Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 10 RS1 Free Upgrade


The Free Upgrade Path expired on the 2nd of October 2015. With some trickery one could change the date and continue to activate Windows 10130 Insider Preview to use as a stepping stone to Windows 10 Pro. On the 26th of August 2016 Microsoft patched their Product Activation Servers. Consequently the Windows 10130 Insider Preview Path cannot be activated, terminating this Free Upgrade path.

Note: If you have already made your system a Windows 10 Pro Device using the Windows 10130 path it'll continue to work.

I am Still Running Windows Vista Are There Any Free Upgrade Paths to Windows 7 or Windows 10?

Systems sold within the first year of the release of Windows 7 had a Free Upgrade to Windows 7. These systems typically had a SMBIOS of 2.5. For these systems the OEM typically released a BIOS Update which updated the SLIC from 2.0 to 2.1 and this makes the system eligible for Windows 7 OEM System Locked Preinstallation. You can then install and activate Windows 7 32 Bit and generate a genuine ticket to activate a clean install of Windows 10 32 Bit. More details are about this are available Updating your BIOS in Windows Vista and Checking the SLIC Version. If the systems SLIC remains at 2.0 you can still install Windows 10 without a Product Key. This will leave your system unlicensed with it watermarked to the bottom right hand corner and you will be restricted when it comes to some settings but otherwise it is fully usable and more functional than Windows Vista. It will also be patched and be safer to use online.
See Windows OEM FAQs and Downloads for more details on clean installing Windows 10 Home 32 Bit (note when making media this system will be a Legacy System).

Running Windows 10 Unlicensed

For those running Windows Vista, on a system without a SLIC Version of 2.1, it is possible to download a Windows 10 .iso and install with a local account, without a Product Key. This will run Windows 10 unlicensed…

During setup select "I Don't Have a Product Key":

Then select the Edition of Windows you want to install (Windows 10 Home recommended):

During the Account setup, select "Offline Account":

Select "No" when asked to sign in with Microsoft:

Enter your username and then select next:

Enter your password and then select next or alternatively leave the password field blank and select next:

Decline Cortana:

Select No at Activity History (it likely won't work with Windows 10 Unlicensed):

Select "Don't use online speech recognition":

Select "No" for location:

Select "No" at find my Device:

Select Basic Diagnostics:

Select No to improve typing:

Select "No" for diagnostic data:

Select "No" for the Advertising ID:

When Windows 10 is unlicensed, you will get a watermark below settings:

Some of the personalisation settings will be greyed out but this is minor and the default user interface will still be superior to Windows Vista:

The bottom right hand corner of your Windows 10 will be watermarked:

Otherwise you will be able to install programs, have full Windows 10 functionality and updates. You can use Windows 10 unlicensed to evaluate the performance of Windows 10 on your hardware – Microsoft seem to have done away with the forced sign outs etc. for unlicensed software like they had for earlier Editions of Windows.

Running Windows 10 unlicensed is still better than running Windows Vista because you will still receive security patches and more programs are likely to work on your Operating System.

Running Windows 10 unlicensed will theoretically let you determine whether it is worth the cost of buying a new Windows 10 License for your hardware although for old Windows Vista hardware (most which is > 10 years old) I would recommend saving your cash up and buying newer hardware (with an associated Windows 10 OEM License).

Expired 10130 Insider Preview Upgrade Path

This guide reached 160,000 views before the 26th of August 2016… meaning a significant number of Windows Vista OEM machines were made Windows 10 Pro Devices using this route. This Unofficial Free Upgrade Path allowed new Windows 10 Pro Activations for a Period of 1 Year Unofficially aligning with Microsoft's initial official marketing for Free Upgrades from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

You will get the following error message:

"Error 0x80072F8F On a computer running Microsoft Windows non-core edition, run 'slui.exe 0x2a 0x80072F8F' to display the error text."

10130 End

You will not be able to register a Windows Vista or Windows XP system via the 10130 Insider Preview with a Microsoft Product Activation server to make it a new Windows 10 Pro Device without buying a key.


This guide has complimentary tutorial videos.

Introduction – Why Consider Upgrading?

This is a Dell based guide but will work on non-Dell systems also. The only differences are the keys [F2] and [F12] to enter the BIOS setup and opt for the one-time Boot menu may be different. You should also check for BIOS updates from your perspective OEMs website.

01 August 2016 OS Marketshare 1 in 100 computers run Windows Vista and 10 in 100 computers run Windows XP…

End of OS Support

  • 11 Apr 2017: Windows Vista reached End of Life and no security patches will be released since. See here for more details. Windows 10 performs significantly better than Windows Vista and is significantly more secure.
  • 08 Apr 2014: Windows XP reached End of Life (>2 years ago) and no security patches have been released since. See here for more details. Windows 10 performs significantly better than Windows XP if the hardware meets minimum requirements and is significantly more secure.

End of Browser Support

  • 12 Jan 2016: Support for all versions of Internet Explorer except for Internet Explorer 11. See here for more details.
  • 01 May 2016: Google have just dropped support for Windows Vista and Windows XP.

When Chrome is launched a yellow warning will display stating:

"This computer will no longer receive Google Chrome Updates because Windows XP and Windows Vista are no longer supported." Learn more.

Chrome Message

This means that the continued use of Google Chrome and these Operating Systems in general should be considered insecure. It hasn't happened currently however eventually websites may block out of date versions of Chrome and Internet Explorer 9.

