I finally did it...Windows 10 free upgrade on the last day!

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Nov 20, 2009
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BTW, I went out to eBay and bought an OEM of Windows 10 Professional 64-bit DVD and license. I installed it onto a fresh SSD and it prompted me to decide if I wanted to upgrade or new install. Naturally I installed new, entered the license number provided and it activated just fine. I paid $30 and this included first class USPS. I just ordered a second one. I have completed all updates to the latest build, installed some manufacture drivers over the generic ones M$ used, and then started installing other 3rd party software (FF, Chrome, Thunderbird, etc.). According to the seller, these licenses were meant for refurb computers, so it included a broken HDD that I was required to pickup in person within 3 days or they would trash it. LOL
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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BTW, I went out to eBay and bought an OEM of Windows 10 Professional 64-bit DVD and license. I installed it onto a fresh SSD and it prompted me to decide if I wanted to upgrade or new install. Naturally I installed new, entered the license number provided and it activated just fine. I paid $30 and this included first class USPS. I just ordered a second one. I have completed all updates to the latest build, installed some manufacture drivers over the generic ones M$ used, and then started installing other 3rd party software (FF, Chrome, Thunderbird, etc.). According to the seller, these licenses were meant for refurb computers, so it included a broken HDD that I was required to pickup in person within 3 days or they would trash it. LOL

I think one of the big reasons Microsoft has left this avenue open (i.e. free upgrade) is because of the advertising dollars they make. Every time you use Windows 10, it's free money for them:


Even the built-in Solitaire game has advertising integrated into it lol. Genius idea from a marketing standpoint...but horrifically scary from a human rights perspective. The telemetry they collection absolutely bonkers:


Modern information:


Data aggregation is a scary thing. While I appreciate the idea of this particular video, the fact that companies are anonymously tracking you personally to this extent through data capture is the stuff nightmares are made of:


Older information, but still a good primer:


But most people didn't even change their passwords after the whole Snowden thing, so...meh.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Can you say if you clean-installed 2004 64-bit, and it took a Win7 key? It's still working, even with a 2004 installer?

I did one that was an in-place Windows 7 upgrade, and I did one using an older USB stick installer. I have a couple more sitting on my desk waiting on SSD upgrades (yay COVID homelab, lol), so I'll download the 2004 MCT & give it a shot & report back!
 
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Nov 20, 2009
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Can't speak about free, but paying $25 or so for the DVD was nice. Although I am seldom in Windows these days and find myself in Linux 95% of the time.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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Hey guys a friend of mine’s PC crapped out, I gave him my old AMD machine with my old hard drive
We appear to be using the same copy of Windows I don’t think he every registered a copy of Windows 10 to himself. I believe the previous OS was window 7 that he upgraded to windows 10.
Anyone know of a free way to install a new copy of Windows 10 on that machine?
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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If it was upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10 then it is a digital license and if you do a clean reinstall of the same version (home or pro) on the same hardware, it should reactivate just fine.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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If it was upgraded from Win 7 to Win 10 then it is a digital license and if you do a clean reinstall of the same version (home or pro) on the same hardware, it should reactivate just fine.

That’s the catch totally new hardware and his old drive appears to be dead.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
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It would still work if he used a Retail Windows 7 key .. If it was an OEM key, maybe.
 
Feb 4, 2009
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It would still work if he used a Retail Windows 7 key .. If it was an OEM key, maybe.

OEM machine, not sure from where but it appeared to be a semi boutique place.
Maybe in the bios like dell?
Is there a cheap or free way to get windows 10 on a mutant machine like he’s using now?
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
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Post-vaccine update: free upgrade still working! Win7 Pro to Win10 Pro today!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,330
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Since you're posting this today... have you explicitly tried it with a Windows 10 21H1 install USB yet? 21H1 is out.

Nope, just with the old Windows10Upgrade9252.exe installer. I don't see as many Win7 machines these days, as the majority of my clients have opted to take advantage of it from either launch or in the past 3 years since this thread was started (2018, if you can believe it!), but I'll give it a shot the next one I get in the shop! My procedure is typically:

1. Do a backup with Macrium (I have a 512gb USB stick on my keychain with the installer) in order to save the original OS installation, programs, and files

2. Do the in-place upgrade (this has been the most reliable method for me for getting a digital activation for Win10 for free)

3. If necessary, do a full OS wipe (erase drive + download from cloud) to act as a full factory reset (mainly for performance reasons), assuming you have their files backed up & all of their software available to reinstall (plus bookmarks, settings, printers, etc.)
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,330
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FWIW, the free Windows 10 upgrade is still working! Had a client this week with some old Win7 boxes they wanted to keep rolling. The upgrader tool works, as does the media installation tool:


Just to ramble for a bit, the official Windows 10 EOL date is October 14, 2025, so we still have a few years of mileage! There are ways to upgrade to the newer Windows 11 on unsupported machines (need a 64-bit CPU, but Win10/Win11 keys are apparently interchangeable, plus you can bypass TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, etc.). Some further reading on that:


Also FYI, the Windows 11 requirement for Internet to get setup can be bypassed currently: (including the requirement to setup an online account, so you can just do a local account)


I always initially setup a "backdoor" local admin account, THEN the user account, that way if the main account borks (i.e. their kid locks it out), they can still get into the machine without having to resort to more creative methods like KONBOOT. I also typically set the main account as non-admin, thus requiring the admin password to install anything, to avoid virus installation & whatnot. FWIW, there are still vendors who have Malwarebytes Lifetime floating around (look up "malwarebytes lifetime" on Google Shopping), as that has web protection, anti-spyware, and they added antivirus (very efficient, doesn't clog down your system) a few years ago. It's the only antivirus system I use these days (Windows/Mac/Android/iOS).

