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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vlcsnap-2016-08-18-23h16m07s096 vlcsnap-2016-08-18-23h15m58s283

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 Phil Mike in Tokyo again apologies for the radio silence I have been rather busy my friend. Well here we are on December 20th 2015 and this Win 10 upgrade path is still working like a charm. Christmas came early for me in 2015 because of this route Phil to a fully activated Win 10 Pro licence on Vista era hardware. Why well if you have 5 minutes read on. As a Broadcast hardware Engineer it pains me to see perfectly usable hardware languishing in the 2nd hand stores here. Hard Off in Japan is doing very well since the Japanese are now living rather more frugally than they used to given the economy. Hard Off I hear you say? Yes in the prefecture just north of Tokyo where many folk actually live a thrift store called Hard Off has grown rapidly over the last ten years or so. Check it out below! The best store near me is in Higashi Omiya its an Audiophiles/Computer buffs paradise. There are even better ones coming up elsewhere in Japan from this chain for example this one in Niigata Shichikuyama focused on Audio only Well it had to happen Japanese love their hardware and the demographics here indicate that many older folk will not be around much longer, Japan being a silver society! So where will all their treasure go? Well Hard Off has an answer for that. So to cut a long story short I have upgraded seven machines since we last communicated and kept two of them. Right now I am typing on a 2,500 Dollar Dell XPS One which I picked up for an unbelievable 55 US dollars as it had the classic all the fans running at 100% issue a quick Bios upgrade later and its perfect. Having previously upgraded and sold my Acer Netbook to make some cash. I upgraded my DV5 HP and sold that. I upgraded my Dell N5150 and sold that. I pooled the cash and bought two more machines and stripped expensive chips and audio boards one machine had a tenth anniversary Onkyo Wavio board hidden in there going for $360 dollars on ebay sold some, kept some, and then upgraded those shells and sold them on with fast PATA drives that are cheap as chips here. Western Digital Caviar Blacks 7200rpm pieces Win 10 runs really well on them by the way! As an aside while searching for a Pata drive in one store that would pass muster I found and i5-2400 CPU floating around in a plastic bag for 10 dollars that I sold the next day in Akihabara for 77 dollars pays to know your CPUs it seems . Both shells were fitted with E7500 2.93GHz processors also cheap as chips ha ha out here so entirely usable computers in the end for someone. The net result of this blaze of activity is I now have a rather cool and I mean cool running XPS One with an E8400 an really solid socket 775 lower TDP CPU, a 1TB 7200 Sata HDD and 4GB of DDR2 800 memory on two 2GB sticks upgraded from the stock lame E4500 and 2GB 533 and the other machine I kept is as follows Asus PK5-E Motherboard with a Q8400 blazing Quad Core CPU,4GB DDR2 800 RAM, 750GB 7200 HDD, Media Reader, DVD Drive, Seasonic 550W PSU and that Antec case. I was able to do all the upgrades I had ever researched back in the the Dual Core era day that I never had the coin to actually do, being a father of three boys here. Quite simply Awesome Phil! I am in a holding position now playing with this kit for a while however the itch to continue prevails. I feel like I have been on a history tour of the Intel CPU as I looked for the best value parts to actually do all this. I guess now the next step is to find some socket 1366 boards that are finding their way on to the market here now and do it all over again in the first gen i7 era which I never got to at all. in January! well I will if this upgrade route survives that auspicious date, well in planners minds that is, of January 1st 2016. So Phil I intend to try to upgrade a HDD on Jan 2nd 3rd 4th or so and will let you know whether Big M has turned off this spigot or not then! Meanwhile I have some toys to play with now over Christmas Phil. Thanks indeed my friend for documenting this upgrade route so well for us all. So if all the hardware Engineers like me who are are getting on in life and have time to spare did this what indeed would the impact be ? I mean what value creation have we achieved here. I think the throw away society that we currently live in will never stop, its the remit of progress and business to have us all hungry for more. However if just one of those now working machines I have put out there lands in the hands of a bright kid somewhere here who would not have been able to afford one, well who knows what he/she might do with that opportunity. That is good enough for me Phil. Cheers Mike in Tokyo

  2. first question is very simplified computer terms could someone please explain what a is meant by logging in as you do this with only a local account. what is a local account. there is no explanation of this and I think it might best to understand rather then use your microsoft account login to invite trouble.

    Also what about the legalities of doing this. Microsoft has sued people for unathorized copies of their software. They aren't dumb. Their technically huge. Is this legal. Can they go after someone for doing this? I reallly wonder before doing.

    1. Microsoft are huge and they need to first get their act together on consistency before coming after people. One moment their representative Gabe Aul told Windows Insiders get a free upgrade and then a couple of weeks later he changed his mind.

      He said Windows Insiders would get upgraded to Windows 10 Pro RTM for free. This unofficial upgrade path is an extension of that upgrade… As far as I can tell there is no way for Microsoft to identify one of these devices from an original Windows Insider 10130 device.

      Local account = normal Windows login like Windows 7 and earlier. Microsoft Account = Microsoft Email login. Microsoft Gabe Aul said Insiders you needed to use a Microsoft Account for this free upgrade path. Turns out that you don't. The unofficial extension of this upgrade path that I document here won't work without a Microsoft Account.

      I documented my testing of the Insider previews and it works as a free upgrade path for Windows Vista. Getting Vista users to upgrade to 10 is actually doing Microsoft a favour as they are wanting to drop all support for Vista as soon as possible. It increases their userbase for Windows 10, Edge and Bing. It also increases custom in their store.

      If Microsoft wanted to shut down this unofficial upgrade path they could simply block the activation of Insider Build 10130.

      1. Hi there and once again thanks for the great guide. My question is regarding using a Microsoft login, what is the reasoning behind avoiding doing this?

  3. Hallo Phillipyip
    I had the Windows 10 pro.After that I used the Th2 on a rufus stick and made a clean install with succes on a Packard Bell Minos GP2W laptop. Thanks again for your help and also thanks that for your tutorial from the link I send to you.
    Is it possible that you create a stick with Yumi for upgrading to windows 10 pro. Can you test it on your virtual machine?