This gives a primary security exploit…

Bank Robber

Needless to say don't use an unsupported browser (i.e. anything running on a Windows Vista or Windows XP Operating System) for:

  • Online Banking
  • Paypal
  • eBay
  • Amazon

etc. etc.

End of Driver Support

No new drivers will be created for new peripherals (e.g. that new printer) for these legacy Operating Systems.

The Unofficial Free Upgrade Path

Microsoft did not provide an Official Free Upgrade Path for Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 10 RS1.

Disclaimer: This is an Unofficial Upgrade path and has no support from Dell or Microsoft. However any system shipped with Windows XP or Windows Vista won't have any official support anyway as the warranty has long expired… and both Operating Systems are more or less at End of Life.

untitled1 (1)

The Windows Insider Build 10130 was the last Windows Insider Build to utilise a generic product key for Microsoft Product Activation. With this build Microsoft let all Windows Insiders Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. This upgrade path can be used to upgrade any legacy system that satisfies Windows 10's minimum system requirements. I focus primarily on systems shipped with Windows Vista OEM and secondary with systems shipped with Windows XP OEM. This guide can also be used on VMs as discussed here.

Microsoft may stop Activation of Windows 10130 Insider Preview at any point in time which would effectively shut down this unofficial upgrade path for good. In testing this Unofficial Upgrade path works 10 months after the expiry date of build 10130, moreover it works with RS1 installation media which was released 10 months after the expiry date on Windows 10 Insider Build 10130.

I have last tested this on the 10/08/2016 on a VM. I have made a YouTube recording on the 03/08/2016.

Before upgrading its recommended that your BIOS revision is up to date. This guide will result in Data loss so its recommended you back up all your data to an external hard drive. If you are sceptical about this upgrade path or unsure how well your legacy system will run Windows 10 make sure you've made an Macrium Reflect Backup so you can revert to Windows Vista.

Gathering Details about your System

Press [Windows] and [ r ] and type in msinfo32 and press [Enter]. Top images are for Windows XP and bottom Windows Vista.

msinfo32 xp a


You will be told the following (I will give some notes below):

msinfo32 xp b


As the Processor information for Windows XP is a bit cryptic you may also want to right click the start button and right click My Computer and select Properties:

system xp c

This will give you the model of your processor and installed physical memory (RAM):

system xp d

OS Name and Version

This doesn't matter too much in this guide as you are going to use the Windows 10130 Insider Preview as your base Windows OS. This will give you Windows 10 Pro as a Free Upgrade in all cases.

System Model and System Manufacturer

Its important to know both your system manufacturer and system model. This information may be required when checking to see if you need to update your system BIOS or in the rare cases need to look for drivers later. If commenting on a successful install please include this information.

SMBIOS version

Take a note of the SMBIOS version.

Systems with an SMBIOS of 2.3 (Early Windows XP) or earlier are not Windows Vista/7/8.x or 10 compatible. This likely includes yucky hardware such as a Pentium 4 or worse, DDR RAM or worse, a IDE HDD or worse and Intel 915GM graphics or worse. All which belong in a museum.

This guide mainly focuses on systems with an SMBIOS version of 2.4 (Early Windows Vista systems) or 2.5 (Late Windows Vista systems).

  • Earlier Windows Vista systems like the Latitude D820 shown may have a processor with a 32 Bit instruction set only. This systems processor was upgraded from an Intel T2600 which has a 32 Bit instruction set to an Intel T7200 which has a 64 Bit instruction set. 64 Bit Windows can only run on a processor with a 64 Bit instruction set but 32 Bit Windows can run on either. Hint if you have an Intel Processor search for the "Intel Ark Processor #" e.g. "Intel Ark T7200".
  • Late Windows Vista systems should all be Windows 10 64 Bit compatible.

Note for systems with an SMBIOS of 2.6 you likely have a Windows 7 OEM COA and can carry out the Official Upgrade Path unless the COA is faded. The OptiPlex 390 shown as an example is utilising OEM downgrades from Windows 7 Professional to Windows XP Professional.

This guide does not support systems with a UEFI BIOS (version 2.7 or later) which should have a Windows 8.x/10 UEFI BIOS OEM SLP key or Windows 7 OEM COA and be eligible for the Official Upgrade Path. These systems may also have newer hardware unsupported by the 10130 .iso. See Download a Windows 10 OEM and Retail .iso for the Official Upgrade Path.

BIOS Version

The BIOS should be updated to the latest version available before upgrading to Windows 10 as the BIOS updater may not run correctly on Windows 10. For convenience I will list the latest BIOS Update for all Dell systems (except Alienware) that were sold during the sales period of Windows Vista as well as the date of the system model. If using a non-Dell check with your system manufacturer's driver and downloads page.

Adamo Desktops

Dimension Desktops

Inspiron Desktops

Inspiron Laptops

Latitude Laptops

OptiPlex Desktops

Precision Desktops

Precision Laptops

Studio Desktops

Studio Laptops

Vostro Desktops

Vostro Laptops

XPS Desktops

XPS Laptops

Installing the Latest BIOS Update

The BIOS update is a firmware update. This type of update updates the firmware for your system BIOS. You launch the BIOS update within Windows but the computer restarts and updates the BIOS within BIOS. Therefore once a BIOS update is applied it remains applied even if Windows is reinstalled.

Note An incorrect BIOS update has the potential to kill your computer entirely.

Before updating the BIOS its advisable to make sure all programs are closed.

For Windows XP double click the BIOS Update. For Windows Vista right click the BIOS update and select run as an administrator.