What's funny is that here in 2022, outside of businesses, I don't really do too many home computers. Mostly people only have either older desktops that still work fine, or else gamers who need a tower for big GPU's. Most people have laptops these days, if that. Sometimes I buy cheapo MINIX, AcePC, or Beelink computers off Amazon to use as locked-down WFH machines (VPN/RDP with up to 3x native monitor support). Mostly it's just smartphones & sometimes tablets. For managing iPhones for business, there are plenty of MDM's, but for home use, I just point people to iMazing:


Best feature is wireless backup, so if your phone dies or gets lost or you want to upgrade, you can just clone the whole thing back over. For Android backup, I currently like Google One:


For local computer backup, I like Macrium Reflect: (paid version has scheduling)


If file history is important to you, I like Genie Timeline, which is like OSX's Time Machine:


You can get a USB-powered 5TB USB mechanical drive for $99 these days:


Or a 20TB 3.5" internal drive for $500:


For cloud backup, I like Backblaze. $7/mo for unlimited automatic storage:


The hardware market for computers is weird these days. Generally, I think things kind of peaked with the quad-core CPU/8GB RAM/SSD boot drive combo for most people. You can get an 18-core Intel chip or a 64-core Threadripper these days, absolutely bonkers!. 8TB NVMe boot drives are available. If you've got the buckets & can find one, you can get a 24GB 3090 Ti GPU. Personally, I'm still running my now-ancient 6-core rig (64GB + 1080Ti). The last BIOS update for it (beta) was from 2013, which I installed to get my 1080Ti working on it (can't go higher, unfortunately). The thing's a tank tho, haven't felt the need to replace it yet, going on 10+ years (motherboard is a Gigabyte X79-UD5, which I think came out in 2011!).

Hackintosh is a different story, as Apple went to ARM chips with their custom M1 & whatnot. I'd imagine Windows will make the transition over the years as well. Will be curious if Microsoft wants to get into the smartphone game again in the future, if they can get all of the chips on the same platform (Desktop/laptop, TV, smartphone/tablet, etc.). The Windows Phone was a pretty good concept. Same with the Intel Compute card...having a SoC that could theoretically slide into PC docking station, a laptop, a touchscreen tablet, a TV, etc. was a pretty cool idea! I don't know if I'll take my current PC to Windows 11, as running the OS sans TPM v2 etc. sounds a little dicey to me long-term, and Windows 10 is surprisingly ultra-stable on it!

Anyway, lol that older PC's can still be upgraded, yay!
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,330
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Windows 10 2022 Update | Version 22H2


Direct link:


Also, for the Windows 10 installation media link, they actually offer an option now to "upgrade this PC":

1676929603237.png

Just upgraded a Windows 8 PC today, still works! Did an older 32-bit Atom mini PC.

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Windows 11 upgrade path:

Also, if you're feeling brave, Tiny11 is available: (requires free archive.org account)


The correct image is: (note that Win11 is 64-bit only, so really old 32-bit hardware is out of luck!)

tiny11 b2(no sysreq).iso (3.6gb)

This is a stripped-down version that removes Edge (you will need a Chrome or Firefox or whatever installer as you can't get online otherwise), TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, and only needs 2GB RAM & 8GB of space to install, which is great for older & low-end devices. It activates like normal, so you'll still need either a Windows 10 key, Windows 11 key, or digital activation on Windows 10 (available with the 7/8-to-10 free upgrade path; note that 10/11 keys are interchangeable). I don't do this for business clients for obvious reasons, but for friends & family who have older computers, it's a great way to upgrade to Windows 11 to play with! I did a couple older PC's today, including a 64-bit Stick PC. Working great so far! The dev is on Twitter:


If you're adventurous, he has a video on how to replicate the latest beta to build your own Tiny11-from-scratch ISO:

 
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Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,330
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For those who want to go to Windows 11, but have an older, unsupported computer & don't want to use Tiny11, you can use RUFUS to customize a USB install stick to bypass the requirements:


Note that Windows 11 can be activated with a Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 key:


RUFUS link:


Windows 11 ISO link:


If you don't have a UEFI BIOS, just make sure to switch RUFUS from GP to MBR first so it will boot up to install. Then you can do the following:

1. Remove the basic requirements (4GB RAM, Secure Boot, TPM 2.0)
2. Remove the requirement for an online Microsoft account during setup (which can also be bypassed during installation, either by doing SHIFT+F10 for a CMD prompt with the OOBE\BYPASSNRO command, or by putting in no@thankyou.com for the email address, then typing in a random password)
3. Optionally create a local account with a username of your choice (I always create an "admin" account for backup, so people can get in, just in case their kids lock them out of their main account or whatever)

Note that there is no guarantee that Microsoft will continue to support non-official Windows 11 installations in the future (i.e. with TPM 2.0 removed etc.), but it's another nice way to keep old hardware going for the foreseeable future!

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