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 guide was for an older build of Windows 10 and is now obsolete. For the latest build see Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads.



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.

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 1803 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 02/011/2018. This date is after Microsoft Removed the Accessibility Upgrade Installer and all Activation Mechanisms are Still Reported to Work.

The English Language Issue

For Windows 7, English (U.K.) and English (U.S.) were the same language. All Windows 7 English installs were actually Windows 7 English (U.S.) installs with optional Windows 7 English (U.K.) customisations. For Windows 8 and 10, Microsoft split English (U.S.) and English (U.K.) into different installation .isos and they are treated as different languages. For this reason, Microsoft assume all Windows 7 English OEM Installs with U.K. customisations are Windows 7 English (U.S.) OEM Installs.

If Upgrade this PC now is selected you will have the misfortune of installing English (U.S.) instead of English (U.K.):

The English (U.K.) time & date/regional and keyboard settings may be lost:

In order for the correct English Language to be selected, this guide launching 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 17763/Version 1809 – Windows 10 RS5
  • Build 17134/Version 1803 – Windows 10 RS4
  • 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 .iso

You must have either a Windows 10 .iso or Bootable USB to proceed. If you do not have one see Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads for more details.

The Windows 10 .iso can be mounted and then used to initiate the in place upgrade.

Note however that only Windows 8 and all builds of Windows 10 have the option to natively mount .isos by right clicking and selecting mount however 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 the inability to Mount the Installation .iso natively in Windows 7, one can either launch the setup from a Bootable USB or the .iso can be extracted and the setup can be launched 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 Bootable USB or Mount the .iso. Open the Drive 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 (U.S.) 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 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 install:


Finally you will be on the Windows 10 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":

You should look to see if Windows 10 Drivers are available from your OEM. See Microsoft Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads for more information about OEM Driver Update Utilities.

111 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.

  5. Do I need to back up my files before doing this, or will files and programs be spared?

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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?


  11. Sir please can you tell me what is the size of updates that windows 10 is downloading ?

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 %

  14. 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

  15. 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. Indeed Philip. There is no other device visible.

      2. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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 🙁

      2. I don't have this hardware to test with, have you posted on Microsoft Answers/Dell Community Forums to see if anyone else has any ideas?

  19. Will the drivers/utilities already installed still work?

    1. They should but an upgrade install usually performs worse than a Clean Reinstallation…

      Windows 10 must however be initially installed as an upgrade…

  20. I have Inspiron 15R N5110 (early 2011) , i5/4gb RAM Home Basic.When I click on windows 10 tells me that BIOS is not supported, although I already have A11. I thought may be A11 is outdated, I tried to install from dell Website but when i launch the downloaded BIOS file it says "cant flash the same BIOS version ". Is this really an issue with this model? I dont know what to do.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Just ignore the get Windows 10 App and proceed with using the Media Creation Tool. Many Inspiron N5110 customers have reported the issue and then reported a successful install.

  21. philip,
    i have finally received the win10 upgrade (it is happening as i write this).

    i am a bit scared.
    will you help me?

    this are my concerns:
    right now, i have a win8.1, clean installed from the .iso that MS provided. however, i feel there are some glitches in the present setup. they are:
    1. the BIOS setup is MBR instead of secure boot uefi. will i be able to correct this when i do a clean reinstall of win10?
    2. somehow, i have lost the connection with dell – dell recovery, etc.; dell quickset. will i be able to get it back on?

    the other confusions/unknowns are:
    1. my BIOS is A12. is it the latest (i have inspiron 3421)
    2. do i exactly follow the above guide after my win10 upgrade is complete?

    thank you.
    you have been a great friend and guide in matters of my dell and windows problems.

    1. You can follow the guide, here you must initially upgrade and cannot directly clean install. After the initial upgrade you can clean reinstall however. This is due to the new mechanism of product activation. The page you are on refers to the initial upgrade, for this and the Clean Reinstall afterwards including the creation of media and the changing of your BIOS setup to UEF and SecureBoot see here:

      The latest UEFI BIOS revision for that model is A12.

      On the Clean Reinstall you should be able to install the system drivers from here:
      Use the WT64A where listed and where they aren't use the WB64A drivers (e.g. for the Chipset and Quickset). If you want more speciifc help with the system drivers, provide the hardware IDs on a new post on the forums:
      See here:

      1. Philip, my upgrade is happening through windows update (as I had 'reserved' it when I got the pop-up message on my computer).

        so, I am assuming I don't need to use the media creation tool (mentioned in this guide) for the upgrade, right?
        and I will simply be asked to install win10 after the upgrade download is complete, correct?

