Still running Windows 7? Time is running out to upgrade to Windows 10. What to know
Windows 10 is required to upgrade to Windows 11. Here's why you need to update today.
Alison DeNisco RayomeManaging Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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If you're still running Windows 7, you can buy Windows 10 Home on Microsoft's website for $139 (£120, AU$225). But you don't necessarily have to shell out the cash: Over the summer, there was a free Microsoft upgrade offer that worked (it still might). Updating to Windows 10 now will make future updates, like Windows 11, easier. But you can expect to update to Windows 11 soon because support for Windows 10 will end in 2025.
2. Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download tool now and Run.
3. Choose Upgrade this PC now, assuming this is the only PC you're upgrading. (If you're upgrading a different machine, choose Create installation media for another PC, and save the installation files.)
4. Follow the prompts.
5. When the upgrade is complete, go to Settings Update & Security > Activation, and you should see a digital license for Windows 10.
It should be noted that if you have a Windows 7 or 8 Home license, you can only update to Windows 10 Home, while Windows 7 or 8 Pro can only be updated to Windows 10 Pro. (The upgrade is not available for Windows Enterprise. Other users may experience blocks as well, depending on your machine.) This upgrade using the media creation tool isn't meant for the general consumer, but it works for many nonetheless.
To get the best Windows 10 experience and take advantage of features like passwordless sign-on through Windows Hello, you'll want to buy a new Windows 10 PC (or one released after July 2015) with all the hardware upgrades. If you're a student or university faculty member, you may also be able to download Windows 10 for free. (Search for your school's software offerings here.)