Business Technology

Thursday 23 January 2020

How to download Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 and avoid €145 cost

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Haven’t gotten around to switching Windows 7 for Windows 10 ahead of tomorrow’s (January 14) security cutoff deadline? Don’t fancy paying Microsoft €145 per laptop (or PC) for the upgrade?

There is still a legal way to get it for free. Microsoft has left a loophole in its download system.

It’s not obvious when you visit its website. You need to go to this section:


1. Click the bit that says ‘download tool now’ and follow the instructions (it will ask you to accept the licensing terms).

2. Then it will offer to ‘upgrade this PC’. Select this and click ‘next’.

3. It should then offer to let you keep your personal files before giving you the final prompt for installation.

4. To get your Windows 10 activation license, go to ‘settings’, ‘update’ and ‘activation’.

It should be added that this only works if you have a proper, licensed copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8 (you may be asked for the license product key for that -- to check your current license key, go to ‘settings’, ‘update and security’ and ‘activation’).

Whether you do it this way, or buy it, or replace your PC with a Windows 10 machine (which is almost all new Windows computers now), you should take action today.

Tomorrow, Microsoft will end its security support for Windows 7. That means that ransomware and viruses that are created to target specific vulnerabilities in Windows 7 will have a better chance of success due to the lack of new security patches from Microsoft.

One in five Irish PCs and laptops still run this system, including hundreds of thousands of work computers.

As shared last week, 46,000 or the nearly 60,000 HSE laptops and PCs still use it.

These organisations are now paying Microsoft a hefty ‘extended support’ fee until they get around to upgrading to Windows 10.

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