How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10

Arif Bacchus
·4-min read

When Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7, many computer users had a decision to make: Stay on Windows 7 or upgrade to Windows 10. If you’re one of these people and you need to upgrade, you should know you have a couple of ways to do it.

Whether you prefer to download Windows 10 or use a USB to install it, there are a few essential steps. If you follow the right steps, you can easily upgrade to the latest operating system.

Step 1: Buy a Windows 10 license

<span class="credit"><a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Microsoft" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Microsoft</a></span>

The first step in this process is buying a Windows 10 license. As Windows 7 users can no longer upgrade to Windows 10 for free, you’ll need to buy a Windows 10 product key through Microsoft or any other authorized retailer. You can also try to get Windows 10 for free if you meet the requirements.

Currently, you can buy Windows 10 Professional

for the price of $200 over at the Microsoft Store.

You also can

for the price of $200 over at the Microsoft Store.

This is a nice option if you’re budget-conscious and don’t need features like Windows Sandbox or Bitlocker.

Step 2: Create a USB installer for a clean install or choose to upgrade with the Windows 10 Media Creation tool

<span class="credit">Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends</span>
Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

If you’re choosing to buy Windows 10 through Microsoft, you’ll notice two options. You can download the OS to your machine as an ISO file, or you can choose the USB option. If going with the USB option, you will have a copy of Windows 10 mailed to your home. Using a USB is an excellent choice if your internet connection isn’t stable enough for the 4GB download.

The download option, meanwhile, lets you create an installation media on a CD or USB so you can completely erase your hard drive, do a clean install, and upgrade to Windows 10. You also can double-click the ISO file to mount it and open the Setup.exe file in the folder to proceed.

Once the media is created, you’ll be able to tweak your BIOS settings so you can boot from the installer. Then, follow its step-by-step guide.

Regardless of which way you buy, you’ll likely get a product key in an email. If you’re interested in just upgrading your existing Windows 7 installation without having to erase, then continue to the next step. Doing so is a much simpler process and is a lot more foolproof.

Step 3: Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool or open Setup.exe from your USB

<span class="credit">Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends</span>
Arif Bacchus/Digital Trends

The simplest method of upgrading to Windows 10 is to download and open the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. Or, if you’ve purchased a Windows 10 USB, access the USB drive in Windows Explorer and click the Setup.exe file. In both cases, you should notice that whenever the window is open, there should be an option that says Upgrade this PC Now.

Click that option and follow through the prompts. If you’ve obtained the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft online, it will need to download Windows 10 first. If you’re using the USB, there won’t be a wait.

Either way, you’ll see a few prompts. One prompt will let you know about problematic apps or services that might conflict with Windows 10. It’s up to you to address these issues.

At some point, you may need to enter the product key emailed to you. Depending on your situation, it might not show up at all. However, in most cases, you’ll need to input the key if it’s not automatically pulled from your Windows 7 machine.

Step 4: Wait while your PC upgrades, then check for driver conflicts

Now that you’ve entered your product key, you can just sit back while your PC upgrades. A typical update will take roughly an hour, depending on your CPU speed and how old your PC is.

When the upgrade has finished installing, you might want to head into Device Manager in Windows 10 and make sure your hardware is being read correctly by the new OS. You can do this by right-clicking the Windows Logo and choosing Device Manager. Click through each of the categories, and if you see anything with a yellow exclamation point, right-click it and choose the Update Driver option. Windows will then search the internet for the right driver and attempt to install it. If you’re noticing too many missing drivers, then your PC might not be compatible with Windows 10, and you might need to buy a new desktop or a new laptop.

Next, you may want to tweak Windows 10 to look like Windows 7 or check out our guide on how to use the new OS.