      2. Should do but it was too slow for me via Windows Update which is why I used the Media Creation Tool directly.

      3. the blue screen that pops up when I click the windows 10 upgrade logo (on the bottom right), says the windows 10 is downloading in the background. but when I click the link to view the progress (which takes me to windows update), there is nothing about windows 10 download.

        is this ok?

  22. Philip,
    the blue window that pops up when i click the 'get window 10' icon (bottom right on taskbar) still says that windows 10 is downloading in background. this has been going on for more than 10 days now.
    also… when I click the 'view progress' button on that blue pop-up, instead of showing me the progress, it starts checking for windows updates.

    is this okay?
    should I, instead, follow your method of using media creation tool?
    if I use media creation tool, should I first cancel the reservation?

    1. I left a system on for 4 days recording to see if I could update via Windows Update. Nothing happened afterwards so I upgraded all my systems using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. I therefore advise that installation route.

      1. Philip… today, after almost 2 months, I find that my windows update shows windows 10 upgrade ready for install.

        what do you say? should I risk the windows update route to get the upgrade?
        or should i take the 'media creation tool' route of upgrading my machine (inspiron 3421)?

      2. Ensure you have the latest BIOS installed before upgrading. I'd recommend the media creation tool route. However if you are waiting to minimise risk…. Wait till Windows 10 TH2 (Threshold 2) is released.

      3. Philip,
        any idea/info on when is the Windows 10 TH2 (Threshold 2) release happening?

      4. It seems that Microsoft are finally taking into account feedback from this set of Windows Reinstallation Guides seriously. Microsoft will allow Windows 10 TH2 to accept Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 product keys:

        This will likely include Windows 7 OEM keys on COAs (if not faded) and Windows 8.x OEM BIOS embedded SLP keys including the with Bing Edition keys.

        As mentioned Windows 10 TH2 will be a serious refinement if nothing else it seriously improves the online distribution and deployment of Windows 10.

    1. I've tested both, if you are cautious you can do what I done… On another PC make a new Microsoft Account and use that to install…

      After the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro then Clean Reinstall Windows 10 Pro and use your own Microsoft Account or a local account.

  23. Thank you for the clear explanation. It was good to know what to expect! I just completed an upgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 to Windows 10 Pro on a Dell Latitude D820.

    1. My Latitude D820 worked pretty well with Windows 10. I only installed the Dell System Software, Alps Touchpad 8.1200.101.217 and Dell Quickset on A Clean Reinstall of Windows 10.

  24. What edition of windows 10 will I end up with by using the Win 10 Insider Preview?

  25. Hi Philip.

    I recently bought a PC that had Windows 7 Professional 32 bit OEM. I was able to get all updates and successfully update to windows 10. I'd really like to go to 64 bit, and was able to create a windows 10 x64 cd with the media creator. Will it be possible to do a clean install with this disk or do I have to find a windows 7 professional 64 bit disk or iso in order to go the 64 bit prior to using this x64 windows 10 cd?

    I have more than 4 gb ram in it now but of course can't use it without going 64 bit.

    Just need to know if I should be able to use this to do a clean install. I read all your articles I could find, and really appreciate the service you are providing to people here. It seems to me that my profile at microsoft would be at 32 bit and therefore I would fail activation on the clean install, but I wanted to know if I understand it right.

    Thanks again for your time, really appreciate what you're doing here.


    1. I wanted to say THANK YOU! And IT WORKED. I installed an old Windows 7 ultimate x64 hard drive … from an OEM like Dell or something…. into a MACINTOSH Intel-based system. It is an old Mac Pro. Strangely enough, I accidentally booted it and it worked. Well, now I was scared it would DE-activate while on the Mac. I quickly started the Windows 10 Pro (en-us) Insider Preview 10130 x64 disk from within Windows. (It had to be specially formatted due to the old Mac's BIOS).

