Upgrade to Windows 10: FAQ

Here are some answers to questions you might have about the free upgrade to Windows 10.

For more info about upgrade qualifications, system requirements, and feature availability, see the Windows 10 specifications page.

Important

  • Don’t miss out! The free upgrade offer to Windows 10 will end on July 29, 2016. Here's how to get Windows 10 for free while you still can.

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What is the free upgrade to Windows 10?

Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for compatible devices that are running genuine Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 Update.

The free upgrade is a full version of Windows (not a trial or introductory version) and is available until July 29, 2016. Once you upgrade, you’ll have Windows 10 for free on that device.

Notes

  • The free upgrade offer isn't available for devices running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Enterprise editions of Windows.

  • Not every device eligible for upgrade will run every feature of Windows 10.

  • For more info about upgrade qualifications, system requirements, and feature availability, see the Windows 10 specifications page.

How do I sign up to upgrade to Windows 10?

You can sign up for the Windows 10 upgrade offer in two ways:

  • Click a button in the Get Windows 10 app that says “Reserve my upgrade”, “Upgrade now”, “Upgrade later”, or “Schedule my upgrade.” The Get Windows 10 app shows up as a Windows icon in the notification area at the right end of your taskbar (the taskbar is the ribbon of icons on the bottom of your desktop). If you don't see the app, get help here.

  • During the set-up of a new PC, check a box that says “Reserve my free Windows 10 upgrade,” “Upgrade now,” or “Upgrade later.”

If you no longer want to be signed up for the free upgrade to Windows 10, you can change your PC’s status through the Get Windows 10 app. Open the app by clicking on the Windows icon on the right of your taskbar, click the menu icon in the upper left of the app, and choose “Change reservation status.”

Microsoft recommends that all eligible PCs upgrade to Windows 10 for the best, most up-to-date security to protect you in today’s online world.

When will I receive my notification to upgrade?

After reserving your upgrade, your notification will become available once we verify your device is ready to be upgraded. Watch for your notification from the Get Windows 10 app to arrive in the coming days or weeks. At that point, you can upgrade immediately or pick a time that works for you.

You’re part of the largest software upgrade event ever and we’re working to make sure that everyone has a great experience.

Notes

  • You can always check your upgrade status in the Get Windows 10 app.

  • Microsoft will not call customers to assist with the installation or technical support for Windows 10, nor will we send an email with any upgrade or installation files attached.

  • Absolutely can’t wait? Tech savvy users can use the media creation tool to upgrade to Windows 10. In order to upgrade your device for free, make sure to follow the instructions and select the Upgrade this PC now option

How long will it take to upgrade my device?

The time it takes to upgrade to Windows 10 will depend on factors such as the age of your device and how it’s configured. Most devices will take about an hour to upgrade once the download is complete. While older devices could take longer, some newer, high performance devices might upgrade faster.

What edition of Windows will I get as part of the free upgrade?

When you upgrade to Windows 10 for free, you’ll stay on an edition of Windows that is similar to the one you’re currently running. For example, if you’re running Windows 7 Home Premium, you’ll receive an upgrade to Windows 10 Home.

The following tables show what edition of Windows 10 you'll receive based on your current edition of Windows.

From Windows 7 edition To Windows 10 edition
From Windows 7 edition

Windows 7 Starter

Windows 7 Home Basic

Windows 7 Home Premium

To Windows 10 edition

Windows 10 Home

From Windows 7 edition

Windows 7 Professional

Windows 7 Ultimate

To Windows 10 edition

Windows 10 Pro

From Windows 8.1 edition To Windows 10 edition
From Windows 8.1 edition

Windows 8.1

(Also applies to country specific editions, Windows 8.1 Single Language, and Windows 8.1 with Bing)

To Windows 10 edition

Windows 10 Home

From Windows 8.1 edition

Windows 8.1 Pro

Windows 8.1 Pro for Students

To Windows 10 edition

Windows 10 Pro

For info about key features that are available in Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, see the comparison table for the different editions.

Notes

  • “N” and “KN” editions of Windows will follow the upgrade path of the parent edition. For example, Windows 7 Pro N will upgrade to Windows 10 Pro N.

