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Solved! Windows 7 to 10 still free?

paperfist

Diamond Member
Nov 30, 2000
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I'm kind of confused about the upgrade path. I'm not sure if I can say this, but there's an assistive version of 10 that's supposed to be available still, but I don't see it. What's a bit confusing is in the 'old' days you could buy an upgrade, but with 10 it seems to come in either home or pro flavor only unless I'm missing something.

I don't have an problem buying it, I'm just not 100% positive it will run on an older Sony Vaio laptop. I'm not sure if there's still a MS app that will check compatibility.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
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Officially, the free upgrade offer ended on 07/29/16. However, the original upgrade process still works unofficially for most folks. Microsoft doesn't talk about it at all and will not refer to it under any circumstances (probably due to their OEM contracts), but they haven't removed the media tool used for the upgrade process either.

The best way I've found to do it is to download the media creation tool and use the "create a USB drive" option when attempting to install on a questionable machine. You will need the Windows product code on the paper tag on the laptop, not the one that was used to install Windows (that is an OEM dummy code that won't work for a Win10 install). By using the USB drive, you can easily make multiple attempts. Make sure the machine is hooked up to the Internet when you run the upgrade as it will download updates during the process.

I just upgraded a 9 year old Dell E4310 laptop about two weeks ago and it worked fine (other than missing a few drivers - the Win7 drivers on the Dell webpage worked just fine after the fact). Do make sure you have the most recent BIOS upgrade installed before upgrading, and make sure that all your Win7 drivers are up to date (especially for oddball devices like card readers or fingerprint readers). The Win10 installer is pretty intelligent and will stop the upgrade process if it finds incompatible hardware. If this happens to you, look up the hardware ID in device manager and try to find a more recent Win7 driver for the hardware at issue -- afterwards, it will often work on the next try.
 
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TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
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I don't have an problem buying it, I'm just not 100% positive it will run on an older Sony Vaio laptop. I'm not sure if there's still a MS app that will check compatibility.
If you just want to check you don't need to do anything special, upgrade or fresh install windows 10 and just skip entering a serial and it will work forever in "demo" mode with a watermark and some customization gone.If your OEM serial is recognized it might even register your win10 automatically.
If you have a backup of your current system,as you should have anyway,you can go back at anytime.

Also if you have connected a microsoft email with a genuine win10 licence you can enter windows 10 using that microsoft account/email on any other system.
 
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paperfist

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Thanks a lot guy! Those were two great informative posts, especially the part about updating the drivers and BIOS first. Usually I would do that last which wasn't apparently to me at the time was good logic :D
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Oooh. I forgot about possibly needing BIOS updates for Win10. I'm upgrading a Toshiba laptop with an E-300 (UGH!!!! SO SLOW UPDATES!!!!), with a HDD to boot. I forgot to check up on BIOS updates, sometimes they needed them for Win10. Then again, maybe Win10's upgrade installer should have mentioned that, if there was an incompatible BIOS installed? Who knows.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
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Oooh. I forgot about possibly needing BIOS updates for Win10. I'm upgrading a Toshiba laptop with an E-300 (UGH!!!! SO SLOW UPDATES!!!!), with a HDD to boot. I forgot to check up on BIOS updates, sometimes they needed them for Win10. Then again, maybe Win10's upgrade installer should have mentioned that, if there was an incompatible BIOS installed? Who knows.
It has been my experience that the installer will usually flag any totally incompatible hardware and roll back out of the install if it wasn't going to work. That is what it did on my old Dell E4310 and also on my brother's ancient Surface Pro (which required six different upgrade attempts before I finally managed to get it to work).
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Well, the Upgrade install of Win10 over Win7 "took". Activated too, thank goodness.

Took like 6.5 hours!!! That's an E-300 with HDD for ya!
 
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Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Well, the Upgrade install of Win10 over Win7 "took". Activated too, thank goodness.

Took like 6.5 hours!!! That's an E-300 with HDD for ya!
Lol I feel your pain! As far as I'm concerned, all those Atom and E series things can burn in hell. They're beyond terrible, even with SSD. And just think, your E-300 experience was exponentially better than the E50 or whatever that one is.

Pretty much the whole stack of them suck compared to even a 3Ghz C2D from aaaaaaaaages ago. Believe it or not, a 3Ghz E6600/Q6600 OC + a $25 SSD + 4GB to 8GB of Ram actually runs W10 completely fine. Far from blazing, but good enough, especially if combined with eg a GT740 or RX 250, so hardware video acceleration is halfway decent.
 
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tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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I upgraded two PCs to W10 between Nov. 29th and Dec. 1, one running Windows 7 and the other 8.1. Both installed fine and activated successfully (that digital license thing). I perform an "upgrade" over the present OS using the Media Creation tool and selecting "upgrade this PC now". I also update BIOS, other firmware, and every app that has an update available, BACKUP files, disconnect any secondary drives (that no apps have been installed to) before the upgrade.
 