      Next, I installed Win 10 r10130 Preview… deleted old Windows and installed to bare metal during this process (keep nothing). I had to hack in with SHIFT-F10 to edit my partitions during setup. (used the diskpart command) and once installed, I created a Microsoft account. I actually used a Yahoo email to do it. I logged in as the M$ account instead of local. I activated using the special key for this edition that begins with 6P99N I think. Once ready and inside the 10130 preview, I popped in the Windows 10 RTM x64 (en-us) specially formatted to boot on a Mac… I guess this extra formatting is not needed since I never needed to boot the DVD … So I followed your advice and kept the settings.

      Setup completed well, and I held my breath. It activated! And I did all of this in September 2015, well after RTM has been available. Besides getting the old Boot Camp stuff installed on the old Mac Pro, everything is running fine. And activated! with no key. I guess I can now remove my M$ account and go to local? And then re-install to bare metal?

      Has anyone done this on Virtual Machines VMs? I mean, if this works on a Mac with no install of Windows, it would work in any generic VM running Fusion, Parallels, VMWare, Virtual Box. Right?

      1. It works in VMWare. However bare in mind the VM may be lost when then base OS is formatted. The creation of a new VM with the base OS will not activate in the same way.

      2. Philip, you said, "It works in VMWare. However bare in mind the VM may be lost when then base OS is formatted. The creation of a new VM with the base OS will not activate in the same way." Can you clarify that? The way I understand a VM is that if the VM is running Windows 7, then I upgrade to the Insider preview by a DVD, then I should be able to activate the Insider Preview 10130. Then, I could upgrade to RTM and get an activated Windows 10 running inside a virtual machine. I can then shut down that VM, and move it to another host.

        What do you mean by "the VM may be lost when then base OS is formatted. "?? Can I just keep the same VM and upgrade it twice within the realm of the virtual machine BIOS and system? I guess at some point, I need to tell the host system that the guest OS is now Win 10 not Win 7 or whatever. It's been a while since I ran VMs, but I think both VMWare and VirtualBox need to know what the guest is.

        I actually have a Windows XP virtual machine or two that I want to try to create a Windows 10 VM with.

        Thanks Philip!!!!

      3. I mean if you have Computer 1 with Windows 10 and create a VM, call it VM1. Then reformat Computer 1 and lose VM1 during the format of Computer 1. Even if you use the same program e.g. VMWare player and settings to make a new VM, VM2. Windows 10 device based activation will treat VM2 as different hardware from VM1….

        This device based activation can thus make working with VMs a bit more difficult.

  26. Thanks, Philip! I successfully upgraded my Latitude D630 from Win XP to Windows 10 Pro and a new SSD. As follows, all per your guides.

    Upgrade BIOS to current A19 version (in XP).
    Download unofficial Windows 10 10130 build. Create bootable USB with Rufus.
    Remove HDD. Replace with new Toshiba Q Series Pro 128 GB SSD. ($50 on sale at Best Buy.)
    Boot from USB. Windows 10130 installs. Logged in using Microsoft account and activated it.
    Download and install Windows 10 Pro using Media Creation Tool from the desktop and activated.

    NO ISSUES AT ALL! A perfectly working, snappy Windows 10 Pro machine now! And I was just about to dispose of it.

    My D630 has 4 GB of RAM and the NVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M graphics adapter. Windows 10 installed the new NVIDIA driver version 341.74 (for Win10) and it works well at top resolution.

    My only regret is that I installed the 32-bit version of Windows 10 – not realizing up front that the D630 is capable of 64-bit. And, as you noted, to increase the memory to 8 GB costs well more than the machine is worth.

  27. My TODO List!

    1. Lenovo Thinkpad T61 with Vista Ultimate x86… upped to Win 7 Pro x64 due to a SLP BIOS enabler, Upped to Win 10 Pro x64. DONE!!
    2. Mac Pro 1,1 with no Windows OS … done! Stuck in Win 7 x64 Pro from the Lenovo (using an image), upped to r10130 Inside Preview x64, upped to Win 10 Pro x64. DONE!!
    3. Dell XPS 8500 with Windows 8.1 x64 [Home]… Planning on the upgrade path via r10130 to get Windows 10 Pro installed. (Two weeks left!)
    4. Dell Studio 1558 with Windows 7 Ultimate x64 … I can upgrade this at my leisure when ready to Windows 10 Pro OEM. (9 months left)
    5. Try upgrading a Windows XP SP 3 x86 system running in a Virtual Machine inside VirtualBox or maybe VMWare. (For extra Credit!! I wonder if I can switch it to x64?)

