Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1



  • After extensive research, it appears that we have landed on a completely valid, supported upgrade path to Windows 10 from older "still valid" versions of Windows. Whether this process applies to still older versions of Windows is unknown (Windows Vista is already out of support, so presumably may not qualify as being "valid", for example.)

    There are essentially three steps that seem to make this completely as "Microsoft intends". There is loads of marketing to make it sound like Windows 7 upgrades are no longer available, but those are all in reference to specific upgrade paths which have expired (the famous 2016 offer, the Assisstive Technologies path, etc.) but there are logical business reasons why the marketing people would say one thing here and the legal team say another. As end users, only the legal requirements matter to us, no amount of third party or "out of band" statements that upgrades are no longer available apply.

    In order to get the free upgrade today we must have a valid, genuine copy of Windows 7, or Windows 8.1, and must acquire the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool (aka the MCT) from Microsoft's website, and upgrade our Windows 7/8/8.1 instance using that. The requirements look like this...

    1. Have valid and genuine Windows 7, 8.1 licensed on the desktop.
    2. Download the MCT from Microsoft. This is a fully legal media acquired without any stated limitations as to where it applies.
    3. Upgrade to Windows 10 using the MCT.
    4. Accept the provided EULA which states that only non-genuine older version of Windows don't count as licenses for the upgrade.
    5. Have the existing key accepted by Microsoft for use with Windows 10 at this time.

    This combination of events provides valid license, key, media, upgrade, and activation from end to end and provides a new Windows 10 EULA for the end user. At no point along this path is any limit on upgrades given from an agreement, statement, or technical aspect. So the upgrade is fully valid because the upgrade is 100% from Microsoft, follows their rules, accepts their EULA, has no violations at any point, and never involves any work arounds. This is completely as the process appears to be designed.

    Beyond any legal requirements, it is obvious and logical that Microsoft would want to provide this path. So there is no reason to wonder why this exists, it is is Microsoft's extremely strong interest to get Windows 10 rolled out, users onto a rolling upgrade path, and older versions phased out as quickly as possible.

    Update: Windows 8 is out of support and does not qualify for the upgrade any longer. Only Windows 7 and 8.1 remain eligible.


  • Banned

    Only took something like 200 posts about how a non-genuine key worked, but isn't valid nor licensed. But it completely makes sense in the outlined statement.

    If you own a legitimate Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and up license, you are licensed and completely valid to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.


  • Banned

    And to clarify for anyone reading, the only time that it'll cost you money to install Windows 10 (at least for the immediate future) is if you do not already have a valid Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 license and key.

    The reason being is you would have to purchase the Windows 10 license, just like has occurred with all previous license sales for Windows X.



  • The only thing that applies is the included EULA or license.rtf with the software (in this case, Windows 10). No FAQ, blog, MS technical document, MS web page, etc. is a valid means of verifying whether or not your installation is properly licensed.

    Of course, my screenshots are for quick reference, and could easily be taken out of context. So, view the entire license agreement yourself first. Full context and understanding of definitions are a must.

    This is on the MCT download page:
    a1b500cc-4677-4810-9aae-32ced5a65e1e-image.png

    7b93c387-8628-4258-b692-ef2c063e6a29-image.png

    After I use the MCT to download Win10, and start it, it prompts (forces) me to view the license:
    4200d0f6-137b-441b-85f5-cb351cec948e-image.png

    08caf345-5857-462c-8d10-30cf53c83846-image.png

    33e211e0-e7cb-49ce-ac45-d52737f382d0-image.png

    6a5beff5-7dfd-43d5-9885-54143ad1e6f2-image.png



  • @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    The only thing that applies is the included EULA or license.rtf with the software (in this case, Windows 10). No FAQ, blog, MS technical document, MS web page, etc. is a valid means of verifying whether or not your installation is properly licensed.