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Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
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Just want to leave this here : had a PC that was inexplicably having trouble doing the feature update to 1909. After much aggravation, it turned out removing the PCIe WiFi card was all that was needed. Bizarre.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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A year or two ago I upgraded two Windows 8.1 machines to 10 but I re-imaged them back to 8.1. I'm I correct in assuming that I can upgrade to 10 anytime I want since the licenses/keys will be in their system? I want to hang on to 8 as long as I can since it still will be getting updates.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,168
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Although, Windows 8.1 is technically "still supported", AMD no longer produces drivers for Win8/8.1, only Win7 and Win10, due to market-share numbers. (It is what it is.)

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that other smaller hardware vendors might be "ignoring" Win8/8.1 as well.

I would strongly push you to adopt Win10 at your earliest possible convenience. (And use 'Shutup10' on it.)
 
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Magic Carpet

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Oct 2, 2011
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Well, the Upgrade install of Win10 over Win7 "took". Activated too, thank goodness.

Took like 6.5 hours!!! That's an E-300 with HDD for ya!
What I do sometimes is this.. clone the hdd to ssd, or put hdd into a different computer. Then put it back. There are workarounds to these probs. As long as it’s not ide/ahci type of thing, it works in 90% cases.

I choose not to mess with the slow PCs though.
 
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Magic Carpet

Diamond Member
Oct 2, 2011
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Although, Windows 8.1 is technically "still supported", AMD no longer produces drivers for Win8/8.1, only Win7 and Win10, due to market-share numbers. (It is what it is.)

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that other smaller hardware vendors might be "ignoring" Win8/8.1 as well.

I would strongly push you to adopt Win10 at your earliest possible convenience. (And use 'Shutup10' on it.)
Windows 8.1 is just security patches and drivers from Nvidia along with Chrome. Should be enough for some people.

The thing is, I really like W8.1, it performs admirably on 2C/2T computers. W10 is a bit more CPU resources heavy in my experience. If you have an older 2C/2T computer with only 2 gigs of ram, W8.1 32 bit would be the best choice, imo.

I used W10 with 2C/2T Haswell, and it felt sluggish at times and cpu maxed out frequently often. Poor experience. With the same Haswell i3 it felt much better and much smoother overall. Just compare the amount of processes in task manager, to give you some idea, roughly twice as many as W8.1 has.

I chose not to upgrade my 2C/2T Merom laptops to W10. W8.1 is okay for what I use them for. More efficient.

Having said that, it is possible to make W10 less CPU abusive by tweaking it, but we are talking about ootbe here.

On some laptops you must change network cards, because the default drivers don’t work reliably well enough. Mostly older laptops though. Basically, there are cases when W10 isn’t the most obvious choice.

With desktops, I have had few problems with W10. Mostly with exotic add-on WiFi cards.

I don't have an problem buying it, I'm just not 100% positive it will run on an older Sony Vaio laptop. I'm not sure if there's still a MS app that will check compatibility.
What’s the exact model of your laptop?
 
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Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,453
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Just want to leave this here : had a PC that was inexplicably having trouble doing the feature update to 1909. After much aggravation, it turned out removing the PCIe WiFi card was all that was needed. Bizarre.
My brother's old Surface Pro had this problem as well and refused to upgrade (of course, after running for over 2 1/2 hours each time). It obviously wasn't possible to remove the wifi card; however, I was able to locate a new Win7 driver from Microsoft's update catalog and apply it. Once I did that, it finally worked on the 6th try. Why that driver was in the catalog but was never applied, who knows?

So, sometimes you don't have to remove the hardware - just find a better Win7 driver for it.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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I have an old dual core Toshiba laptop (probably from walmart) with Windows 7 premium I'm trying to upgrade. My sister bought this for her young daughter years ago. I don't see a Windows sticker anywhere on the device. When I tried to do the upgrade/install the key didn't work. I used a Nirsoft utility to get the key so perhaps I wrote it down wrong. I can still get in Windows 7 so how should I proceed? Is it common to get the license failed? Is there a better way to get my key? I tried belarc but I didn't see any key info.

My windows 7 is activated and I have a product id from control panel - system and security - system if that helps to determine if I can get the upgrade or not.

Edit: I double checked my key with Nirsoft produkey and I wrote it down correctly. So either it's the wrong key or wrong type of key because it's oem or windows 10 install is finicky. If you know of another legit key finding app I can double check with it.
 
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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,168
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If your Win7 installation is showing as "Genuine", then all you need to do is go to Windows 10 Download on Microsoft.com.


Download the "Media Creation Tool" (it's free), and then run it on the PC in question to be upgraded. One of the installation questions/prompts is, are you upgrading THIS PC. Select that one, and proceed. It needs an internet connection, and it will download the Windows 10 installation media onto that device, and install it. If your laptop, is anything like one of my client's E-300 laptops, the process can take as long as 6-7 hours, if you don't have an SSD installed.

One thing that you might want to do, is clone your existing HDD (if you don't have an SSD), using a USB3.0-to-SATA6G cable (StarTech makes a reliable one, for $10-20), sometimes called a "USB SATA wire", to an SSD that is large enough to contain the "used" portion of your HDD (right-click your drive letter under "My Computer", select "Properties", it will give you numbers and a pie chart.) You can use Macrium Reflect Free (free download) for this process. (Select "Clone Disk", and make sure that the source is your existing HDD, and the destination is the SSD.)


