How to upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

Windows 10 is officially the most used operating system in the world. However, there are still people who are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on their computers and devices. If you are one of them, you might want to upgrade to Windows 10, so that you get the latest and the greatest Microsoft has to offer. If you have a license key for Windows 10, you can upgrade right away, with the help of a little app called Media Creation Tool that is developed by Microsoft. Here is how to use it to upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer to Windows 10, today:

Step 1. Make sure that you document yourself a bit before you start the upgrade to Windows 10

Before you decide whether or not to upgrade to Windows 10, you should read the official Windows 10 specifications and make sure that your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer meets the system requirements for Windows 10. Windows 10 demands the following:

  • Processor or SoC: 1 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 1 GB for the 32-bit version or 2GB for the 64-bit version
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB for the 32-bit version or 20 GB for the 64-bit version
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: with a minimum resolution of 800x600 pixels

During the upgrade, Windows 10 automatically asks for your product key, so keep it handy. However, if you have previously upgraded your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 operating system to Windows 10, during the free upgrade program, you do not need to have a serial code (product key) for Windows 10. In this case, the Windows 10 license is tied to your computer, and when you install Windows 10, it activates automatically. You also need to have a working internet connection available, so that you can download all the required installation data from Microsoft’s servers.

Step 2. Download Media Creation Tool and run it

The first thing you have to do once you have decided to upgrade to Windows 10, is to download the software called Media Creation Tool. It is a small executable file developed by Microsoft that lets you download Windows 10 and create your installation media or directly upgrade your current Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer to the latest version of Windows 10.

To get Media Creation Tool, launch any web browser and navigate to this website: Download Windows 10. Scroll until you find the “Download tool now” button and click or tap on it. It is found in the section that says: “Create Windows 10 installation media.”

Then, you get to download the MediaCreationTool.exe executable file, with a size of 17.8 MB. Click or tap the Run button, or save it somewhere on your PC and then double-click or tap on it.

To run Media Creation Tool, you have to be logged in as an administrator on your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer. When User Account Control (UAC) asks if you are sure that you want to run this app, click or tap Yes.

Step 3. Use Media Creation Tool to download Windows 10 and customize the upgrade

The first thing that Media Creation Tool asks you to do is accept the license terms. Read them carefully and, if you agree with them, click or tap Accept.

Select the option that says “Upgrade this PC now” and then click or tap on Next.

Then, Media Creation Tool starts to download the Windows 10 installation files. This step can take a while, depending on how fast your internet connection is.

Now, you have to wait for Media Creation Tool to prepare the Windows 10 installation files. This step also takes quite a while, depending on how fast, or slow, your computer is.

Then Media Creation Tool makes another check for available updates.

Once done, you have to agree to the license terms one more time.

By default, the Media Creation Tool chooses to keep your files and apps before installing Windows 10. If you want that, click or tap on the Install button.

However, if you want to change this setting, click or tap “Change what to keep.” and several choices are listed: “Keep personal files and apps,” “Keep personal files only” or keep Nothing. Choose the option you prefer and then click or tap on Next.

The Windows 10 installer now shows what you chose to keep on the previous step. Click or tap on Install to continue, or “Change what to keep” to make a new selection if you changed your mind again. :)

Step 4. Upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 computer to Windows 10

The Windows 10 installation starts and you are informed that the process might take a while, and your computer or device could restart a few times. This is a perfect time to have a coffee and get ready for Windows 10.

After the first restart, there are two paths on which the upgrade can go to:

  1. If you chose not to keep your files and settings, follow the instructions from Step 5 in this guide;
  2. If you chose to keep your files and settings, follow the instructions from Step 6 in this guide.

Step 5. How to customize your Windows 10 installation if you chose not to keep your files and settings

If you have decided not to keep your personal files and settings, the setup wizard starts installing Windows 10 like it is a “clean” installation. You are shown an “Installing Windows” message, and you can watch the progress of the installation, as you wait for the installation to be performed. Then, the final customization steps are the same as the ones we described on the second page of this tutorial: How to install Windows 10 using a retail disc, an ISO image or a flash drive.

Step 6. How to customize your Windows 10 installation if you chose to keep your personal files and settings

If you decided to keep your files and settings, after the first restart, you are shown a blue screen with the message “Working on updates” and a percent number that shows you the progress. Wait for the upgrade to be performed and do not shut down your computer. Several restarts are likely to be necessary, again.

Once the upgrade is complete, your username is displayed. If you have used a password for your account, enter it. If you prefer to log in using another user account that you had on your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer, click/tap on “I’m not [username]” and enter the details of that other account. Either way, when you are done, click or tap on the Next button.

Then, you can configure the privacy settings for your computer. Windows 10 asks if you agree to enable the use of your location, enable speech recognition, send diagnostics data to Microsoft, and let apps display relevant ads tailored to your behavior patterns. For each type of information, you can use the appropriate switch to set it. When you are done, press Accept.

Then, you get to choose whether you want to enable and use Cortana in Windows 10. If you want her as your sidekick, click or tap on “Use Cortana.” If you have not made up your mind yet or if you do not want her running on your computer, choose Not now.

The Windows 10 installer shows you an overview of a few built-in new apps that it offers compared to the previous versions of Windows. When you are done reading what is new, click or tap Next to proceed.

Now that everything is set, Windows 10 will take its time to prepare your computer or device, your apps, and all the settings. The process may also involve another restart.

When it is done, you are logged into Windows 10, and you can view your new desktop and a “Welcome to the best Windows ever” page in Microsoft Edge.

Congratulations, you have upgraded to Windows 10!

Conclusion

As you can see, upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 is not complicated. We hope that our guide managed to help you go through the whole process with ease and without any significant issues. However, if you have problems or questions, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments section below. We promise to do our best to help.