    This is true except in a case (and I can't find one happening, but I've been checking for it) where you have to agree to something in order to acquire the EULA in the first place. But as long as you legitimately acquire the EULA, it applies to you.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    The only thing that applies is the included EULA or license.rtf with the software (in this case, Windows 10). No FAQ, blog, MS technical document, MS web page, etc. is a valid means of verifying whether or not your installation is properly licensed.

    This is true except in a case (and I can't find one happening, but I've been checking for it) where you have to agree to something in order to acquire the EULA in the first place. But as long as you legitimately acquire the EULA, it applies to you.

    Yes, this is why I posted the EULA for MCT first, to show it's a valid method for obtaining the Windows 10 media for installation in this upgrade scenario.



  • @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    The only thing that applies is the included EULA or license.rtf with the software (in this case, Windows 10). No FAQ, blog, MS technical document, MS web page, etc. is a valid means of verifying whether or not your installation is properly licensed.

    This is true except in a case (and I can't find one happening, but I've been checking for it) where you have to agree to something in order to acquire the EULA in the first place. But as long as you legitimately acquire the EULA, it applies to you.

    Yes, this is why I posted the EULA for MCT first, to show it's a valid method for obtaining the Windows 10 media for installation in this upgrade scenario.

    so your claim is that
    5dd9669c-be6e-4ded-99b7-f46df3031728-image.png
    this bit is saying - since your Win 7, 8, 8.1 is licensed valid/legally, and that since MCT will activate by an authorized method - that that is what makes this legal for you use use MCT to upgrade? Seems like a stretch.



  • @Dashrender said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    this bit is saying - since your Win 7, 8, 8.1 is licensed valid/legally, and that since MCT will activate by an authorized method - that that is what makes this legal for you use use MCT to upgrade? Seems like a stretch.

    That's exactly what he is saying, and it only seems like a stretch, rather than obviously what it says, because you have two false assumptions under your belt while reading it... that Windows 10 is a version rather than a name and that Microsoft is not allowing the updates. If you fix those two false assumptions and read it openly, it isn't a stretch in the least.

    Since you have a proper license, abided by the EULA, followed all protocols, and been properly activated without any workarounds... yeah, where do you get the "stretch" part?



  • Nice timing for this - we currently have around 2 dozen machines still on Windows 7 for various reasons. We were planning on buying new Windows 10 machines to replace all of them by the end of the year. I admit, I didn't look into it further than seeing the free upgrade offer was no longer officially on the table. If I can upgrade these Windows 7 machines for free, other than my time and an SSD for those that don't already have one, management will be very pleased.



  • @scottalanmiller How is using the MCT different from just doing the upgrade from within Windows 7 for example?

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?



  • @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller How is using the MCT different from just doing the upgrade from within Windows 7 for example?

    Different in the effort involved ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm not saying that there aren't other legit upgrade methods, just that the MCT one is the most universal that I've found. If you can kick it off completely from Windows 7 without needing the MCT, that's great. But when I've tried that, it always fails (but tries.)



  • @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you have?

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?


  • Banned

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you have?

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?

    No, because your existing Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 key are all valid keys for 10



  • @DustinB3403 said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you have?

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?

    No, because your existing Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 key are all valid keys for 10

    Thanks.
    When I just now went and downloaded MCT and wanted to save it I saw that already had the 1803 version from last year. I had forgotten that I've actually used MCT in the past...



  • Err... Activation != licensing.

    This will get you working activation but - using this method you still will not own a legitimate license for Windows 10 doing this.

    Yes, you โ€œcanโ€ but should not. A rep from Microsoft licensing stated this unequivocally over at Spiceworks. NOT in this thread but same info:
    https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/2200671-upgrade-to-windows-10-pro-from-windows-7?page=2

    To be clear: do what you like with your home computing devices. But for any business purposes this is simply an unadvisable (at best) way to proceed. If a Microsoft licensing audit ever occurs, blame for the resulting fines will rest squarely on your shoulders. Donโ€™t let it happen ๐Ÿ™‚



  • We have been using a process that makes use of gatherosstate.exe and it's respect I've xml file. I'm not at the office will have to look it up tomorrow



  • @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller How is using the MCT different from just doing the upgrade from within Windows 7 for example?