  4. Thanks again for the great guide. Is it fine to login to a Microsoft Account after the final activation?

    1. The reason for avoiding the use of the Microsoft Account during installation of 10130 is that we are circumventing its expiry date by 1. Changing the BIOS date. 2. Installing 10130 Offline (hence Local Account) and 3. Disabling the auto-adjust date/time setting before connection to the internet.

      After the final installation of TH2 or if you decide to clean reinstall Windows 10 TH2 Pro (by skipping product key and selecting Pro) feel free to use a Microsoft Account.

      1. can it be any microsoft account you have or should it be a new one that you start as as insider. I say this because in the following article below they talk about eventually weeding out who's builds they will continue to support upon expiration build dates based on whether it's link properly to an account.

      2. All the Insider Builds are watermarked and have an expiry date… All the Windows 10 Pro Devices (via 10130) on 10525 that upgraded to 10586 (TH2) lost the watermark. Devices that are upgraded to build 11082 are once again watermarked. The watermark will likely go when Redstone RS1 is out.

        That article took the license agreement wording and watermark together out of context. They articles seemed to push some paranoia to Windows Insiders. None of the systems that became Windows 10 Pro Devices via 10130 were stopped by Microsoft.

  5. I messed up the 10 install. First my dos was set to Sept 1, 2015 and the login prompts I got were to just create a regular login for windows. The other log in of creating accounts never showed up like the guide. The software skipped that part. Also. I made a bad choice in not doing the 2nd install. When ten came up as validated per the guides directions, I shut down win 10, reset the bios date and the product opened to being expired. I erased the drive and did a linux system for now.

    Was thinking about trying it again with both installations followed through on. But if I do and then follow the last step of turning on auto time, do I just restart the product and readjust bios date. Will all work then. Any suggestions appreciated.

    1. You need to follow the procedure exactly as outlined. If 10130 runs past its expiry date it will never reactivate (unless reinstalled).

  6. I have upgraded two computers to windows 10 using this method. One of them to 32-bit win-10, the other to 64-bit windows 10. When I upgraded the 64-bit system, I found that my copy of the Microsoft provided 64-bit OS was corrupted. I couldn't remember where I had gotten it and so I went to the microsoft site and just pressed the button provided for upgrading you windows 7, 8, 8.1/2 OS to windows 10. It then download all of the files and did the upgrade automatically. When it finally rebooted, it was the factory release and fully authorized edition. It even changed the time from Sept. 1, 2015 to current time. However, I did not encounter any problems taking the official microsoft upgrade path!!! I had started with a clean install of 10130. Since I had no other Microsoft software, I just made note of what I had to re-download and re-install vis. software and saved off all of my data files to another drive. It was an A-OK experience. If you don't have a copy of the factory valid release install files, give it a try and let us know your experience! Thanks for the tips, tricks and a great experience!

  7. Thx for the guide.

    I completed 10130 install and validation ok.

    I can't seem to follow the second part upgrade to 10586 as instructed? I'm not sure whether to select the option to download important updates (I have tried both ways selecting this option and also not selecting the option). Both ways I get an error after installation begins "modern set up host has stopped working".

    I'm not on Dell laptop, just a normal PC coming from xp, but I believe pc meets Min windows 10 requirements.

    For TH2 download I am using Windows media creation tool which identifies the version in properties on the details tab as 10.0.10586.0. I choose the version windows 10, not windows 10N. Is this correct?

    When I select to run the setup.exe of 10586 from within the 10130 install it dosent follow your guide. After the option to download updates it then goes to accept license page then after accepting it goes to screen "installing windows 10" without the screen showing upgrading as the guide shows?

    I would greatly appreciate any assistance, I feel so close.

  8. Thx for the guide.

    I completed 10130 install and validation ok.

    I can't seem to follow the second part upgrade to 10586 as instructed? I'm not sure whether to select the option to download important updates (I have tried both ways selecting this option and also not selecting the option). Both ways I get an error after installation begins "modern set up host has stopped working".

    I'm not on Dell laptop, just a normal PC coming from xp, but I believe pc meets Min windows 10 requirements.

    For TH2 download I am using Windows media creation tool which identifies the version in properties on the details tab as 10.0.10586.0. I choose the version windows 10, not windows 10N. Is this correct?

    When I select to run the setup.exe of 10586 from within the 10130 install it dosent follow your guide. After screen for option to download updates it then goes to a accepting licence terms screen. After accepting it then shows "installing windows 10" without the screen showing upgrading as the guide shows? After some time installing it the shows the error "modern set up host has stopped working".

    I would greatly appreciate any assistance, I feel so close.

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply Phil and tutorial link, much appreciated.
        I'll try again from the start next weekend and let you know how I go.

      2. Thanks again for your guide and assistance Philip.

        I followed the updated guide and tutorials exactly, except using DVD Bootable media instead of USB.

        I received a memory error pop up box during 10130 install after entering username step, but I was able to continue and was able to also install TH2 and I now have an activated win 10 pc (shows as activated in system).

        Only problem is that it appears corrupted as when I try to install new programs (ie chrome, Firefox, and others) they seem to install ok but won't actually open? I've tried running as administrator and tried googling this problem but can't find any fix.

        All the other parts of Windows 10 work ok (ie start bar, updates, Explorer, edge) but I just can't seem to run any new programs that I download and install?

        When trying to install / uninstall some programs I also get a Windows installer error.

        I'll try a new clean install of Windows 10 as the link at the end of your guide (Download Windows 10 OEM and Retail TH2 .iso), since it appears my pc is activated now.

        I am concerned as when I follow the (Download Windows 10 OEM and Retail TH2 .iso) and use the neosmart program (which does seem to install and run on the PC?) i get the error 'unable to open MSDM table' which suggests Im not activated or have a key?