For Windows Vista you'll need to accept the User Account Control prompt:


The BIOS update will then launch and tell you what revision you have and what revision the BIOS flash is.

If you are up to date or equal to the BIOS revision or its unsupported as in the case of my XPS 8300 it will tell you and will not allow you to flash only giving you the option to quit:


If its supported it will allow you to select continue:


Click ok


The computer will then restart and restart the BIOS update.

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DO NOT DISTURB THE COMPUTER DURING THIS TIME and certainly do not cut power. If you do then likely you will kill the computer entirely.

Once the computer loads into Windows some of the BIOS updates will re-launch automatically but then will tell you that you have the latest version already so just click cancel. You may then delete the BIOS update from the Desktop.

Some BIOS updates may require perquisite BIOS updates as mentioned. Try to update the BIOS in the least number of steps.

You can then recheck msinfo32 to see if the BIOS update has applied correctly:


Additional Notes on Systems Shipped with Windows XP/Vista OEM Licenses

Officially there is no free upgrade from genuine Windows Vista or Windows XP to genuine Windows 10 so we will need to utilise the Unofficial Windows 10130 Upgrade path in all these cases.

Can My Hardware Run Windows 10?

All of the systems listed with SMBIOS 2.5 can run Windows 10 64 Bit without any issues providing enough RAM is installed (4 GB preferred) and the necessary processor technologies should be enabled by default you can proceed directly to Download Links and Prepaing a Windows 10 Bootable USB.

Systems with an SMBIOS of 2.4 may be limited by a processor with a 32 Bit set and thus stuck on Windows 10 32 Bit. Systems with an SMBIOS of 2.4 may need the PAE, NX or SSE2 settings enabled in the Legacy BIOS setup in order to install Windows 10. This will be discussed below.

If you aren't sure whether your legacy hardware with an SMBIOS of 2.4 running Windows XP/Vista is Windows 10 capable or whether you need to enable PAE, NX or SSE2 run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant which is the last Upgrade Assistant than runs on XP and Vista. The system requirements are almost identical for 32 Bit Windows 8.1 and 32 Bit Windows 10. The Upgrade Assistant can be found here:!721&authkey=!AOhXrY_SIbN59Ac&ithint=folder%2cexe (Removed by Microsoft 16/03/2016 as Windows 8 is at End of Life)

Simply run the upgrade assistant:


It will scan your computer to determine whether its compatible:


Click see compatibility details:


The compatibility details may show some of the following details to review:


You are looking for it to state issues specifically about your hardware.

The 4 issues it lists in this case aren't significant:

  • Install an App to play a DVD. – No problem install VLC player after Windows 10 RS1 installation.
  • SecureBoot isn't compatible with your PC. – No problem Windows 10 can run in a legacy BIOS using the MBR partition scheme. It won't perform as well and will be less secure than a newer system with these technologies.
  • Sidebar Gadgets aren't supported. – No problem, few people use these and the Apps in the Windows 10 Store are far superior.
  • Your screen resolution isn't compatible with snap. – No problem the screen resolution for Windows 10 was lowered to support 800×600 as a minimum.

A fifth common problem that the tool often reports is that mandatory processor security technologies PAE, NX, and SSE2 aren't present or disabled in the BIOS setup. If you do not have an error message mentioning PAE, NX or SSE2 continue directly to Download Links and Prepaing a Windows 10 Bootable USB.

To Enter your Legacy BIOS setup. Power down your computer. Wait 10 seconds and power it up. Press [F2] at the Dell BIOS Screen. Other OEMs may use a different function key or [Esc].

1. Dell BIOS

This will take you to the BIOS setup. Your BIOS setup may look slightly different to mine but the procedure should be similar. Read the instructions at the bottom of the BIOS setup for instructions.

I will press the [↓] key until I get to Security:


Then I will press [Enter] to expand the Security category:

vlcsnap-2016-01-30-23h34m52s628 vlcsnap-2016-01-30-23h34m58s166

Now I am going to look for processor or CPU related Security fields. In my case I have the field CPU No-eXecute Support so I will highlight that field and press [Enter].


Then I will make sure that CPU No-eXecute support is enabled:


Then I will press [Esc] to Exit the BIOS setup:


Then opt to Exit the BIOS setup.


These may also be mapped to different keys, some BIOS will have [Esc] as the key to exit the BIOS setup discarding changes and the [F10] as the button to exit the BIOS setup but saving changes. As I said read the instructions on your screen to confirm.

If you have had to enable these security technologies boot into Windows XP or Windows Vista and rerun the upgrade advisor. Make sure it doesn't have the same error message about PAE, NX or SSE2.

Download Links and Preparing a Windows 10 Bootable USB

You will need 2×8 GB USB flash drives for this step.

On the first one you will need to prepare a Windows 10130 Bootable USB and on the second one you will need to prepare a Windows 10 RS1 (Build 14393/version 1607) Bootable USB.

Because you are performing an upgrade install you cannot cross architectures. Use the 32 Bit 10130 .iso with the 32 Bit 14393 .iso alternatively the 64 Bit 10130 .iso with the 64 Bit 14393 .iso.

10130 Insider Preview .iso

As the Insider Preview has expired Microsoft have removed it from their server. 

The file sizes for the 10130 Insider Preview .iso were as follows:

10130 sizes

I recommend checking the CRC SHA. Once 7-zip is installed, simply right click the .iso and select CRC SHA and then select the *:


This will give you the various checksums and they should match the checksums below.

If they are different you will have an incomplete/corrupt download.

