This guide looks at an upgrade installation of Windows 10 Version 1909 using a Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 OEM or Retail License.
The Free Upgrade
Windows 7 Reaches End of Life in just less than a week and despite Microsoft's website stating that the Free Upgrade period ended on the 29th of July 2019 all activation mechanisms for the Windows 7 OEM or Windows 8.x OEM to Windows 10 Free Upgrade remain in place and I have extensively tested upgrading to Windows 10 on Devices that have a Windows 7 OEM License that have never had Windows 10 installed. It is however recommended to perform an initial clean installation on older PCs as you are likely to get better performance.
Checking your OS Build
To check your Version of Windows 8.1 or 10 right click the Start Button and select System:
If it is not Version 1903 you have an older Version of Windows. If it is not Build 18362, you don't have the Mainstream Build of Version 1903. For example in my case I have Build 18343 which is an Insider Preview Build:
Windows 10 Version 1903 is a Free Upgrade for any Computer running Windows 7 OEM, Windows 8.x OEM or an earlier Build of Windows 10 OEM. It will also work with systems that have Windows 7 Retail, Windows 8.x Retail and Windows 10 Retail Licenses.
For an Upgrade Install with an eligible License, you do not need a Product Key.
This expanded section will give more details about Licenses and the Activation Mechanism behind in place Upgrade Installs:
- For a system with a Windows 8.1 OEM, Windows 10 OEM License, the Product Key is embedded within the systems UEFI BIOS and will automatically be input.
- For a system with a Windows 7 OEM License, Windows 7 Retail, Windows 8.x Retail or Windows 10 Retail License that has already has an earlier Version of Windows 10 Installed. Your system's hardware profile (motherboard details) is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation Server and is known as a Windows 10 Device. In the background, it will resubmit your motherboard details to the Microsoft Product Activation Server, which will recognise your system and reactivate it.
- For a system running Windows 7 OEM, a process called GatherOSState.exe will automatically be run in the background during the Upgrade Install and Create a GenuineTicket.XML. It will submit your systems hardware profile (motherboard details) to a Microsoft Product Activation Server and make your system a Windows 10 Device. Your system will automatically activate in the background once Windows 10 submits the GenuineTicket.XML to the Microsoft Product Activation Server.
GatherOSState.exe is found in the sources Folder of Windows 10 Installation Media.
On your Windows 7 OEM Install you can copy it to the Desktop.
For quickness I will just use my Windows 10 OEM Install to demonstrate that this Activation Mechanism still works. Note that this Activation Mechanism is not used for a base Windows 10 OEM License however and is designed for a Windows 7 OEM License or a Windows 7 Retail or Windows 8.x Retail License.
You can then right click it and run it as an administrator:
Accept the User Account Control:
If your Windows Installation is Genuine and you are connected to the internet a File called GenuineTicket.XML will be generated. If it is not genuine, no file will be created.
Post-installation the GenuineTicket.XML will be present in its location below:
Once this file is present the system will automatically activate after a restart, providing it is connected to the Internet:
The procedure highlighted above is done Automatically with an Initial Windows 7 OEM to Windows 10 Upgrade and does not require user intervention however if performing an in place Upgrade Install from Windows 7 to Windows 10, I would recommend manually Creating the GeunineTicket.XML so you have it to hand in he very rare cases, your Upgrade Install goes sour and you need to perform an Initial Clean Install.
|1909 (September 2019)||18363|
|1903 (March 2019)||18362|
|1809 (September 2018)||17763|
|1803 (March 2018)||17134|
|1709 (September 2017)||16299|
|1703 (March 2017)||15063|
|1607 (July 2016)||14393|
|1511 (November 2015)||10586|
|1507 (July 2015)||10240|
|Windows 7 SP1||7601|
|Windows 7 SP0||7600|
Downloading the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant
The Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant can be Downloaded on the computer you wish to Upgrade:
Alternatively, you can Download a Windows 10 Version 1903 ISO and Make a Bootable USB on the Computer you wish to Upgrade or Another Computer.
This is particularly useful if you plan to Upgrade multiple PCs and I instruct in creating Windows 10 Installation Media here:
You will also need to use Installation Media if you wish to Upgrade a Windows 7 English Install.