        I tried the other method also rweverything (which also does seem to install and run on the PC, but crashed after i used it?). I was able to go to launch ACPI tables but there was no MSDM tab?

        Not sure now whether im actually win 10 activated although when i go to system it says i have Windows 10 Pro, and it says activated down the bottom?

      3. The neosmart program is only for Windows 8 and windows 10 OEM UEFI BIOS Embedded SLP keys. There is a separate section mentioning the 10130 Upgrade path. Essentially you select skip product key and then opt to install Windows 10 Pro. Your device will reactivate automatically when online.

  9. Still working! (on Jan 10 2016)
    From Windows Vista on HP Pavilion dv2000
    Thanks for the guide!

      1. Does your guide only work with vista or windows xp or can I use it also for windows 7 ?

      2. This guide is designed for Windows Vista and Windows XP as workarounds are required to get the free upgrade. Microsoft have allowed Windows 10 TH2 installation to accept Windows 7 keys directly during installation so you should instead refer to here:

        If you want an upgrade install opposed to the recommended clean install see here:

      3. Only use the XP/Vista guide for Windows 7 if you have an OEM COA that is faded and the HDD has failed.

  10. phillipyip
    Thanks for your quick response
    I bought used Lenovo Thinkpad 220x with debian installed. In the battery compartiment I found the COA sticker with a license key. With your help my laptop has a digital signed license key

  11. Thanks again for promt reply Philip.

    So just confirming if I completed part 1&2 of the xp upgrade to 10 guide and my pc now says in system that it's windows 10 pro and activated I can clean install windows 10 again by just :

    Booting into the same TH2 iso that I downloaded in part 2 of the xp guide rather than installing it from within the current 10 install?

      1. The clean install worked like a gem.

        Everything working well and still windows 10 pro activated.

        Confirming windows 10 Reinstallation guide (xp/vista workaround) still working as of 18/01/16.

        Thanks so much Philip.

  12. Windows 10 Pro 32 bit is still working fine since my Oct. 2015 upgrade from Vista 32 bit on my Toshiba Satellite per your instructions/guide. Thanks! Didn't realize how bad Vista was until this upgrade. Shame on Microsoft for being so wishy, washy and not allowing Insiders to upgrade Vista to Windows 10 as promised. I do have a question though. I wish to increase the memory of my computer from 2 gb to 4 gb and want to go from Windows 10 32 bit to 64 bit (computer is 64 bit capable). Do I understand correctly that no product key will be needed if I download a Windows 10 64 bit iso and install it on my computer deleting the 32 bit version in the process? Are there any other implications to consider?

    1. Yes it works for either architecture. Some early Vista laptops had processors with only 32 Bit instruction sets so check the details of your processor before attempting to upgrade.

  13. I get as far as the "Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro TH2" step & everything looks good. Key activated ok up to this point. Date in bios & windows build 10130 is 9/1/15. When I go to install TH2, I'm asked for a product key & can't bypass this screen.

    1. Got feedback that it worked for someone on 2 systems at the weekend. Are you definitely using a Windows 10 TH2 .iso? It won't work with a Windows 10N TH2 .iso or a Windows 10 SL TH2 .iso. These will ask for keys… I just tested in a new VM its still working.

      1. Hi Philip,

        Thanks for the most comprehensive guide I've seen on the web. I upgraded my 2007 Dell Inspiron 1721 running Vista to Win 10 Pro TH2 without hiccup. One quick question, is that it now or do I still need to download the OEM/Retail version and do a clean install now that I have the digital sig.? I reckon I am all set for good but wanted to make sure.


      2. Thanks Philip for the most comprehensive how-to page I've seen in a while. I successfully upgraded my 2007 Inspiron 1721, running Vista Home using this guide, everything worked and I am now on Win 10 TH2 (build 10586, version 1511). One minor question, is this the final working version or do I still have to download the OEM/retail version and redo a clean install, now that mine is a Win 10 Pro device? This part at the end wasn't so clear to me, nor is any of the official MSFT blog posts.

        Thanks again

      3. You don't need to clean install at this stage but I recommend doing so as performance is sometimes lost after an upgrade install… Your system is a Windows 10 Pro Device and you already have the Windows 10 TH2 .iso made up as a bootable USB so if you want to clean install just boot from the USB and clean install, skip entry of the product key and select the Pro Edition. It will automatically reactivate.

        Microsoft's official blogs have been inconsistent regarding this upgrade path so I just mentioned them at the bottom. I mentioned how to continue as a Windows Insider (should you want to).

      4. I also had it asking for product key, but that was because I downloaded the "Single Language" version.

        Now I have a problem at the 7% installation part of TH2 where the installation window disappears and a small box comes up "Something happened" "Windows 10 installation failed." I thought it was because I didn't start with an "unallocated drive", but I have followed the guide again deleting the partition, but I am still getting the error. I am not running a dell machine. But it is compatible according to the windows 8 upgrade assistant. =/

        An ideas philipyip? Thank you very much for putting this guide together.

      5. The single language Edition won't work. What make/model is your system? Does this error message occur on the desktop or after Windows 10 restart.

      6. Hi Philip,

        I think I am just confused. I made 2 bootable USB, one with 10130 and second one with 10586 TH2, went through the clean install with 10130, which made my laptop a pro device. Then I did a clean install using the second USB containing 10586, and succeeded.

        My question is, do I now have the OEM/Rail Windows 10 Pro version or am I still running some pre-release insider version? This morning, I got auto-updated to 10.0.10586.104, which I think is the newest.

        I am not a MSFT insider nor do I wish to be one, just want to make sure what I have is good to go, without expiration. I basically just want to use the released version, not beta or insider etc… version.


      7. You will only be a Windows Insider if you change the Windows Update settings to install Windows Insider Builds (by default this setting is off).

        The license is neither Retail or OEM but acts OEM like.

  14. Thanks for the interesting scheme for upgrading to Win10 from Vista. I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 Vista Home Premium and am looking for an upgrade path.