10130 x8610130 x64

Windows 10 Version 1607 .iso

The Download Link for Windows 10 RS1 is here:

As Windows XP/Vista aren't supported with the Windows 10 Version 1607 Media Creation Tool Direct Links will be shown.

Once on this page scroll down:

Use of Techbench

Select Windows 10 as the Edition. Do not select Windows 10N or Windows 10 Home Single Language.

Wait for the .iso to Download.


One will also need to Download Rufus to make the Bootable USBs:

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


If on Vista or later accept the User Account Control Prompt:


Don't bother checking for updates as you likely already have the latest version:


Load the .iso:


For the 1st USB select the 10130 .iso. When you repeat the procedure for the 2nd USB select the RS1 (Build 14393/version 1607) .iso.


Ensure your USB is shown here:


Since its assumed you're using a computer shipped with Late Windows XP, Windows Vista or Early Windows 7 you won't have a UEFI BIOS. Ensure you are using the MBR partition scheme for (Legacy) BIOS.


Ensure the MBR Partition Scheme for BIOS or UEFI_CSM is selected and the File System is NTFS.


Select Ok:


Wait for Rufus to make the Bootable USB. When it says Ready close Rufus.


Repeat this procedure with your second USB flash Drive and the RS1 (Build 14393/version 1607) .iso.

Changing the Time in your BIOS Setup

Power down your computer. Wait 10 seconds and power it up. Press [F2] at the Dell BIOS Screen. Other OEMs may use a different function key or [Esc].

1. Dell BIOS

This will take you to the BIOS setup. Your BIOS setup may look slightly different to mine but the procedure should be similar. Read the instructions at the bottom of the BIOS setup for instructions.

"I set a date with an Yankee lassie on the 10/02 (10th of February) and she arrived late on the 10/02 (2nd of October)."

I have deliberately set the date for the 09/09/2015 (9th of September) – this way there is no confusion between British and American date/time formats.

I will press the [↓] key until I get to Data/Time:


Then I will press [Enter] to enter the field:


I will then press [→] until I get to the month.


I will press the [↓] key until I get to September.  I will press the [→] key until I get to the year and press the [↓] key until I get to 2015.


Then I will press [Enter] to finish modifying the date:


The time in my BIOS setup is now September 2015.


I will now press [Esc] to exit the setup.


Before exiting I will insert my Windows 10130 Insider Bootable USB into one of the free USB ports. I will make sure all other USB ports are empty with the exception of mouse and keyboard. If you have an Ethernet cable plugged into your system also ensure that you remove it.

Then I will press  [→] to get to Exit and then press [Enter].


Note for some BIOS setups you will get the option to Exit Discarding Changes or Exit saving changes.

These may also be mapped to different keys, some BIOS will have [Esc] as the key to exit the BIOS setup discarding changes and the [F10] as the button to exit the BIOS setup but saving changes. As I said read the instructions on your screen to confirm.

When you exit the Dell BIOS setup you will see the Dell BIOS screen again. Ensure you hit F12 to get to the Boot Menu:


Press the [↓] until you highlight the USB Storage Device and then press [Enter].


Press any key when prompted such as “h” when it says Press any Key to boot from CD/DVD.

Clean Install Build 10130


Select your language and keyboard settings (if using the .iso from the unofficial location, you will need to select English (United States) as the Language as this .iso is locked to that language. The time and currency format and keyboard or input method can be set to your desired preference however. I have selected English (United Kingdom). When you have selected your preferences select next:


Select Install now:



Accept the license agreement:


As always select custom (advanced):


This is the screen you can load SATA drivers on as normal however this installation media is from 2015 and should accommodate the hardware of all Windows Vista systems.

I advise selecting drive options and deleting everything on the drive so it only Disc 0 Unallocated Space (assuming you only have one drive installed) as shown below.

Drive Deletion1

Then select Drive 0 and select next:


Windows 10130 will then install:


The computer will restart.

You will be given the setup options. Windows 10130 will try and instruct you to connect wireless to the internet (if you have a wireless card).


If you connect to the internet, Windows 10130 will automatically sync its time/date settings with the Windows server and inform you that the build has expired. You will no longer be able to activate this build if this happens (and have to change the date in the BIOS setup and clean install 10130 offline again).


You will be given setup options select express settings, theres no point in customising these settings as this is just an intermediate install which you will use directly to get to Windows 10RS1 (Build 14393/Version 1607):



In the next screen input your username and select Next. I wouldn't even bother inputting a password at this stage:


The rest of the setup will be automated:

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You will now be on the 10130 Desktop to the bottom right, click the clock:


Click change date and time settings:


Select time and language:


Turn set time automatically off:


To input the generic product key, right click the start button and select Command Prompt (Admin):


Accept the User Account Control prompt:


Type in

slmgr /ipk 6P99N-YF42M-TPGBG-9VMJP-YKHCF

Then press [Enter]


The dialogue box will come up telling you the product key is installed successfully. Press ok:


Now connect to your wireless network or connect your Ethernet cable.



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Wait 5 minutes….

Type in

slmgr /ato

Press [Enter]:


You will be informed that Windows is activated:


If you get the following error message you have not connected to the Internet or have been too fast. Wait another minute and retype

slmgr /ato:


If you get this error message however you have been online and Windows 10130 know you have went past the expiry date so you need to retry all the steps from the start of this guide.