Windows 10 assumes all Windows 7 English Installs are Windows 7 English (US) and as a consequence Upgrades to Windows 10 English (US).
To install English (UK) you need to perform the Upgrade Install Using English (UK) Installation Media.
Select Update Now:
You will then Download the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant:
Double click it to launch it:
If you are upgrading from Windows 10 Installation Media. Launch the setup.exe to begin the Upgrade. You will get similar screens (but not identical) to the Upgrade Assistant. I'll show the screens from the Upgrade Assistant:
Accept the User Account Control:
Select Update Now:
It will check if your Computer has a Compatible CPU, Memory and Adequate Disc Space. If it does you will be allowed to proceed. Select Next:
It will take some time to get your Update Ready:
Then you will be prompted to Restart:
You will be informed that you will be signed out and the Upgrade Install will Proceed:
Your Computer will Restart:
It will work on Updates:
It will restart again:
It'll continue to work on Updates:
You'll be taken to the Lock Screen:
You will get the final stages of your Upgrade Install:
Edge will inform you, that you have a new Version of Windows:
You can delete the Upgrade Assistant Shortcut Icon:
Right click the Start Button and select System:
You should now have Windows 10 Version 1909, Build 18363:
OEM Driver Update Utilities
The major OEMs such as Dell, HP and Lenovo have created driver update utilities which will scan the system and compare the driver version Windows 10 has inbuilt or installed from Windows Update to the latest version the OEM has on their servers. These tools should be installed and ran. More details here:
- Using Dell Update to Check for and Update Windows 10 System Drivers
- Using Lenovo System Update to Check for and Update Windows 10 System Drivers
- HP Support Assistant
It is also recommended to launch the Intel Driver & Support Assistant as most Dell, Lenovo and HP systems prebundled Intel hardware and prebundled Intel Drivers. As a result Intel may have a driver released to address an issue before your OEM does.
For older systems, Windows 10 will have most system drivers inbuilt or obtain them from Windows Update automatically, you can launch the OEM driver update utility but it may not find anything if Windows 10 has already obtained drivers for your hardware.
When Windows 10 is installed on older Dell/HP/Lenovo systems that were designed for Windows 7, a generic Touchpad Driver is installed, this is often reset to a default generic driver, post Upgrade Install. In many cases, this driver is severely lacking and the driver released by the Touchpad vendor was for an older version of Windows such as Windows 7. Many of these Touchpad drivers don't install correctly on Windows 10. As Touchpads haven't changed that much over time, the solution is often to install a Touchpad driver available for a newer model of Touchpad. As this Touchpad driver isn't designed for your hardware, it needs to be force installed via the Device Manager. See my popular guide Dell Touchpad Drivers for more details.
With newer (>2016 Hardware) there is a future push for Microsoft to natively support new Touchpads, so called “Precision Touchpads” which should alleviate any OEM driver issues.
If you have a Device where Windows couldn't find a driver automatically you can examine it in more detail via the Device Manager for more details see my guide Checking Hardware IDs using the Device Manager.
Windows 10 Features
With Windows 10 Version 1809 comes the new paste clipboard, the Emoji Panel was also introduced in Windows 10 Version 1803. For more details about these see Features to Enable in Windows 10.
If you already had Office 365 it should still be installed. If you need to install Office 365, see my guide Installing Office 365 (2019)
Windows 10 by default has Windows Defender giving base system security. If you want to install another security product then I recommend Malwarebytes' AntiMalware. There is a free version which only does an on demand scan or a paid version which does Realtime Protection. Below is an affiliate link:
Setting to Enable in Windows 10
Microsoft have created a Paste Clipboard, which allows you to Copy and Paste Multiple Commands. The new Paste Clipboard Shortcut is
[Windows] and [ v ]
They have also added Symbol Input to the Touchscreen Keyboard and Emoji Panel (Keyboard/Mouse use). The paste clipboard is also at the top of the onscreen keyboard:
For Keyboard and Mouse Users, the emoji panel has also been updated for Symbol Input. It can be accessed using the shortcut key:
[Windows]+[ . ]