Update Now as it’ll ask you for a Windows 10 key…

Selecting Update now will ask for a Windows 10 Product Key (rejecting Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 keys).


Instead select Download Tool Now:


The Windows 10 RS1 Media Creation Tool is 17,881 KB in size:

RS1MCTProperties (2)

If you right click the Media Creation Tool and select properties:

RS1MCTProperties (3)

Then navigate to the Details tab it will tell you the version:

RS1MCTProperties (4)

RS1MCTProperties (1)

Launch the tool and accept the user account control.


Scroll down then accept the License Agreement screen:

rs1b rs1c

Again Do not select Upgrade Now as it will ask you for a Windows 10 Product Key… Instead select Create Installation Media for Another PC.



The tool is supposed to automatically select the correct language, architecture and edition…

English Language Note

uk-flags usa-flags2

For Windows 7 – English UK and English US were the same “Language” in the case of Windows 10 they are not…



For Windows 7 the Language to Install was “English”. Only the Time and Currency Format and Keyboard or Input Methods could be changed to English UK.

This means all English UK Windows 7 installs are in essence English US installs with English UK Time, Currency and Keyboard settings applied. Functionality wise the only differences are the use of “personalization” and “color” in the likes of the Control Panel which should of course be spelled as “personalisation” and “colour” respectively.

Unfortunately Microsoft therefore assumes all Windows 7 Installs with English UK Language Settings applied are English US installs. To get around this uncheck use Recommend options for this PC:


Select your desired Language. I will use proper English (United Kingdom):


rs1g rs1h

Select your Edition. In almost all cases this will be Windows 10.

The Windows 10 .iso is a 4 Edition .iso containing:

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Home Single Language
  • Windows 10 Education

“Windows 10" hence covers virtually all the Dell OEM Licenses for Windows 7, Windows 8.x and Windows 10 and most the Retail Licenses.


In almost all cases you want a 64 Bit architecture. The 32 Bit architecture should only be used for under powered older computers (Early Windows Vista systems).


Once you’ve made your select select Next:


Although the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool can create a FAT32 Bootable USB Flash Drive directly I prefer to download the .iso file and save it to an external hard drive. This way it is easy to remake a bootable USB should something go wrong when attempting to create the first one for instance files not copying across completely:

rs1l rs1m

Select your location for the download e.g. in my case Downloads. Name your .iso accordingly and select Save:

rs1n rs1o

It will take a while to download:

rs1p rs1q rs1r

When done select Finish:


Ignore the message about burning the .iso to a DVD. DVDs are obsolete and a USB flash drive should be used. Its faster to make the USB, install Windows from the USB and also a FAT32 formated USB is accepted by a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot. A DVD may be rejected in many cases.

Extract the .iso onto the Desktop (Variant A)

You may either extract the .iso to a folder on your Desktop (as Windows 7 can’t natively mount .iso files) or Create a USB Flash Drive to begin the setup from. The Bootable USB Flash Drive is recommended as it gives you a means of Booting from the USB Flash Drive if something goes wrong with the install.

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:


Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive (Variant B)

With this .iso you may use Rufus to create a bootable USB:

Rufus does not need to be installed and can be run directly by double clicking on the application.


Accept the User Account Control Prompt:


The order that you use Rufus is important failure to perform the steps in the order listed may lead to an incorrectly created Bootable USB

1. Select the USB Device:


2. Load the .iso:

Press the button to load the .iso:


Select the .iso and select open:


3. Check the Checksums (optional). Note if one uses the Media Creation Tool setup files are Downloaded to your Computer and the .iso is created on your Computer. As the .iso is created on your computer the checksums will be unique.

Rufus has the option to check the checksums.



4. Rename the volume label (optional).

I like to include the build number and the architecture in my volume Label.

e.g. I use labels like:

  • Win10_14393_x64
  • Win10N_14393_x64
  • Win10_14393_x64_MBR
  • Win10N_14393_x64_MBR


5. Select the Partition Scheme and then Target System Type.

  • If you have a system with a SMBIOS version of 2.7 or later or a SMBIOS version of 2.6 that has support for a UEFI Boot select the GPT Partition scheme. The File System has to be FAT32 in order to pass SecureBoot. This will only work with 64 Bit Windows 10.
  • If you have a system with a SMBIOS version of 2.4 or 2.5 or a SMBIOS version of 2.6 that doesn’t support a UEFI Boot select the MBR Partition scheme. The File System will be NTFS formatted.

16 win10mbr

6. Click Start


Select OK:


Wait until Rufus says READY then you can close it an use your Bootable USB.


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

Insert the Windows 10 RS1 (Build 14393/Version 1607) 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:


At this screen its critical that you select “Not at this moment” and do not leave feedback to “help make Windows Installation Better” otherwise you’ll be asked for a Windows 10 only product key: vlcsnap-2016-08-08-07h58m50s795 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-07h59m38s213

Accept the license agreement:

vlcsnap-2016-08-08-08h00m22s231 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-08h00m33s600

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:

vlcsnap-2016-08-08-08h01m00s093 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-08h01m14s476

Here you can decide what to keep. Since you haven’t followed my guide for A Clean Install I’ll assume you want to keep your personal files and apps so just select Install:


Windows 10 RS1 will now install and your computer will restart three times:



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


You can either use Microsoft’s Express Settings or Customise the Settings. Its essentially a trade-off between convenience and the amount of data you want to share with Microsoft:

vlcsnap-2016-08-08-22h47m50s831 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-22h48m16s329 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-22h48m36s577 vlcsnap-2016-08-08-22h48m46s790

You can then opt to use Cortana or not:


Select Next:

vlcsnap-2016-08-08-22h49m20s045 - Copy

You will enter the last few screens of the Windows 10 RS1 install:


Finally you will be on the Windows 10 RS1 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 system:


It should say “Windows is Activated” at the bottom:






110 thoughts on “The Initial upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 RS1

  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