10130 expired5

Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro RS1

Insert the Windows 10 Version 1607 Bootable USB. Open the USB from within Windows Explorer:


Double click the setup:


Select yes at the User Account Control prompt:


The Windows setup will load and prepare:



On the following screen ensure you select Not at this Moment and uncheck "I want to help make installation of Windows Better". Checking for Updates on the expired 10130 build may stall the installation. Then select next:


Accept the license agreement:


If you are changing language select ok here:


Select Change what to keep:


Select Nothing. This will give you a clean Windows 10 RS1 Install:


Windows 14393 RS1 will then restart and begin the upgrade during which it will restart another three times:


If you are connected to an ethernet or offline the next few screens won’t show. Select your wireless network:


Input your wireless password and select next:


Select customise settings and press “next” once you’ve made your desired selection on each page or use the express settings:

RS1 Settings1 (1)RS1 Settings1 (2)RS1 Settings1 (3)RS1 Settings1 (4)RS1 Settings1 (6)RS1 Settings1 (7)

Next select “I own it” for a home PC or “My organisation” for a work PC:

RS1 Settings1 (8)

For “I Own It” sign in with a Microsoft Account (recommended by Microsoft so you can use all of Microsoft’s services in particular OneDrive).

Alternatively skip this step and sign in with a local account. A Local Account can later be converted to a Microsoft Account if desired:

RS1 Settings1 (9)

The PC will configure the last stages and install Apps (which now work as Windows):

RS1 Settingsa (1)RS1 Settingsa (3)

RS1 Settingsa (2)

You can the opt to use Cortana or not:

RS1 Settings1 (10)


You should now be in the Windows 10 Desktop:

RS1 Desktop

The date will be correct but the exact time might not be. You can go to date/time settings and correct it to match the actual time.

Wait 10 minutes and then right click the start button and select System:


You should see that Windows is Activated and the Edition is Windows 10 Pro:


If you have checked too early it may state to connect to the internet to activate. Leave it another 5-10 minutes. Restart your computer and recheck if its activated. In all my test cases it was.


Now your system is a Windows 10 Pro Device. It won't have a product key but its hardware profile is stored and registered with a Microsoft Product Activation server.

You don't need to but you can clean install Windows 10 Pro at any time by skipping product key and it'll automatically reactive your Device when online…

For more details about clean installation and the definition of the Windows 10 Pro Device and the product activation mechanism see Download Windows 10 OEM and Retail RS1 .iso. During installation skip product key and select Windows 10 Pro. Windows 10 Pro will automatically reactivate on your system as it is a Windows 10 Pro Device. Feel free to use a Microsoft Account.

484 thoughts on “Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 10 RS1 Free Upgrade

  1. Hi Philip, Thanks for the detailed tutorial on installing windows 10. I have Vista Ultimate installed on my machine would like to get windows 10 on it. I downloaded the both iso files, used rufus to create bootable usb for the second file (TH2) without a hitch but TH1 file is giving me trouble, rufus gets stuck at creating file system step for over an hour and refuse to move. Then I had the machine restarted and burnt iso on to a dvd and tried installing it by following your procedure to the T, installation stops at 25% and complaining some missing files and aborted the procedure. can you please suggest me any other method to complete this installation?

    1. You only need to go from 10130 → TH2 10586 and don't need to go from 10130 → TH1 10240 → TH2 10586…

      I assume you mean the 10130 Insider Preview .iso, not TH1 10240. It sounds like the 10130 .iso you have downloaded is incomplete… Try using the 32 Bit versions… If they work once you have made your system a Windows 10 Device you can clean install Windows 10 TH2 Pro 64 Bit without entry of a product key.

  2. Hi philipyip, I have a
    Dell Latitude E6500
    Intel Core Duo CPU T9600 @ 2.80 GHz, 2.80 GHz,
    Memory RAM 2.00 GB
    32-Bit operating system
    NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M
    with Windows 7 Enterprise (it was bought at his college but not used there anymore)
    The product ID has 20 digits

    I would like to upgrade it to Windows 10 for my home use. Is it possible? If so, which will be the option I would have to choose to upgrade?

    Also I would like to know if it is compatible with 64-Bit. How can I check? At device manager it says it is a ACPI x86-based PC.

    Could you please help me?
    Thank you,

    1. Yes its 64 Bit compatible:
      It could do with some more RAM though:

      It should have a Windows COA under the battery. If its a Windows 7 COA you can directly clean Windows 10 TH2 using the product key. If its a Windows Vista COA follow this guide…

      1. Philipyip thanks for the quick reply.
        It doesn't have any COA under the battery. It just has a sticker with the Dell service tag and express service code under the laptop.
        It was bought to Dell through my son's College and they handed it to him with the intranet from the College installed as well as with Windows 7 Enterprise (I don't know much about this, as you can see). I suppose the College had an agreement with Dell for the computers bought through them. I only have a Product ID of 20 digits when I check in the System.
        The reason we bought the computer through the College is because they would install the intranet and in case of any problems they would repair it and replace it meanwhile with another pc.

        Knowing this, do you think I still will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 and if affirmative, how?


  3. Dear Philip, I have 4 identical Dell optiplex 330 and I used 1 of them to do all the operations: I followed successfully your guide "win xp -> win10" with win10 activated, then I clean Installed WIN10 successfully with windows activated, then I cloned the ssdd and Installed in all the identical DELL OPTIPLEX 330…. and now I have WIN10 non activated :(. Is It because the pcs are not the ones I used to the upgrade?
    Or it's just because windows woke up and deactivate the default serial codes?
    Is there something that I can do?
    Thank you in advance.

    1. You must carry out the 10130 and upgrade install on each system to individually register their hardware profile with a Microsoft Product Activation server and make them Windows 10 Pro Devices. Once they are Windows 10 Pro Devices you can load your image on them. I done this with 5-6 OptiPlex 755's.

      1. Ok so to "fix" my situation, I can use a new ssd to follow all the procedures on each computer until the end making them WIN10 Pro Devices and then insert back my "ready" ssd with win10 and register again with the default code?

      2. Yes you can use the new SSD to perform the installs and make them all Windows 10 Pro Devices… After that your image should be activated upon first connection to the internet (no need for product keys).

      3. Hi Philip, I used the new SSD to perform the installs and make them all Windows 10 Pro Devices successfully. After that I connected my "already installed win10 ssds" but they still continue to need the win10 activation. I tryed to insert the "generic" serial but it is not accepted. It's strange because if I put one of them on the pc used to for the first installation, they still remain waiting the activation… They all where activated and now they all are "deactivated". What do you think?

      4. Try to just leave them for an hour or so… they should automatically reactivate online as they are already Windows 10 Pro Devices.

      5. That was exactly what happens! I leave it and after an hour they was activated! 🙂
        thank you very much for your precious help!!
        The last question: I can't connect them each other to share printers and files…
        Do you think it's because they are clone of each others? (I modified each IP to go to internet)
        Or there is any win10 bug?

      6. I've not tried too much printer sharing etc however try to change the computer names so they are all unique.

  4. Hi Philip thanks for the guide. I have a quick question, I currently only have a 4gb usb and a 8gb usb handy. Do you think that will work? if so which file should I put the 4gb one. Or should I just shop another 8gb usb? Really want to get everything done today. Thanks

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I have another question. Can I turn "set time automatically" and "set time zone automatically" back on after the installation? Also can I run the updates afterward? Thanks

      2. After you upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 this setting will be automatically turned back on but Windows 10 TH2 will be activated. Also it will automatically update.

  5. Hey Phillip. Thanks for the guide but I have messed up somewhere and need some help. There are 3 files in the google drive link for the 10130 iso. I downloaded all 3, created a bootable USB and all went well. I then downloaded the 64 bit 10586 iso and created a bootable USB. When I plug it in and double click setup, I get a message saying "This app can't run on your PC". Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

    1. The files are a Dell Windows 7 Ultimate .iso (not needed), a Windows 10130 Insider Preview 32 Bit .iso and a Windows Insider 10130 Insider Preview 64 Bit .iso.

      The file sizes of the 32 Bit and 64 Bit Insider Preview .isos are listed. You must use the 10130 32 Bit .iso and the 10586 32 Bit .iso or alternatively the 10130 64 Bit .iso and the 10586 64 .iso. i.e. you cannot cross architecture otherwise you will get the error message "This App can't run on your PC".

  6. Thanks Phillip!! It worked!! One more question and I will leave you alone…Toward the end of your guide you talk about doing a clean install of Windows 10 Pro by skipping product key, etc. Do you recommend a clean install or is it ok not do a clean install?? Thanks again! My computer literacy is fairly average but I was able to do this with your help.

    1. I always recommend doing a clean install… however there is little sense in you bothering with a clean install of Windows 10 TH2 just now. I would instead recommend using the computer as is until the 2nd of August. On the 2nd-3rd of August the new Windows 10 RS1 .iso will be available to download and you'll get much more out with a clean install if you use the new RS1 .iso.

      1. Hi Philip, at 9:27 pm CT I finished to install a Gateway GT3231m with Core2 duo E4500@2.2GHz, 2 MB of memory and a 80GB WD HD, the full process was:
        1 – A low level format for the HD
        2 – Change the system time to 09/09/2015
        3 – Install the W10 Ver 10130 provided by your links
        4 – change to off adjust time ( Win -> Conf -> Time ->Adjust Time -> Off
        5 – at the command prompt in administrator mode slmgr /ipk …
        6 – connect the lan after the successful message
        7 – slmgr /ato
        8 – exit (after 5 minutes and the successfull message again )
        9 – install w10 ver 1511 comp 10586.164
        10 – download and execute the creation tools from
        11 – restart
        12 made a clean reinstallation ( at this point the data was Ver1511 comp 10586.494)
        13 update windows from
        14 restart again, the final data displayed by winver was:
        Windows 10 version 1607 comp 14393.10


      2. I started doing a low level format and instaling the compilation 10130, after instaling the ver 1511 comp 10856.164 , upgrade to 10586.494 and a new upgrade to version 1607 compilation 14393.10 Finishing at 9:30 PM central time, the machine is an HP MS210la.

  7. Hi.

    Guide became outdated.
    Few days ago I've downloaded TH2 and it gave me different files:

    MD5 (Downloads/Win10_1511_2_English_x32.iso) = 91565f54dc7a4e1df8a5f2b913d869b1
    MD5 (Downloads/Win10_1511_2_English_x64.iso) = 3ca03a2c59ae5b58ca965a345d4f2ae1

    Those installers wants to just overwrite 10130 build completely, they are not updating in place like in guide. And today Techbench site is no longer there.

    Can someone please link to 10586 build?

  8. Hi Philip,
    I am using a HP14-r018la, HP MS210la, Gateway GT3231m, Lenovo IdeaPad S100, Dell Dimension D530, Dell Presicion 9600 and a "hand-made" gigabyte GA-945GCM-S2C ( Core2 Duo @3 GHz, 4 MB ram,). This one is updating right now with the Windows10Upgrade9252.exe application. I start from scratch burning the en_windows_10_pro_10130_x64 DVD and a copy of 10586 th2 from in a stick ( this mobo do not boot from USB sticks). and all is fine at 1:30 am Aug 04, 2016.