    Different in the effort involved ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm not saying that there aren't other legit upgrade methods, just that the MCT one is the most universal that I've found. If you can kick it off completely from Windows 7 without needing the MCT, that's great. But when I've tried that, it always fails (but tries.)

    We ALWAYS ran the MCT download from a network share. The key for us to have a successful upgrade was to NOT ALLOW "check for updates" during the upgrade It's a checkbox during the initial screens. Make sure you are compliant with licensing before upgrading



  • @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you have?

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?

    Your Key from the prior version is re-assigned/changed/converted; use whatever term you wish; let's say you upgrade your Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro. After activation of Windows 10 with your Windows 7 key, your Windows 7 license is no longer a Windows 7 license key, it is a Windows 10 license key. This license "change" may have stopped occurring after the end of the free upgrade period (even though it still activated). Make sure you are compliant with licensing before upgrading.



  • @JasGot said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller How is using the MCT different from just doing the upgrade from within Windows 7 for example?

    Different in the effort involved ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm not saying that there aren't other legit upgrade methods, just that the MCT one is the most universal that I've found. If you can kick it off completely from Windows 7 without needing the MCT, that's great. But when I've tried that, it always fails (but tries.)

    We ALWAYS ran the MCT download from a network share. The key for us to have a successful upgrade was to NOT ALLOW "check for updates" during the upgrade It's a checkbox during the initial screens. Make sure you are compliant with licensing before upgrading

    I've had good luck with updates during the process, mostly.



  • @David_CSG said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Err... Activation != licensing.

    Correct, the licensing has already happened prior to the activation. The activation is just another step to assist in verifying.



  • @David_CSG said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Yes, you โ€œcanโ€ but should not. A rep from Microsoft licensing stated this unequivocally over at Spiceworks. NOT in this thread but same info:

    Can't find any rep on that thread. And you have to be careful with actual reps, we've had people that we had to fire for incompetence that went on to be MS reps. And we've had actual MS employees come on this forum and try to run customer shame scams. MS is a giant company and even known employees aren't real reps, let alone random enthusiasts in communities.

    Statements like keys are not licenses are totally correct. But completely overlook the fact that we are acquiring the license in this situation. So if there is a question of the license not being value, it needs to be addressed there. All the other stuff like "activation is not licensing" is misdirection as that was never a factor.



  • @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you ha

    You already had the key, what you get is a new license. Keys aren't important, licenses matter. It's the new license provided with the MCT that protects you. That the key is usable or can be activated are suggestive, but nothing more than that.



  • @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?

    The MCT process does not produce a need to reinstall software.



  • @David_CSG said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    If a Microsoft licensing audit ever occurs, blame for the resulting fines will rest squarely on your shoulders. Donโ€™t let it happen

    This is scary but you can say this about all licensing and make it seem like you should never do anything. But in this case, we are talking about Microsoft issuing a new EULA... https://odinlaw.com/the-differences-between-a-eula-tos-and-sla/

    The EULA is a new license and comes from Microsoft. I don't see how you are any less protected than if purchasing any other way. No matter how you do it, it's the EULA that let's you use the software and you get a new EULA this way. So it's just as newly "licensed" as any other method.



  • So try to picture a real MS audit situation assuming this is done. MS isn't out to "get you", that's foolish for them. They want you compliant, they want to work with you, they just don't want things being missed. They aren't into trickery because that would land them in incredibly how water in court. Attempting to trick or defraud customers isn't good in court, or in the press. MS doesn't play that game.

    So you get audited. The auditors can't see your licenses. No one has them for Windows desktops, no one. MS doesn't provide them for OEM machines. All you have is the EULA agreement and the key on the hardware. You can't even see that, you just know that it is there.

