Time really flies. It seems like yesterday that Windows 10 was first released and people started updating the operating system on all their devices. But believe it or not, it was back in 2015.
At the time, Microsoft advertised their free update program extensively.
The company allowed Windows 7 and Windows 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 for free and set an official deadline to do so – December 2017.
With this measure, it was demonstrated Microsoft’s intention to make all its users migrate to this new version, especially if we take into account that the company was known to charge a high price for each new license of its product.
Although most consumers immediately downloaded the new version to take advantage of this campaign (especially those who were stuck with the much-hated Windows 8 version), some were reluctant and decided to stick with Windows 7 – after all, it was still a great operating system.
Meanwhile, December 2017 is long gone and earlier this year Microsoft stopped working on security updates for the Windows 7 version, making it no longer safe to use.
But that doesn’t mean its users have to pay the 100$ plus price tag to have access to Windows 10. You can still upgrade Windows 7 to 10 for free! Below you can find a step by step tutorial.
1. How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free
– Access the Windows 10 download page
– Click on “Download tool now” (the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool download will immediately start)
– Open the downloaded file and accept its license terms.
– Pick the “Upgrade this PC now” option.
– Choose if you want to perform a fresh install or if you want to keep all your software and files.
– Click on “Install.” Your computer will begin installing Windows 10. This might take a while and your computer will restart a few times – if you are doing this installation on a laptop, make sure it is charging during the entire process.
– After Windows is finished installing it is time to activate your key. Connect your device to the Internet, open your system settings and under the “Windows Update” tab click on “Activation.” Windows will automatically detect and validate your previous product key and provide you a new digital license for the Windows 10 version.
This is a fairly simple process that can be done by anyone, even by those who consider themselves to be technologically illiterate. Once you have your device upgraded to Windows 10, your system will automatically update every time Microsoft pushes a new security update to fix issues, improve stability, and keep your system protected against viruses and malware.
2. How to install Windows 10
This is where things get interesting. Even if your hardware isn’t associated with a legal copy of a previous Windows software, Microsoft still lets you install and operate Windows 10 for free.
This means that people that intend to build their own desktop or want to buy a specific laptop model that is being sold without Windows pre-installed (thus slightly cheaper) can still run this operating system on their machine without paying a single penny for it.
We could provide you a “how to install Windows 10” tutorial, but the whole process is very similar to the one we described earlier: you download Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, you load the file onto a USB flash drive, plug it into the computer and access the BIOS to boot your device from the USB flash drive.
From there, you just need to follow the steps described on the setup, skip the activation process, and everything will then work just fine… except for two things: you get an annoying “Activate Windows” watermark on your desktop background and you can’t change the color scheme. These are purely aesthetic features that do not interfere in any way with the stable functioning of the operating system.
3. Windows 10 Might be the last version
You might be wondering… Why is Microsoft giving away its most popular product for free? Well, there’s obviously an explanation. And no, they are not doing so out of corporate kindness.
The main reason is to get every Windows user on its latest version. In the past, people delayed upgrading to newer versions because it was too expensive and their current version suited all their needs – so there was really no point in spending that extra cash.
But since Windows 10 might be the last Windows version ever – as Microsoft plans to update it regularly instead of developing and releasing a completely new version every couple of years – it is really important to get everyone on board, even if it means giving up hundreds of millions of dollars in license copy revenue.
Don’t worry, because this business model isn’t hurting the company in any way. There are several other options when it comes to making money with the operating system besides licensing.
By offering the product free of charge, the company is removing the entry barrier for all consumers (which are currently much more than a decade ago). This allows Microsoft to monetize their software utilizing a completely different strategy.
By installing and using Windows as your operating system, you are now inside Microsoft’s ecosystem: you can download apps from the Microsoft store, you might use Microsoft’s OneDrive to store your documents and files in the cloud, and you will definitely want to use Microsoft Office.
All these small things cost the user money that goes straight into the pockets of the tech giant and are a strong incentive for consumers to stay within the Microsoft ecosystem.
4. Microsoft still sells licenses
Finally, just because average consumers can use a license for free, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft has stopped selling them. Other companies still need to buy Windows to install on their corporate computers and manufacturers that make pre-built computers will continue to spend millions in Windows licenses.
Not to mention the consumers that cannot live with that “Activate Windows” watermark constantly ruining their user experience and will gladly spend over 100$ to get rid of it.