    It might be a couple of silly questions but
    (1) can the .iso files be put onto DVDs rather than USB sticks and make the upgrade via that method? and
    (2) I presume all the upgrade/security patches that would be available to regular Win10 users are available to TH2 upgraders?

    Thanks again.

    1. DVDs can be used although USBs are preferred (USBs are faster to make, faster to copy from and theres usually less problems). There are sometimes problems due to incorrectly burnt DVDs.

      Yes once your system is a Windows 10 Pro Device it'll keep being updated. TH2 is the currently mainstream build but you can also upgrade the install to RS1 beta (Insider Preview Build),

      1. Hi there,
        I'm having trouble finding a version of windows 10 insider 10130, the link you provided seems to be no longer active. please help… i don't want to be stuck on vista for the rest of my life 🙁 shame i never found this sooner.

        maybe you have a file to send??


  15. Many thanks Philip!

    The file you have provided seems to be 32bit, iv got a 64bit system and was wondering if it is possible to install the 32bit 10130 version, do what is needed and then install the 64bit windows 10 1511 version after.

    Apologies if this is a silly question.
    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for this guide, and for the files! I'm trying to upgrade an old Vista laptop but so far I keep getting stuck on Activation for 10130. I follow all steps to the letter but every time I enter the "slmgr /ato" command I receive a security error. Whether I wait 5 minutes or 50, and I have my date set to January 2015. If you have any insight as to why I'm having problems activating while others still seem to be having success with this method I'd appreciate it!

      1. January 2015 is too early for this build. Change the date to 09/09/2015. You may need to reinstall 10130 afterwards.

      2. I don't know how I missed the date for 2 days straight. That clears things right up. I guess that's another confirmed install as of today! Thanks again

    2. You can use the 32 Bit 10130 .iso and then the 32 Bit 1511 TH2 .iso to upgrade to make your system a Windows 10 Pro Device.

      After you can clean install with the Windows 1511 TH2 64 Bit .iso by skipping product key and selecting the Pro Edition.

      The 64 Bit 10130 .iso should also be in the same location.

  16. I couldn't reply to your reply so I will continue here. I only used the single language on my first try last week. I am on the correct one now, its not asking for the product key.

    It comes up with the error before it restarts. Its always just after 7%. From my google searches, others solve it by rebuilding boot config data, MBR, etc, but that didn't help me. =/

    The system is a Core2Duo E8400 on a Gigabyte GA-EP43-DS3 mobo with 2GB ram and an IDE connected 80G HDD.

  17. hi, did this on an optiplex 760 with vista business changed out my vista install main drive and installed a spare drive into it, did the 10130 activated just fine with the clock and date settings set to September 2015. then i had the 10240 media anyway when i downloaded it from microsoft. upgrade went fine, set the time back to normal and it updated the time and date again from their servers. 10240 activated just fine too. the actual windows update for 10240 went without a problem.

    This is as of 2/11/16 into 2/12/16. this method still works if you know what are you doing. thanks again

    QUESTION, i want to put my vista drive back in, and then at some point soon, buy a new larger hard drive. can i just use my 10240 windows 10 disk, and install windows 10 and will it activate like normal then?

    1. Your device is a Windows 10 Pro Device. You can directly clean install Windows 10 Pro by skipping the product key on a new HDD/SSD as long as its in this computer. It will automatically activate when online. P.S. I recommend using a 10586 (TH2) .iso opposed to a 10240 (TH1) .iso.

      1. this morning, 2-12-16. booted the computer, went to check for updates, and there was the 1511 update ready to download. installed the 1511 update with no problem, so as of right now windows is all up to date.

  18. FWIW, I re-did a clean install successfully using the 10586 TH2 USB created using Rufus, but not MSFT official Media Creation tool, that bombed after I select to overwrite my target drive.

    Thanks again Philip.

  19. Another successful install!!! 18/02/16
    Vista Home Premium 64bit ~~> Windows 10 Pro 64bit

    Iv been struggling with Vista on this very machine since late 2009. Never did i think that one day id be running Windows 10 pro on my dusty old desktop, but it runs really really well. Boots up fast, every things nice and snappy, i like it.
    I started off by running DBAN to clean hard drive then installed windows insider 10130, went through activation, installed 10586 TH2 then from there downloaded and used the media creation tool to download the proper English version of windows 10 pro.
    All installed from bootable usb's made in Rufus

    I did have some issues with black bars around the edges of the screen, but fixed with editing registry. google is your freind.

    Also the sound sometimes stops working, at the moment i just uninstall all sound drivers then let windows reinstall them again via troubleshoot sound problems option, usually fixes it.

    Philip your Awesome!!! Thanks Man!!

  20. First off – thanks for the guide.
    Mine went a bit off the plan. I made the mistake of installing a 32 bit when my system was capable of the 64 bit, so when I looked at System, I had 16 GIG of RAM installed but less than 4 GIG useable. So I tried to pick up after the 10130 install and install the 64 bit version but it did not go according to the guide and at one point asked me for a license key (it did not do that the first time when installing the 32 bit version.

    I have Windows 10 64 bit installed but the software is NOT activated.

    Should I start the entire process again? What do you suggest?

    1. The 64 Bit .iso shouldn't ask for a key. However if it is, use the 32 Bit .iso and upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 Pro 32 Bit. After the system has activated (became a Windows 10 Pro Device) you can directly clean install Windows 10 TH2 Pro and skip any prompts for product keys. The Window s10 pro Device will automatically reactivate when online.

      1. I did this install on a Eee PC Netbook without any problem. I tried it on an Acer Aspire Vista machine, doing the initial installation from the downloaded .iso on a dvd. The system booted to the start up screen (the windows logo with the spinning white dots). It sat there for approximately two hours with no additional progress. There appeared to be no activity on the hard drive. Is it common for the loading of the initial files to take this long? Thank-you for this article.

      2. Sounds like the Acer isn't 64 Bit compatible or the processor doesn't have NX support. Need system details and exact model number there are thousands of different Acer Aspires.

