OK you guys, so I decided to try and clear this up once and for all and put together the ultimate Windows 10 Upgrade FAQ on the web.
This page should answer EVERY question you could possibly have about the Windows 10 upgrade process. A lot of you have written in to us to ask about the process and hopefully this page will help to answer those questions once and for all.
Oh and by the way since this is a pretty long list of questions, we have an option for you.
If you would like to get this FAQ in a nice formatted Adobe PDF document you can share or read later, share the page and you can download the PDF below.
Let’s get started.
Windows 10 Upgrade Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: What is Windows 10?
Windows 10 is the successor to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
QUESTION: Is the Windows 10 free upgrade offer still available?
No, Microsoft ended the Windows 10 free upgrade offer on July 29, 2016.
QUESTION: What are the hardware requirements for the Windows 10 Operating System?
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Free hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20GB (64-bit)
- Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver A Microsoft account and Internet access
QUESTION: Can I transfer my Windows 10 installation to another computer after getting the free upgrade?
QUESTION: How many Windows 10 editions are there?
Microsoft announced its lineup of Windows 10 editions in May. All of the editions share common features, but are sold and distributed differently depending on the type of device for which they’re intended.
There are two and only two editions of Windows 10 for installation on new PCs.
- Windows 10 Home is the cheaper option. It includes the entire Windows 10 feature set, minus a handful of features reserved for the Pro edition. OEMs commonly install this edition on devices aimed at the price-conscious consumer and small business markets.
- Windows 10 Pro is typically found on higher-quality, higher-spec business-class devices. It costs more and includes a group of features that enthusiasts, professionals, and anyone on a Windows business network will appreciate: Hyper-V virtualization, BitLocker encryption, the ability to set up a PC as a Remote Desktop server, and the ability to join a Windows domain or enroll with Azure Active Directory are the key ones.
Read more here – how many versions of Windows 10 are there?
QUESTION: How do I get my copy of Windows 10 activated?
When you upgrade over an existing, activated copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, the Setup program checks the current activation status.
If it determines the installation is properly activated, it contacts the Microsoft Store and generates a license certificate that is linked to that hardware. (A Microsoft Account is not required for this step.)
This automatic activation process is identical whether you use an ISO file to start the upgrade or do so from the downloaded upgrade files. After that first activation is complete, you can perform a clean install on that same hardware using an ISO file, which has a product key embedded in it.
As long as the hardware matches the previous installation ID, the installation is activated automatically. (Microsoft does not provide details of what goes into the hardware ID, except to confirm that it does not contain any personally identifiable information and is not used for tracking purposes.)
A watermark on the desktop reflects the build number of preview releases. Fully activated, non-Insider installations have no watermark. If you perform a clean install using the same Windows 10 edition that was previously activated on a PC or device, you can skip entering the product key and you will be automatically activated after setup is complete.
For all other scenarios you can enter a product key for the corresponding edition of Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1, or Windows 10, and activate automatically after setup is complete.