  • Some editions are excluded from the free upgrade offer, including: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Enterprise, Windows RT, and Windows RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise outside of this offer. For more info about upgrade qualifications, see the Windows 10 specifications page.

Will my apps and devices work with Windows 10?

Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the majority of devices and apps that are currently available.

For details about your specific devices and apps, check the compatibility report that is a part of the Get Windows 10 app. To do this, open the Get Windows 10 app, select the menu in the upper left corner of the app, and then select Check your PC (or Your PC is good to go) to see any known compatibility issues and recommended resolutions.

Note

  • For the best upgrade experience, it’s recommended that you wait to upgrade until you receive the notification that Windows 10 is ready for your device

How do I upgrade on a low storage device?

Devices with a 32 GB hard drive or older devices with full hard drives, might need additional storage space to complete the upgrade. If you don’t have enough space, during the upgrade you’ll be asked to free up some space on your device or attach an USB flash drive with enough space to continue.

For more info about how to free up space on a device:

If I buy a new PC running Windows 8.1 today, can I upgrade it to Windows 10 for free?

Yes, you can buy a new device with confidence that it will run Windows 10. While many new devices will come with Windows 10 already installed, Windows 10 was designed to be compatible with new devices running Windows 8.1.

For more info about upgrade qualifications, system requirements, and feature availability, see the Windows 10 specifications page.

Is Windows Media Center available in Windows 10?

No, Windows Media Center isn’t a part of Windows 10 and won’t be available after you upgrade. We’re providing a free DVD playback app that will be installed after the first Windows Update after upgrading to Windows 10.

If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, or Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center and you install Windows 10, Windows Media Center will be removed. For a limited time (the “eligible period”), on systems upgraded to Windows 10 from one of these older versions of Windows (a “qualified system”), a DVD playback app (“Windows DVD Player”) will be installed. Note: The Windows DVD Player may not be installed immediately; it will be installed after the first successful Windows Update. The Windows DVD Player will be available for purchase from the Window Store for systems that (i) are qualified systems but the eligible period lapsed; (ii) are non-qualified systems; or (iii) were qualified systems but Windows 10 was subsequently clean installed (in this case, Windows Update cannot detect that it was previously a qualified system).

Is the free upgrade offer available if I’m running Windows RT or an Enterprise edition of Windows?

The free upgrade to Windows 10 isn’t available for devices running Windows RT or Windows RT 8.1.

Enterprise customers with active Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.

For more info about upgrade qualifications, system requirements, and feature availability, see the Windows 10 specifications page.

Is the free upgrade offer available to Windows Phone 8.1 devices?

We’re working with partners to make Windows 10 Mobile available to most Windows Phone 8.1 devices as an update starting later this year.

Note

  • The availability of Windows 10 Mobile as an update for existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices will vary depending on manufacturer and mobile operator or service provider.

Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my PC after upgrading?

Yes. Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer, you can reinstall or perform a clean installation on the same device. You won’t need a product key to re-activate Windows 10 on the same hardware. For more info on how to create your own Windows 10 installation media, go to the Microsoft software download website.

Can I go back to my old operating system?

Yes, there are a few different ways for you to go back from Windows 10 to a previous version of Windows:

  • If it's been less than a month since you've upgraded to Windows 10, you'll be able to go back to your previous version of Windows from Settings > Update & security > Recovery.

  • If your PC manufacturer provided the option, you might be able to restore your device to factory settings.

  • If options to go back and restore factory settings aren’t available, you can use installation media and a product key to install a previous version of Windows.

For more info and requirements, see the go back to a previous version of Windows section of Recovery options in Windows 10.

Note

  • If the manufacturer set up your PC to run from a compressed Windows image file (also known as Windows image file boot or WIMBoot) and included the option to restore factory settings, that option will no longer be available after you upgrade to Windows 10.

How do I turn off notifications to upgrade to Windows 10?

To hide the Get Windows 10 app and notifications about the upgrade:

  1. Right-click (or press and hold) the Taskbar, and then select Properties.

  2. On the Taskbar tab, select Customize… for the Notification area.

  3. In the Notification Area Icons window, for the GWX (Get Windows 10) icon, select Hide icon and notifications.