  21. I was on the insider preview program with an old Dell Latitude D430 laptop. When I read this how-to I dug out my old 10130 ISO's from my NAT and have just upgraded my Dell Precision M90 from Vista x64 to Windows 10.

    1. Rocking! Phil deserves a slap up meal at the very least from all of us! Don't cha all think?

  22. Thanks for the reply. The Acer Aspire laptop is currently not in my possession so I don't have the details regarding the model. I was trying to install build 10130. The 32 bit version. When I get the computer back, I will check to see if it is 64 bit compatible.

  23. Great Thanks Philip
    Just upgraded old Vista on XPS M1330 to Win 10 TH2 on 03/03/2016

  24. Thank you very much for your excellent guide!
    I just have few doubts about if it will work on my pc; I have a Dell Optiplex 330 with XP (Intel Core 2 Duo, E4500 @2.20ghz, updated at 4gb Ram). I already bought a 240gb ssd hard disk. The windows 8 upgrade checker was ok, but reading your tips I think it will not work… what do you suggest? maybe it's better to upgrade just to win 7, or 8?
    Thank you for your precious help. Best Regards. Italo

    1. It should work well on that model. Its a mid 2007 Desktop and Dell supported Windows Vista 64 Bit on it. It should also hence work with Windows 10 64 Bit.

      1. I have WIN XP 32bit now on it… Do you think it will run WIN 10 64bit?
        I donwloaded the "en_windows_10_pro_10130_x64_dvd" and the "Win10_1511_Italian_x32"; Did I downloaded correctly?
        Best regards. Italo

      2. No you have a 64 Bit 10130 .iso and a 32 Bit 1511 .iso. You need either both to be 64 Bit (recommended) or both to be 32 Bit. You cannot perform a cross-architecture upgrade install which is needed to make your system a Windows 10 Pro Device.

      3. Yes, you are right! I did a wrong download. But my question would be: if now my pc run a win xp 32bit version, do you think it will run a win 1064bit versione? or it's better to install a 32bit? Thank you in advance. Italo

      4. The procedure is a clean install of Windows 10130 and then an upgrade to Windows 10586 (TH2) Pro so it doesn't matter if your old version was 32 Bit or 64 Bit. Personally I'd install 64 Bit Windows on that system.

  25. hey phil,
    everytime the win 10 10586 ver1511 tries to install I get the error message.

    0xC1900101 – 0x20004

    The installation failed in the SAFE_OS phase with an error during INSTALL_RECOVERY_ENVIRONMENT operation

    any suggestions?

      1. I'm less familiar with HP and AMD hardware than Dell and Intel hardware. A look up of that error messages suggests a driver issue. Some have managed to pass it by disabling the Ethernet and Wireless in the Device Manager.

  26. Philip, thanks so much for this guide, it's been really helpful. However having installed 10130 successfully I find that the 10596 bootable USB won't work, I get 4 errors saying that some dll files are corrupt or are not designed to run on Windows. Also that autorun.dll could not be loaded or is corrupt. Any ideas? Is it a matter of re-creating another USB or something more fundamental? Dell Inspiron 530 with latest BIOS. thanks again

    1. It sounds like the USB is corrupt, perhaps an incomplete download of the 10596 TH2 .iso making corrupt installation media.

  27. I installed the 10130 version without a problem (64bit) then I've had to leave this on for a couple of days without checking in on it. Now when I go to install the next version I deselect that I want to help, I choose to not update at this time.
    Then I do not get to choose language and I am asked for a product key. (64bit) suggestions?

    1. You need to follow the exact steps in this guide, change the date in the BIOS setup, install 10130 offine. Then disable the setting to automatically synchronise the date/time. Then input the generic key via the command prompt and then connect to the internet and activate via the command prompt. Finally you can then preform the upgrade install of Windows 10 TH2 Pro. Not doing all these steps in order will result in TH2 media asking for a key etc. give warnings about the build expiring etc.

      1. I have been following the steps to the letter. The problem arrises when I am trying to install TH2. I have the right date (4th sep 2015) the key for 10130 successfully activated and i do not synchronise date. I will try again later I have seen some sort of error I think it was a memory one, seems strange.

      2. Looks like checking a 2nd and a 3rd time wasnt enough, the build on my 2nd usb was wrong. it is now installing.
        One question though, this will not be a genuine windows, correct? Is this as real as it gets or do I need to continue with this step:
        "It won’t have a product key but you can clean install Windows 10 Pro by skipping product key and it’ll automatically reactive your Device when online…" ?

      3. All I can say is this upgrade path is "unofficial". Official Microsoft sources have gave contradictory information. Their last post on this "unofficial upgrade path" says one will need to buy a new license or roll back because the build will expire or alternatively remain as a Windows Insider. It doesn't expire on the mainstream builds however..

      1. Glad it worked for you, thanks for writing to let me know. What system (model) did you upgrade to Windows 10?

  28. Hi Philip,
    I have downloaded the Windows 10 10586 (TH2) Pro 32 bit. But the downloaded size of iso is 2.6 GB and when I stated download it was showing 3.2 GB. Should I go with the downloaded iso of 2.6 GB or should I again download it. Plz help…

    1. Thought I had file sizes stated in the guide. Its now updated. The 10130 Insider Preview 32 Bit .iso is 2,816,192 KB (2.68 GB).

      1. Dear Philip,
        10130 Insider Preview 32 bit iso is 2.68 GB which is OK. But what is the size of 10586 TH2 iso 32 bit. My downloaded iso of 10586 TH2 shows the size of 2.6 GB. Is that true. I doubt because when I stated download from Techbench it was showing the size of 3.2 GB. But after download, the iso file size was 2.6 GB. Please let me know should I download it again. or should I go with 2.6 GB dowlnloaded ISO

  29. Can you upload the Win 10 10.0.10586.35 iso. I can only get the single language iso from tech bench.

    1. The Windows 10 .iso Download Links from Techbench for both English US and UK are working fine for me. Give it a try perhaps inprivate browsing (or using the likes of Firefox).

