The Free Upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10
Although the initial marketing in August 2015 stated that the Windows 7 to Windows 10 Free Upgrade would only be valid for the first year. Microsoft fixed many of the Product Activation issues these guides flagged up and since November 2015 Windows 7 Product Keys have acted as Windows 10 Product Keys and all Upgrade Mechanisms remain in place.
System which have Windows 7 Pro (Downgrade Rights)
If you have a newer Dell Business Model with a 5th-6th Generation Intel Processor with Windows 7 Pro preinstalled. You actually have Windows 7 Pro installed using OEM Downgrade Rights and have the following stickers affixed. This guide is not applicable as you have a 25 Digit Product Key embedded in the systems ACPI Tables of the UEFI BIOS and Windows 10 Installation Media will automatically input this automatically during installation.
If you have one of these stickers, you can install RWEverything. Then select Access → ACPI Tables and look for a MSDM tab. This will contain your 25 Digit Product Key (which Windows 10 will automatically input during installation).
You do not need to follow any of the additional steps in this guide. See Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs for A Clean Install of Windows 10 Guide.
Reinstallation of Windows 10
If Windows 10 Edition (of any Version) has previously been installed and activated on your system (e.g. via a previous Upgrade Install) then you are reinstalling Windows 10 opposed to installing Windows 10. The difference between the two is subtle and to do with Product Activation. If you have had Windows 10 activated in the past, your systems motherboard profile is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation Server. You can skip any prompt for a Product Key and it will automatically reactivate when online.
See Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs for A Clean Install of Windows 10 Guide.
Installation of Windows 10: The Initial Free Upgrade
There are two ways to get to Windows 10 Initially Activated on a System with a Windows 7 License:
- Windows 7 Product Key
- Requires one to Read the Key off the CoA
- Windows 7 to Windows 10 Upgrade Install
- Upgrade Installs can be Problematic from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Clean Installs are better.
The first mechanism requires the Product Key found on the CoA to be intact. These are often found under the battery compartments of laptops to prevent fading:
Take a Note of the Edition and the Product Key. You do not need to follow the rest of the guide if you have these. See Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs for A Clean Install of Windows 10 Guide.
If you however are unfortunate enough to have a CoA that looks something like this then the key is unreadable and you require a working Windows 7 Install to get your Windows 10 Free Upgrade:
The Initial Clean Install of Windows 10 Using a Faded CoA
This guide essentially uses the Product Activation Mechanism of an Upgrade Install and Applies it to a Clean Install of Windows 10. This allows one to perform the Official Free Upgrade overcoming issues from Upgrade Installs and issues from a faded CoA.
Windows 7 OEM SLP
Windows 7 must be installed using OEM SLP and the system drivers must be installed so you can get online to contact Microsoft’s Product Activation Server. I cover Downloading Windows 7 and Installation of Windows 7 using OEM SLP in great detail in Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs.
Windows 10 Installation Media
You will need a Windows 10 Bootable USB. I cover Downloading Windows 10 and Creating a Bootable USB in Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs.
Checking Windows 7 is Activated
Go to start and right click computer then select properties:
Take not of your Windows 7 Edition and Activation Status. Windows 7 Should be Activated and you should be activated using a Product ID that Contains OEM-899.
Insert your Windows 10 Bootable USB and open it in Windows Explorer:
Go to the Sources Folder:
Find the Application GatherOSState.exe and copy it:
Paste it to the Desktop:
Right Click it and Select Run as Administrator:
Accept the User Account Control:
You will notice a GenuineTicket.xml is created.
Copy it to your Bootable USB.
You now have Windows 10 Installation Media and the means to Activate Windows 10.
Upgrading to a Solid State Drive (SSD)
If you have an older Mechanical Hard Drive (HDD) in your PC you may get a substantially low performance when running Windows 10 due to the slow speed of the HDD (100 % Disc Usage). It is recommended to replace the HDD with a Solid State Drive (SSD) and 250 GB Models are now affordable. For SSD and Memory Upgrades the best Vendor is Crucial, I have been recommending them for years and just recently joined their affiliate program. If purchasing an upgrade please click the link below as affiliate purchases will help cover my website costs.
Install Windows 10 without a Product Key and select the Correct Edition see my guide Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs for A Clean Install of Windows 10.
|Edition of Windows 7||Edition of Windows 10 to Install|
Activating Windows Using the GenuineTicket
Go to Start and Select Settings:
Settings will be watermarked, informing you Windows isn’t activated:
Clicking on the Watermark shows:
All Personalisation Settings will be grayed out:
During the Upgrade Install Windows 10 Generates the Genuine Ticket and Places it in:
We must essentially mimic this. Copy and paste the folder address into the address bar:
Paste your GenuineTicket.xml to this folder and select any prompts to elevate permissions:
Once this is done restart your PC:
Once you’ve done this, Settings should no longer be watermarked and if you are on a Mainstream Build the Desktop will no longer be watermarked: