In 2015, Microsoft announced that it would be offering a free upgrade to owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to its upcoming OS, Windows 10, which would be available throughout the first year of Windows 10’s life.

Although the offer ended in 2016, it appears that you can still avail the free update program if you meet the requirements. 

However, according to Windows Latest’s testing, users with a genuine spare license of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 can still a free upgrade to Windows 10 and get a digital license for free. Apparently, the whole “free upgrade offer” for a year was complete marketing fluff alleged a self pro-claimed Microsoft engineer on Reddit.

For those unaware, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020, which means it now no longer receives security updates or fixes, software updates or technical support. 

Similarly, Windows 8/8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018. Microsoft will begin Windows 8 and 8.1’s end of life and support in January 2023, which is when it will stop all support and updates to the operating system. Currently, Windows 8/8.1 is receiving extended support, which offers security updates and bug fixes, as well as paid support, but not design or feature updates.

So, if you are a Windows 7/8.1 user and have still not upgraded to Windows 10, here’s how you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. 

  1. Ensure that you are using a genuine copy of Windows 7/8.1 on your device or virtual machine.
  2. Go to Windows 10 download page and click on ‘Download tool now’ to download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.
  3. Once downloaded, run Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool.
  4. Next, select the ‘Upgrade this PC now’ option. Also, click on the ‘Accept’ button to accept the terms and conditions.
  5. Select the upgrade option where you keep your files and information. Note: You may not get Windows 10 for free if you do a fresh install via the Media Creation Tool.
  6. After the installation completes, connect your device or virtual machine to the internet. You will be given a license key for Windows 10. 
  7. You can check on your digital license by going to Settings > Windows Update > Activation and activate the license key.

If the device is not activated, you can manually enter your Windows 7 (or Windows 8.1) license key to activate it.

NOTE: The above steps to get a free Windows 10 upgrade will work only if you are using a genuine license of Windows 7 (or Windows 8.1). You cannot upgrade to genuine Windows 10 if you have an inactive or a non-legit version of Windows 7 or 8.1.