  30. Dear Philip,
    10130 Insider Preview 32 bit iso is 2.68 GB which is OK. But what is the size of 10586 TH2 iso 32 bit. My downloaded iso of 10586 TH2 shows the size of 2.6 GB. Is that true. I doubt because when I stated download from Techbench it was showing the size of 3.2 GB. But after download, the iso file size was 2.6 GB. Please let me know should I download it again. or should I go with 2.6 GB dowlnloaded ISO

    1. The English UK 10586 Techbench 32 Bit .iso is 2,297,760 KB (2.79 GB).

      The English US 10586 TH2 .iso is 2,962,582 KB (2.82 GB).

      1. the keys for activating Insider version are still working ??

      2. This unofficial workaround still works… but you have to follow the instructions exactly. You have to change the date in your BIOS setup, install 10130 offline, disable the automatically update time setting and then input the generic key via the command prompt. Then connect online and activate via the command prompt… After that upgrade to Windows 10 TH2 Pro.

  31. Hi,

    Thanks for your work on this. Updated my Samsung NC10 yesterday 🙂
    I did have problems with the spinning white dots initially but changing the bios settings seemed to get it going!

  32. Confirmed today 🙂 Install and activation on 2008 Asus laptop went exactly as your great guide shows 🙂 Thanks to you i have Win 10 Pro x64 on this 8 years old, poor hardware 🙂

    1. Nice, thanks for posting to let us know you had a successful install. 🙂 In a VM I tested: 10130 Clean → 10586 (TH2) Upgrade → 14295 (RS1 Insider) Clean.
      It worked. When I get time I will test 10130 (Clean) → 14295 (RS1 Insider) to see if it works…

  33. Hi Philip
    thanks… it works perfectly on my 8 years old dell xps m1530. I followed all the steps you have mentioned and it works. thanks a lot….

    1. Great thanks for posting to let me know you had a successful install. I tested it out on 4 OptiPlex 755 SFFs yesterday. 🙂

  34. Successful 64 bit install today on:
    Dell Precision WorkStation 390
    OS: Windows XP Professional 2/8/2007
    BIOS: Dell 2.0.8 10/24/2006
    Processor: 2.13 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB RAM, 80GB HDD

    Also 2/28/2016 successful 64 bit install on:
    Dell Inspiron 1525
    OS: Windows Vista Business 12/2008
    BIOS: Dell A16 10/16/2008
    Processor: 2.00GHz Intel Pentium Dual CPU T3200
    2GB RAM, 250GB HDD

    Thank you for providing this path to refresh these two old machines.

  35. Good Morning, I am blocked at the "connect to the internet cable" because I have a "Unidentified Network – No Internet Access" ("Ethernet" doesn't have a valid IP configuration). So I can not go forward with the installation. (My card is a Broadcom netXtreme 57xx gigabit controller).
    How Can I fix it?
    When I shut down the computer, I receveive also the following "explorer.exe" error:
    The instruction at 0x00007FFC7CE3CC60 references memory at 0x00000000000. The memory could not be read. Click ok to terminate the program. Is this a bad message?
    Thank you in advance for your precious help.

  36. Hi, thanks for the tutorial and files…
    i am stuck on Windows 10 TH2 update,
    it says 17% for last half hour… is it normal?
    im goingto wait one more hour then gotta do somethink…

  37. Ok but in this case how do I connect to internet? I cannot check the serial number without internet and I cannot go further with the installation…
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Use another computer to make the diagnostics CD/DVD. If 10130 is installed see if you can use another connection to try as mentioned the driver is inbuilt.

  38. Hi Philip, I did the [F12] preboot diagnostics and everything seems ok but when I shut down WIN10, the error appears (it appears only when I connect the new SSD where I am installing WIN10).
    But the big problem is that internet is still not working: ethernet doesn't have a valid ip, the network is setted as "public" and it doesn't work. I tryed to set it "private" but still not working and when I unplug and plug again the ethernet cable, it turns public again.
    If it's a driver problem, what do you think if I connect the old HHD with XP and I try to update che NIC driver? (hoping that will work also with XP in the old HHD)

    1. Updating the driver on XP will in no way influence the 10130 build. Is this a corporate network or a home network? Can you try a wireless USB dongle?

      1. Problem solved just putting IP address manually… and Installation complete quickly.
        I need to do the same process to other 3 identical pcs…. I am thinking to clone the ssd and copy on the new ones… what do you think?
        Is it possible into windows 10 to virtually install and run the windows xp of the older hhd?

      2. You need to do the upgrade from 10130 in order to get the "free upgrade". I done 5 OptiPlex 755's the other day. I went through the clean install of 10130, then upgraded each to Windows 10 TH2 Pro. I then clean installed Windows 10 TH2 Pro (skipping the product key), added additional software and made a Macrium image. I then restored it to the rest.

      3. I followed your guide till the end so I went through the clean install of 10130, then upgraded each to Windows 10 TH2 Pro in italian. I thought it was a clean installation… Do you have a guide for it?
        Thank you a lot for your precious help!

  39. Hi Philip, I have downloaded the 32-bit 10130 file successfully, but am having real trouble downloading the 32-bit 10586 TH2 file from TechBench. I've tried both Chrome and Microsoft Edge and the download keeps cutting out after about 30 minutes (approx 1GB done) telling me Failed – Network Error. I've tried cleaning my temp internet files and cookies etc, tried saving in different places, no luck. Any suggestions?

      1. Hi Philip
        Congratulations on your excellent step by step. You're a genius, man!!!
        I want to upgrade from XP to Windows 10. I read the entire blog, but I do not know much about computers, so I still have some questions and I would like to know if you can help me: if I do this upgrade, am I obliged to continue in the Windows Insider Program? After the upgrade, do I get a windows 10 valid license? Can I do a clean install? Or I can't activate the license to obtain updates, because this upgrade is not official? The ISO's links are safes to download?
        Thanks in advance after

      2. First what system model do you have. Your system will become a Windows 10 Pro Device after following this guide… After you can clean install Windows 10 Pro without input of a product key and the device will automatically reactivate when online.

        Gabe Aul stated you needed to remain an Insider but in my testing you don't.

        The .isos are safe I have tested them.

  40. Hi Philip
    Congratulations on your excellent step by step. You're a genius, man!!!
    I want to upgrade from XP to Windows 10. I read the entire blog, but I do not know much about computers, so I still have some questions and I would like to know if you can help me: if I do this upgrade, am I obliged to continue in the Windows Insider Program? After the upgrade, do I get a windows 10 valid license? Can I do a clean install after upgrade? Or I can never activate the license to obtain the updates, because this upgrade is not official? The ISO's links are safes to download?
    Thanks in advance

  41. Thank you very much for your answer.
    I have two pc towers with two genuine XP 32-bit licenses. One of the pc is quite old ( Asus P5KPL-vm with a core 2 duo processor ), but it runs only with one ram slot ( 1 gb DDR2 800 ). The other slot has a short circuit. I'll have to see if it is able to upgrade. The other PC is a modern one. It has an MSI H81 motherboard, 8GB DDR3 1600MHz with an I3 4160. Should I replace the board of the old one before upgrading it? And if I have to change the board after upgrading to Windows 10 Pro, will Microsoft create problems because of the key? After a Windows 10 clean install, will the updates continue to work like a normal key?
    Anyway, if Microsoft at any moment in the future, for some reason, blocks this Windows 10 Pro key originated from the upgrade, can I buy a retail key and replace it?
    I know that's a lot of questions, I'm sorry for that.
    Thanks again

    1. The product activation gets tied to the systems motherboard. Replacing the motherboard makes the system a new device and this unofficial upgrade path will need to be carried out on the new board. I would advise getting more RAM for the first system. You can always buy a key from Microsoft if you want.

      1. Hi Philip
        I'm with a doubt because of ISO sizes.
        I used the links that you have provided, to download ISOS, but:

        – en_windows_10_pro_10130_x86_dvd.iso, my download folder indicates 2,894,077 kb instead of 2.816.192 kb.
        To use RUFUS, I convert the folder to an ISO, through Folder2Iso. The size changed to 2,893,852 kbytes. I think this is normal a variation from 2.894 to 2.893 but the value is yet something different from the initial 2,816,192 kb of the original ISO file, no?
        – Win10_1511_1_EnglishInternational_x32 ISO. Your indication 2,927,760 kb, but my ISO has 3.338.039 kb
        The values are somewhat different. Can you help me to understand why the values are so different?
        Thank you.

      2. The sizes I listed are correct. There should be no need to convert the .iso to a folder. Rufus can load the .iso directly.

      3. Ok. I certainly took a few wrong steps. The first time I downloaded ISO 10130, and it came as a normal file. That's why I used Folder2Iso to convert to an ISO file.
        Now I tried again, and has come as an ISO file.
        So with Rufus I created the two USB pen.
        ISO 10130 has 2,883,780 kb and ISO 15111 has 3,338,039 kb.
        I think it's normal this difference. I will try now to upgrade.
        Thanks a lot.

      4. Hi Philip
        After Windows 10 activation, can we set Time and Time Zone Automatically, to on?
        I have Windows XP in my hard drive, so I have to change my Sata settings to IDE to be recognized. Can I change to AHCI or should I keep IDE mode, after the upgrade? The drive is connected by a SATA cable to the motherboard.

      5. MSI-p33 H81m
        8gb RAM
        Windows XP x32 to Windows 10 Pro x32
        10586 TH2 ISO installed and activated. Mission accomplished.
        Next step: Windows 10 pro x64 clean installation.
        What ISO should I download and install now? Through the Media Creation Tool or through other? Can I install an ISO in my mother language?

        My tower has an old HD and despite my motherboard be modern, I'm not able to change from IDE to AHCI. The system doesn't boot. Should I format and reinstall the new ISO x64 in AHCI? In that case, which format should I use to make a bootable pen?

      6. Nice. 🙂

        To the first questions the Windows 10 TH2 (10586) x64 .iso via the Media Creation Tool or Techbench. Skip product key during installation and ensure you install Windows 10 Pro. It'll automatically reactivate when online.

        There should be a BIOS setting to swap from IDE to SATA.

        The system will not be able to boot when the SATA operation is changed. You will need to clean install.

        Perhaps its worthwhile getting a Crucial SSD such as a 250 GB BX200 before attempting the clean installation.

      7. Hi Philip

        I've already done a clean install. Later I will buy an SSD.

        I've two questions yet.

        These were my steps to activate Windows Pro from Windows XP x86 in Portuguese, to Windows 10 Pro :

        First I installed Windows 10 Pro x86 10130 Insider Preview US .iso ( language US, time and currency UK, keyboard Portuguese ).

        Then Windows 10 Pro x86 TH2 Build 10586/1511 UK .iso ( language, time and currency UK, keyboard Portuguese ).

        I activated Windows.

        Next, I did a clean install with Windows 10 Pro x64 TH2 Build 10586/1511 UK .iso ( language, time and currency UK, keyboard Portuguese ).

        First question: can I do a Portuguese Pt-Pt clean install, or I have to use always the UK/US .isos?

        Second question: to have a chance to receive a final Windows 10 Pro key at the end of July, do I have to register myself at the Insider Program and use a Microsoft account?

        Thanks again

        2016-05-17 23:03 GMT+01:00 The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide :

        > philipyip commented: "Nice. 🙂 To the first questions the Windows 10 TH2 > (10586) x64 .iso via the Media Creation Tool or Techbench. Skip product key > during installation and ensure you install Windows 10 Pro. It'll > automatically reactivate when online. There should be a BIOS " >

      8. The system is a Windows 10 Pro Device meaning the systems motherboard is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation server.

        You can clean install Windows 10 Pro using any language you like.

        You won't get a Windows 10 Pro key but it will automatically reactivate when clean installed.

        You can stick to the mainstream or the Insider builds and you don't need to use a Microsoft Account but you can.

      9. Ok I got it. I thought this upgrade would give me access to a Windows 10 Pro key, later. So, in this case, when I want to change my motherboard … or if she dies, I have to buy a key directly from Microsoft. Ok.

        2016-05-24 16:45 GMT+01:00 The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide :

        > philipyip commented: "The system is a Windows 10 Pro Device meaning the > systems motherboard is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation > server. You can clean install Windows 10 Pro using any language you like. > You won't get a Windows 10 Pro key but it will automatical" >

      10. Hi Philip I plan to assemble another PC. A Skylake platform. I have another XP x86 key. Can I install XP x86 on a Skylake platform and then upgrade to Windows 10 using this method? The Skylake platform supports the installation of Windows XP x86? It would be just to upgrade, of course. Thanks

        2016-05-24 16:45 GMT+01:00 The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide :

        > philipyip commented: "The system is a Windows 10 Pro Device meaning the > systems motherboard is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation > server. You can clean install Windows 10 Pro using any language you like. > You won't get a Windows 10 Pro key but it will automatical" >

      11. Theres absolutely no chance you will get Windows XP running on a Skylake platform….

        This unofficial upgrade path doesn't require an underlying Windows Licence… the 10130 Build is used for that…

      12. I've read that there are people who have managed to install XP on a Skylake motherboard, but not fully functional. I thought that a valid XP or Vista license from XP or Vista was necessary to use the 10130 build. That's why I intended to do the XP installation. So this means I can upgrade to windows 10 from Windows XP or Vista without a key? How can I do this upgrade to Windows 10, if I just have an official key of Windows XP x86? Any suggestion?

        2016-06-11 10:18 GMT+01:00 The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide :

        > philipyip commented: "Theres absolutely no chance you will get Windows XP > running on a Skylake platform…. This unofficial upgrade path doesn't > require an underlying Windows Licence… the 10130 Build is used for > that…" >

      13. As I mention in this guide Windows 10130 was the last Insider Preview to activate with a generic product key. This means that you can use the free upgrade from it without a base Windows OS license. I recommend this guide for those on Windows XP and Windows Vista as they have paid for Windows in the past (hence the title of the guide) but it should work in your scenario also.

        There is no sense in installing Windows XP on your Skylake motherboard especially when your end goal is to get Windows 10.

        Even if you wanted Windows XP you are in the situation where your hardware is too good for Windows XP and you will get superior performance virtualising it.

  42. Thank you very much for posting these detailed instructions. I have been able to upgrade an Acer laptop running Windows Vista Basic to Windows 10 Professional!


  43. Just did this over the weekend on a Vista computer and so far so good!
    I got scared for a bit because none of the ISO's for the full Windows 10 were working for me but turns out it was the flash drive I was using. So I put it on the first flash drive I used to install the insider preview since I knew that worked and now I have Windows 10 pro with a product key!

    Thank you so much!

    1. Nice to hear, what model?

      P.S. you don't have a product key but your device is a Windows 10 Pro Device, Windows 10 Pro can be clean installed by skipping the product key and the Device will automatically reactivate when online.

      1. Dell Inspiron 531S. Added RAM from 2gb to 4gb. Windows 10 runs way faster and smoother than Vista ever has!

        And yea I just meant whatever key it automatically gave me after I reconnected to the Internet.

        My only issue I've had with it so far is I need to find a display driver to support my 1366×768 tv that I use as a monitor lol

      2. Right click the start button and select Device Manager. Expand Display Adapters and if you have something like "Microsoft Basic Display Driver". Right click it an select properties. The select the Details Tab. Under Property select Hardware IDs and provide the values listed. Repeat for any unknown devices in the device manager.

        That is a Late Windows Vista system meaning it should run Windows 10 very well. Microsoft made some improvements since Windows Vista 😉

      3. Got it figured out! Dell made it really difficult to figure out what display card it uses on this computer but I got the correct driver installed and now I have a glorious 16:9 display

  44. 10130 64bit iso freeze / froze at the blue window screen (no spinning dots) on dell xps 420. grabbed 32bit and seems to be working now. this seems like a common problem for some computers with older cpu, freezing at the blue logo black window splash with nothing happening. i think i read (on only a single forum post) that the installer uses a cpu instruction that isnt available on this particular pentium4 D (old dual core).

    pretty lame that microsoft STILL cant have an installer that doesnt lock up (and lock up without providing a way to even get an error message) lol. this is one of the reasons that i moved to linux and open source software.

    argh, popup telling me its a dev build somehow disabled focus for my keyboard only access. had to plug in a mouse to be able to type in a username.

    obviously i cannot run a 64bit setup.exe on a 32bit windows 10. so i am downloading the 32bit 1511. and again, 64bit 1511 fails to get past blue windows splash screen (when booting from usb) so there goes the idea of using 64bit to update a 32bit install on this old cpu that lacks the correct cpu instruction .

    got 32bit 1511 , everything is peachy. much thanks to you. thanks for the detailed writeup with screenshots and bioses. made this a real breeze. i give you an A+.

    i installed w10 just to play a game and so i could learn the new changes for repair work. microsoft takes one step forwards and like 20 backwards each upgrade.

  45. hi Philip,
    After installing Windows Insider Build 10130 and manually inputting the product key through command prompt i get the following error

    "Error :0xC004E16 On a Computer running Microsoft Windows non-core edition, run 'slui.exe 0x2a
    0xC004E16. Now what should I do… Plz help.. My laptop is Dell Inspiron 1720.

    1. You likely connected to the internet before disabling the setting to disable the automatic update of the date…

      You will need to start over changing the date in the BIOS and installing 10130 offline (no ethernet or wireless). Then disable the automatic change of date. Then input the key via the command prompt. Then connect online and then connect to the internet… The order which you do this is very important.

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