When done cloning to the SSD, remove the HDD physically from the laptop, and install the cloned SSD, it should boot up.

BTW, you can do the Win7 to Win10 upgrade, either before the SSD clone, or after, just the underlying Win7 OS has to be showing as "Genuine" to do so. After the upgrade, Win10 should show it has a "Digital License" for your version.

If you clone the HDD to the SSD first, it may make the upgrade process go much faster, on an older rig. Clone the HDD to SSD, may take 40mins to an hour, for 100GB worth of data, but it will likely save three hours of work doing the upgrade.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Thanks. The license shows genuine. I made a media creation tool on my newer/faster computer last night. Should I run it from within windows 7 (run setup.exe) or boot into it?
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,168
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No, if you are upgrading an existing ("Genuine") system, then run the MCT from within that OS. If you boot off of it (if you made a USB stick with MCT), then it will try to install it fresh, and may (most likely NOT) pick up on the fact that the OS it is replacing, is "Genuine". Meaning, you'll need a key, and by that, I mean, an actual individual sticker key for Win7, not the OEM install key that's part of the OEM image that's generic (What you were picking up with the keyfinder, that wasn't working for installing Win10. It won't work.)

TL;DR: Install MCT from INSIDE the OS that you want to UPGRADE.

If you already made a MCT USB stick on another PC, you CAN use that, just plug it into the running Win7 OS, navigate to the drive letter, and double-click on it (or SETUP.EXE), and follow the prompts, that should work too, I think.

Edit: BTW, to be more "safe", it really doesn't hurt, to download and install Macrium Reflect Free on another PC, make the "Macrium Recovery USB", boot that USB on the Win7 machine (boot right off of the Macrium USB, don't run it from inside Win7), and plug in an external USB3.0 portable external HDD, and you can select "Image Disk", and store the image on the HDD. This is your backup of the original system, and can be done whether or not you're planning to clone to the SSD.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Thanks again. I did image the drive last night and it took forever I assume because it has no USB3.0. At least I had an ssd I installed in this laptop from years ago. I thnk I'll just download the tool and try running it on the laptop. I did update the BIOS but I'll take a look at my drivers since 2 of the USB ports don't seem to be working. Toshiba's list of drivers is an semi-unorganized mess so I skipped this step yesterday. Plus I was up to 4:00AM and was tired and frustrated since nothing went smooth.
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,168
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Sounds like you have a good handle on what you need to do, if you had the foresight to image the drive, and use MCT to make a USB stick. I'm sure that you'll get this thing "whipped into shape". (Think of it like a souffle, or merangue, or something, I guess, not something else.)

Edit: That doesn't mean that I don't want to answer any more questions; I'm happy to. Just that I think that "you're getting this".
 
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balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Sounds like you have a good handle on what you need to do, if you had the foresight to image the drive, and use MCT to make a USB stick. I'm sure that you'll get this thing "whipped into shape". (Think of it like a souffle, or merangue, or something, I guess, not something else.)

Edit: That doesn't mean that I don't want to answer any more questions; I'm happy to. Just that I think that "you're getting this".
I've been kinda following these threads for a while now dreading this moment. I had all kinds of trouble last night and I had to make space in the system reserved partition and I didn't even get to complete that process because I couldn't get one of the commands to work. It worked anyways I think. I have a feeling I'll be back for something else since I had another error before I gave up this morning.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,453
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If your laptop has a removable battery, next time you have it shut down remove it and check underneath -- a few OEMs (and I dimly recall that Toshiba was one of them) used to stick the Windows 7 keycode sticker under the laptop battery instead of on the bottom of the laptop.

Of course, once you get an activated Win10 installation on the machine (however you do it), you can then do a wipe and reinstall if you want a clean OS installation.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
4,364
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If your laptop has a removable battery, next time you have it shut down remove it and check underneath -- a few OEMs (and I dimly recall that Toshiba was one of them) used to stick the Windows 7 keycode sticker under the laptop battery instead of on the bottom of the laptop.

Of course, once you get an activated Win10 installation on the machine (however you do it), you can then do a wipe and reinstall if you want a clean OS installation.
I'm glad to hear that you've actually heard of companies doing this because I thought I was crazy today when I pulled the dead battery, the wireless adapter cover and the memory cover hoping to find a key with no luck.

Also. Anyone know how much space I'll need for an upgrade install? I only have a 40GB free.
 

balloonshark

Diamond Member
Jun 5, 2008
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Ok, did the upgrade from inside Windows. I decided to keep personal files only just to make sure it was doing an upgrade. I don't know if this was neccesary but better to be safe than sorry. I'll do a refresh or restore to have a clean install later. I did check and windows is activated. I don't see anything about genuine but a search showing how to check for activation had pictures that showed the same thing I see. One down and one to go but it should be easier since I bought a copy of windows and have a key.
 
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