    Just so everyone knows, the upgrade path that uses r10130 gives you a generic Windows 10 license key in the RETAIL channel. I just checked with a great program called "Windows Diagnostic Tool" by Superfly. Version 1.05. (He's over in the Seven, Eight, and Ten forums) The key, by the way, ends with 3V66T for this x64/pro/English/US version. The Licensing Status Reason was 0x4004F401. This key will be seen in probably millions of PCs on this side of the pond. The UK key and other languages may be different… or maybe not. It may only have to do with the channel and the edition? I don't think it matters, because these keys are pointless now since they are never really seen except for geeks and for folks troubleshooting activation.

  28. I just got a new inspiron 15 5558 running windows 10 and i'd like to switch out the hdd for ssd. Can someone walk me through it? I already bought the ssd and I have a pen drive. Please i'll be waiting for your reply.

    1. You are best to post these questions on the Dell Windows 10 Forum opposed to the comments here.

      However you need first of all Windows 10 Installation Media:

      Alternatively Dell Backup and Recovery Media (I don't have a Dell Windows 10 OEM system) but if the system shipped from the Dell Factory with Windows 10, instructions should be similar to my Windows 8.1 guide here:
      If doing this I would advise preparing Windows 10 Installation Media aswell (just in case).

      Then you need to replace the drive (see the Dell Service Manual):

      After that you need to install Windows 10 on the SSD for Windows 10 installation Media see here:
      My Dell Backup and Recovery guide has instructions on reinstallation of Windows 8.1 which will be similar.

  29. Hi,
    Thanks for your article. It helped to convince me to do the upgrade yesterday.
    Dell Inspiron 3646 desk top with windows 8.1, 64 bit.
    Now Windows 10 Home edition 64 bit.
    All working so far.
    I tried to activate using your slui 4 and microsoft wouldn't accept the 9 blocks of numbers I entered via the phone. I have done this several times with no success, each time "Installation ID not verified".
    I spoke to an agent who asked if there were any errors, which there aren't up to now.
    Any ideas?

    1. Microsoft should be able to help you activate. Did you upgrade using the Windows Media Creation Tool? If so did you tell it to upgrade your installation or did you download the .iso and create installation media upgrading that way?

      Windows 10 should automatically activate online without the need for phone activation. Does it state Windows is unactivated in System?

      You may need to revert back to Windows 8.1 and try upgrading again. I thought a Microsoft Phone Activation centre would be of more help.

      1. Hi Philip,
        Yes I used your guide and the windows media creation tool as your guide suggests. The system states that windows is activated and all seems to be working fine so far.
        Why did you include the phone activation part? Is it really required if the system is activated?

      2. If Windows is activated do not bother with phone activation. Phone activation should only be used when normal activation doesn't work.

        That part was only mentioned for the minority that had an activation issue (its actually untested as I haven't experienced activation issues).

  30. I installed 10130 fine, but when upgrading to 10240 it asks for an activation key… and if I skip this step, no upgrade is possible, only custom install

      1. Thanks for reply. Yes, it's activated. There was some hick-up when I entered the activation key but when I checked the "system" menu it shows as "Windows is activated".

      2. By the way, can't it be that Windows media tool downloads the final Windows 10 version instead of the 10240? Maybe this is the problem? I will try now to download 10240.iso file from the website where I downloaded the 10130, will see if this helps 🙂

    1. Try Clean Reinstallation of 10130, try reactivating it and then try upgrading to Windows 10 Pro again. 10240 is the RTM version of Windows 10.

      1. No luck, now I just get blue screen "Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We will restart it for you" and the error "Page fault in nonpaged area". This happens during Windows 10 installation after the first reboot. Always. Tried different ways, nothing helps. And then when Windows restarts in 10130 I get message "the installation failed in the safe_os phase with an error during boot operation". I would think that something is wrong with my old Acer laptop's hardware, but it definitely meets all the Windows 10 requirements and moreover I successfully installed the 10130 twice, so seems like the hardware is OK. Is it possible that Microsoft is blocking installation? 🙂

      2. Others are reporting success so I doubt it and it still works in VMs for me.

        That error message seems to be a RAM issue, run hardware diagnostics. Since you have an Acer you'll need to look at their documentation for running preboot diagnostics.

  31. I have ASUS Windows 7 PRO OA edition but I have currently clean install of Windows 10 Beta edition on it, which will shortly expiry.

