That free Windows 10 upgrade ends in a few hours. Here's how to get it

You only have a few hours to grab a free Windows 10 upgrade -- here's how to do it.

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal Freelance Writer
Sarah is a freelance writer and CNET How To blogger. Her main focus is Windows, but she also covers everything from mobile tech to video games to DIY hardware projects. She likes to press buttons and see what happens, so don't let her near any control panels.
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
2 min read
Watch this: Major Windows 10 update coming August 2

If you're still on the fence about whether to upgrade to Windows 10 (and you've somehow managed to avoid Microsoft's aggressive upgrade requests), the clock is ticking.

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer officially expires today at 11:59 p.m. UTC-10 -- that's July 30 at 2:59 a.m. PT, 5:59 a.m. ET, 10:59 a.m. UK or 7 p.m. AEST. After today, upgrading will cost you $119, £100 or AU$180. So if you're running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 on a laptop, desktop or tablet computer, the time to act is now.

System requirements for Windows 10

  • Your device must meet the minimum physical requirements for Windows 10. You will need at least: 1GHz CPU, 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB of RAM (64-bit), 16GB (32-bit) or 20GB of open hard drive space (64-bit) and a DirectX 9-capable video card with WDDM driver.
  • You must be running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. You can check your current operating system on Microsoft's website.
  • You must be running the latest version of your operating system. To update Windows 7, go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update. To update Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, go to Start > PC Settings > Update and recovery > Windows Update.
  • You should probably back up your computer. Here's how to prepare your PC for Windows 10.

How to upgrade to Windows 10

1. Go to the Windows 10 download page. At the top of the page, you'll see a button that says Upgrade now. Click this button to download the Windows 10 download client.

2. Double-click the Windows 10 download client to run it. A User Account Control (UAC) window will pop up asking if you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer; click OK to proceed.

3. The client will download Windows 10 and walk you through the setup process. The process could take up to an hour and your device will restart several times while you're setting up Windows 10.

If you upgrade and realize you absolutely hate Windows 10, no sweat -- you have 30 days to go back to your previous version of Windows.