    So the auditor asks:

    1. Does each machine have a valid license at the time of purchase? Yes, they are OEM or Retail box at time of purchase. Everything is licensed.
    2. Have they been upgraded? Yes, presumably we've upgraded them to Windows 10 using the MCT method.
    3. Do they have a license for the upgrade? Yes, MS provided me a new EULA to which I (and MS) agreed and they upgraded my keys (which doesn't matter, but they do.)
    4. Did you do anything to work around licensing problems? No, just followed the MCT upgrade tool.
    5. Any issues with key updates or activation? No, they all came back clean.

    Imagine the auditor coming after you for buying Windows, upgrading as recommended, using Microsoft's own tools to do so, getting a valid license from Microsoft at the time that you do it, then claiming that the license that they provided to you was a scam and not valid.

    Guess who is going to lose in court. The auditor who just claimed that they were handing out fake EULAs and that the license that they made an agreement over wasn't valid.

    This seems like a huge stretch to consider potentially happening. You follow every rule, do everything by the book, have a valid license in every step, and the auditor claims that Microsoft is in the scam license business or that at best their licensing method is "accidental" and they "didn't mean it."

    Audits are a two way street. You'd be in the position to sue here. Which MS is never going to let happen. They are not going to hire auditors to try to shake people down over a falsely issued license. They have nothing to win, everything to lose and no matter how much you dislike or distrust Microsoft or just feel that they aren't very competent, they just aren't this level of evil.



  • @srsmith said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Nice timing for this - we currently have around 2 dozen machines still on Windows 7 for various reasons. We were planning on buying new Windows 10 machines to replace all of them by the end of the year. I admit, I didn't look into it further than seeing the free upgrade offer was no longer officially on the table. If I can upgrade these Windows 7 machines for free, other than my time and an SSD for those that don't already have one, management will be very pleased.

    Yes, try it on one. Download the MCT. Upgrade the PC and see if it activates. If so, you can then install a fresh bare metal install of Win10 after the upgrade.



  • @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @srsmith said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Nice timing for this - we currently have around 2 dozen machines still on Windows 7 for various reasons. We were planning on buying new Windows 10 machines to replace all of them by the end of the year. I admit, I didn't look into it further than seeing the free upgrade offer was no longer officially on the table. If I can upgrade these Windows 7 machines for free, other than my time and an SSD for those that don't already have one, management will be very pleased.

    Yes, try it on one. Download the MCT. Upgrade the PC and see if it activates. If so, you can then install a fresh bare metal install of Win10 after the upgrade.

    Yup, once you upgrade (which gives you the new license, and then the activation which is additionally required) you are fully set up with a new Windows 10 license. So you can do fresh installs on that box after that.



  • @JasGot said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @scottalanmiller said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    @Pete-S said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    Or MCT will give you a fresh install compared to an upgrade?

    No, it's still an upgrade just the same. But it does it with a huge amount of prep so the process is pretty reliable.

    But if you use MCT to upgrade do you then get a Win10 license key as well? Or do you still have to use whatever old whatever version key you have?

    I'm thinking if you have to reinstall everything after the upgrade to Win10. Do you have to go back to old windows again and start over?

    Your Key from the prior version is re-assigned/changed/converted; use whatever term you wish; let's say you upgrade your Windows 7 Pro to Windows 10 Pro. After activation of Windows 10 with your Windows 7 key, your Windows 7 license is no longer a Windows 7 license key, it is a Windows 10 license key. This license "change" may have stopped occurring after the end of the free upgrade period (even though it still activated). Make sure you are compliant with licensing before upgrading.

    And you are 100% allowed to downgrade if you wish.



  • @Obsolesce said in Free Upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019 from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1:

    And you are 100% allowed to downgrade if you wish.

    I didn't see that in the EULA, but wasn't looking for it. Are you sure that they allow a downgrade when upgrading from this path? That seems odd since the underlying goal would be the upgrade itself.