    I don't have Windows 7 disc but I have product key. Can I download generic Windows 7 x64 ISO and install it or do I need different OEM edition of ISO to install. l

  32. Dell Optiplex 360 Minitower
    2TB Drive & original 250GB drive
    2.93GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo
    8GB Ram
    AMD Radeon HD 5450 GPU
    Win 7 Pro 32 bit OEM

    This PC is not Win 10 supported by Dell-thank you Dell!

    Purchased a Win 7 Pro 64 bit OS and dual booted it with the original Dell OEM 32 bit version on my new 2TB drive.
    Upgraded the Win 7 Pro 64 bit to Win 10 Pro 64 bit without any problems.
    I have many applications that will not work properly on a 64 bit OS so I wanted to keep a 32 bit OS and decided to dual boot Win 10 64 bit with Win 10 32 bit.
    The Win 10 compatibility appraiser, however, advised me that the CPU was not supported.
    Have tried every possibility to manually rerun the appraiser but the results are the same-CPU not supported. Does not seem logical as the 64 bit upgrade was successful.
    Can anybody help?

  33. Took a slightly different route for my Dell Inspiron N4010 (WIndows 7 Home Premium). Downloaded Windows 10 Home 64-bit using the Media Creation tool. Performed initial upgrade via windows desktop. Used this guide to help me with the upgrade/installation. No problems or issues encountered. I now have an activated Window 10 Home 64-bit system.

    Thanks Philip. You rock !!!

    P.S. Any suggestions after this upgrade/installation?

      1. Thanks again Philip.

        BTW, if I replace my HDD with a new HDD (not a SSD), do I have to perform the whole "thing" again, or will a simple Clean Reinstall do it?

      2. If your system already has had Windows 10 installed and activated it is already a Windows 10 Device. So provide you match the Edition of Windows 10 Installed A Clean Reinstall will work (skipping the product key twice).

  34. I had an activated Windows 10 Single Language PC, I upgraded from Win 8 OEM on a Dell XPS 8700. I use a local account, never linked an outlook to it.

    After a failed windows update installation it simply crashed and didn't want to boot, I was unable to recover using Win 10 recovery features.

    Then I downloaded the ISO and tried to reinstall Win 10 Single Language, I didn't add any key during installation, now I can't activate the OS. It shows error 0xC004C003, I talked to the Windows guys and they said I should wait, I did a week or so, but it seems that error code forces me to go back to Win 8.

    What went wrong? Could this be because of not using an account on the system?


  35. I had an activated Windows 10 Single Language PC, I upgraded from Win 8 OEM on a Dell XPS 8700. I use a local account, never linked an outlook to it.

    After a failed windows update installation it simply crashed and didn't want to boot, I was unable to recover using Win 10 recovery features.

    Then I downloaded the ISO and tried to reinstall Win 10 Single Language, I didn't add any key during installation, now I can't activate the OS. It shows error 0xC004C003, I talked to the Windows guys and they said I should wait, I did a week or so, but it seems that error code forces me to go back to Win 8.

    What went wrong? Could this be because of not using an account on the system?


    1. Unfortunately Microsoft's (flawed) deployment of the Windows 10 requires an upgrade to register your device as a Windows 10 Single Language Device.

      Since your system never booted, its likely not registered as a Windows 10 Single Device and hence you have the activation issue.

      You should reinstall Windows 8.1 Single Language, then if available update your UEFI BIOS. After that perform the upgrade again:

      To Download Windows 8.1 Single Language see here:

      I have put together some notes on the Windows 10 activation:

      1. I had over a month with Windows 10 running… and it was activated. That's why I thought something was wrong.

        I'll take a look for the bios update and do 8.1 installation, hope it does grab my OEM key directly.

        Thanks, sorry for the double post, got an error message and I tried again.

  36. Last September I used the Media Creation Tool to download Windows 10 Home 64-bit (US). File size was.3,269,120 KB

    Today I downloaded another copy but this time the file size was different ,,, 3,417,856 KB.

    .Why the difference in file sizes?

    1. I got the same file size when I tested in September: 3,269,120 KB. Its possible Microsoft have updated the .isos and added some updates.

  37. thanks for that awesome news… and all the effort you have put in to influence MS to simplify Win10 deployment.
    thank you.

      1. thank you so much, Philip, for taking care to let me know of this.
        very grateful.

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