  9. please escuse a little mistake, Dell Dimension 9200 and latitude D530 (not Dimension D530 and Presicion 9600)

  10. What a nice thing to do, especially for we old geeks, with older systems who didn't have time or care to play guinea pig during the past year or so. It's a great kindness you provided the links to download the ISO's. I came from days of Unix, then began tinkering with W3, '95, '98SE, Me, 2000, WXP, Vista and W7, and the testing never really ends. Your guide is well thought out and applied, far preferable to the information that I spent hours trasing through back in the day in other forums. This info has convinced me to try the installation on my 2007 HP laptop, an AMD dual core, and a T1055 desktop rig I built to test and toy with in spare time. Both still run W7Ult x64 without skipping a beat. The current build on my 8350, was upgraded to W10 despite my best efforts and against my wishes (surprise). I have an image to return to if it doesn't pan out; it proven wonky at times. I've turned off most of the telemetry, including the other systems, which hasn't kept them from running as they should. Since last month when the final build came online, I've gving 10Pro a hard run, but haven't seen anything to convince me that on a regular desktop, W10Pro has much if anything over W7x64:) Thank you sir, and keep up the good work!

  11. So to be clear, after the steps with 10130 and RS1 are successfully complete, Win 10 can be installed on the system in question at any point due to the hardware signature being registered with MS servers?

    1. After you have performed this upgrade path at least once and a Pro build after 10240 is activated; Windows 10 Pro can be clean installed without a Product Key and will automatically reactivate when online.

  12. I have a question, am I supposed to remove the first USB at a certain point, or am I able to leave both USB's in the PC?

    1. Its better to only have one USB at a time, it'll save mix-ups e.g. booting to the wrong USB during the initial installation.

      1. An Hp dv4 entertainment computer running Windows Vista. Another question, can I burn and boot it from a disk or blank dvd?

      2. You can use the Optical Drive for the two .iso files. Burn DVD copies of each .iso twice in case you DVD gets corrupted… I prefer Bootable USBs as its faster and tends to be more reliable.

      3. A HP pavilion dv4 notebook PC running Windows Vista. Another question, can you use a disk or dvd instead of usb?

  13. Thanks again for this excellent, easy to follow guide. I have now also upgraded a Dell Optiplex 360 to Windows 10 Pro x64. I also upgraded the RAM to 3GB and added an SSD and everything seems to be working OK. Drivers for all the hardware were built into Windows 10 (this model had an ATI graphics card fitted) but the speaker built into the tower would not work at first. Thanks to a very useful post on the Dell forums ( I found that the audio drivers for Windows 7 x64 designed for an Optiplex 960 worked fine. I hope this upgrade method continues to work!

    1. Great! That machine should perform fine the OptiPlex 360/760/960 share the same audio driver so its actually the official Dell Windows 7 64 Bit driver for the OptiPlex 360. 🙂

  14. hi Philip
    many thanks for this great post ! very clever and professional 🙂
    I upgraded today a DELL Studio 1737 laptop (Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26 GHz, 4 GB RAM) from Vista 32 bits, and EVERYTHING went well as expected through your post ! I burned DVDs instead of using USB keys, only difference with your process.
    Windows 10 Pro is effectively activated.
    Now I need to try on some Acer laptops to upgrade from Win7…
    Many thx again !

      1. hi Philip
        I struggled a bit with my DELL Studio 1737 on W10 RS1 to fix 2 driver issues, and this could be of interest for your readers:
        – SD card reader not recognized by W10 (unknown device in Device Manager): need to install a Ricoh driver, easy to find on the web (for device id PCI\VEN_1180&DEV_0822&SUBSYS_02A01028&REV_22)
        – Bluetooth Minicard 370: more difficult, but endly found… on your blog 🙂 (/dell-wireless-cards) the right drivers, but need a further trick to succeed: need to extract first the files and then run the setup manually, instead of running the compressed package, or you get a successful installation message, but the BT card cannot be started, missing entries in registry
        So now my DELL is COMPLETELY working on W10 RS1, and the user experience has never been so nice until now, with a much faster machine thanks to 64 bits mode and 4 GB fully used
        Definitely lots of thx Philip !
        my best regards,

  15. Hi Phil, Took a HP Dual Core E7200 4GB Ram , Asus IPI-BL Mother Board through to Win 10 Pro Japanese last night, August 21st 2016, using your guide again! Knife through soft butter Sir! No issues at all! Thanks again from Tokyo! It was trying to push Windows 7 around and it is noticeably snappier pushing Windows 10 even with the same 200GB 3Gbps Sata HDD. An upgrade to any SSD soon should put the smile back on my sons face! Once again thanks for all the effort you put in to this professional guide it is much appreciated here!

  16. No longer working,. Error code 0x80072f8f which is time/date related certificate related, could this be the end?

  17. Hi Philip, I have just performed the first installation on a Dell D630. It will not activate the license, instead receiving error 0x80072F8F. I am online and can access the internet. Any thoughts on how to fix this or can I proceed with the second install? Thanks, Damian

    1. You can't proceed with the Upgrade Install unless build 10130 is activated. I'll need to make a new VM to test the 10130 activation. I'll try it at some point over the weekend.

    2. I get the same results. Looks like Microsoft have perhaps patched the activation server to stop activating build 10130.

  18. Not working any more, error 0x80072f8f. Date and time is not with in the period of the certificate…could this be the end?

  19. not working for me any more(have done several) error 0x80072f8f date & time is not within the period of the cetificate…. could this be the end? i have unchecked the cert check in the security tab of internet options to no avail, any suggestions?

    1. I get the same results. Looks like Microsoft have perhaps patched the activation server to stop activating build 10130.

  20. Funny, on 4 PCs worked just fine, on a Lenovo B71-80 , Window 10 Error Code 0x80072f8f …

    any idea?


    1. I get the same results. Looks like Microsoft have perhaps patched the activation server to stop activating build 10130.

  21. I had a vista machine that had been resold with a refurbisher product key (win 7)that I had installed with windows 10 a long time ago(one of the 1st pcs I upgraded with since it came with no hard drive) I used the windows 7 key from this pc to install Windows 10 pro on the machine that failed to install (after the 26th) and it activated successfully, I then did a clean install without entering a product key. And it is now still activated as is the old pc that used the refurbishment key originally, this has got me thinking, when we upgrade our machines, it's unique identifyer registers with Microsoft the digital entitlement to windows 10 be that pro or home etc, it does not seem to record the key to a single pc as was in win7, this still means all you need is any windows 7 key to initialy install Windows 10(do a clean install without entering the key afterwards as they key may be stored in system somewhere) this will of course only still work while Microsoft let's us use win7/win8 keys to upgrade manually with a bootable image since the upgrade tool no longer functions,this is only a theory, I would welcome any comments

    1. You are delving into grey areas here…

      Technically Manufactured Refurbished OEM keys are OEM keys and they should forever be tied to the motherboard they are first installed on.

      The Upgrade "should" be sensible enough to detect the Windows 7 OEM key used for the free upgrade. Clean installation should also pickup that its an OEM key already used on other hardware and reject activation… I suspect however it doesn't acknowledge the actual key when an initial Upgrade Install is used… so a Windows 7 OEM key can technically be used for 2 upgrades… The 2nd system of course being incorrectly licensed but it may technically work.

      My guides focus far more on clean installs however and I'm not a great fan of upgrade installs. Also I don't plan on buying any more hardware to check this theory out.

      I know however for actual Windows 7 OEM systems that the factory settings use a generic key and activate with OEM SLP activation. Technically it means the unique 25 digit OEM key is still available for a free upgrade on another system. However the COA is OEM and as mentioned before should not be removed from the original system and transferred.

      1. The refurbishment key was not OEM in this case (does not state on the label as it does on a dell which does have the OEM on the refurbishment label) perhaps it's a generic keys used to upgrade a batch of computers?

      2. The Refurbisher licenses are a subset of OEM licenses with the Refurbisher acting as essentially a "second OEM". They are not designed for direct end users but for a Refurbisher ("second OEM") to preinstall on a system and sell to the end user.

        The Refurbisher is responsible for support of both the hardware and software instead of the original OEM… and as the Refurbisher can only support the hardware they Refurbished… the licenses are also non-transferable… exactly like the standard OEM license.

  22. I have both machines on-line at the same time, both actived. Is there any way to confirm activation? The wga tool does not support windows 10

      1. Hi Philipyip What a pity that free upgrade from XP/Vista to Windows 10 has finished. But I would like to ask you: can someone who have a XP/Vista pc, install Windows 10 through the Windows Insider program, activate the windows and then leave the Insider Program but remaining with Windows 10 activated? I ask this because I have read that a user made a clean install build 10162, then upgraded to RTM 10240, after that he disable Insider Builds but windows remained activated. Is this still possible? Sorry for the question but I'm not a guru in this matter like you. 🙂 I give you the link:

        2016-08-29 22:13 GMT+01:00 The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide :

        > philipyip commented: "If it says Product Activated in system it should > work despite one machine being correctly licensed." >

      2. Gabe Aul Microsoft's former spokesman for the Windows Insider Programme left some contradictory and wrong information.

        The 10130 Insider Preview Upgrade path did not require a Microsoft Account or for one to be a Windows Insider. It worked as a way of getting Windows 10 Pro for free regardless if one was a Windows Insider or not. If a Windows Vista (or XP) Device was made a Windows 10 Pro Device via the 10130 Insider Preview Upgrade path then its hardware profile is registered and stored with a Microsoft Product Activation server. One can directly clean install Windows 10 Pro RS1 without a product key and it'll reactivate when online. See my main guide for more details:

  23. Hello. I'm trying to salvage a Dell Inspiron e1505 with a T7200 cpu currently running Windows XP. Based on your guides it seems I can take one of two paths to upgrade to Windows 10; 1) find/ download Windows 7 or 8 and try to upgrade via the Windows accessibility site, or 2) purchase/ download Windows 10. Is this correct?

    1. The 10130 Upgrade path is now over.

      You need a Retail Windows 7, Windows 8.0 or Windows 10 key… Once you have the key you can clean install Windows 10 RS1 with it. Note the cost of a full retail license is not worthwhile, that laptop is 10 years old now. It might be more economic to buy a second hand Latitude E Series laptop with a Windows 7 OEM License (that can be taken to Windows 10).

  24. Hey,

    Thanks for the very detailed guide, I tried it with my old dell and windows vista.
    But kept getting te same error when trying to activate windows 10130 (you said in the guide to wait longer but I think the activation servers must be dead by now . Waited over 2 hours in between ). Too bad, it would've been a nice upgrade 🙂

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