Windows 10 logo on the pavement

Didn’t you manage to take advantage of the free update to Windows 7 and don’t know how to download Windows 10 for free and legally? We have excellent news for you: although the process when the latest Microsoft operating system arrived, back in 2015, in Digital Trends in Spanish We put together all the options that exist to obtain it at no cost.

You did not know? Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14, 2020. This means that you will no longer have technical support or software or security updates. Therefore, the use of Windows 7 will soon become completely unfeasible, making this the ideal time to switch to Windows 10 (Windows 8 will find the same destination in a few years).

Windows 10 logo on the pavement

The original free upgrade period for these previous versions of Windows ended “officially” in mid-2016, and a “solution” to get Windows 10 free with Assistive Technologies ended in December 2017, too. But don’t panic! There are still a few ways you can get the latest and greatest version of Windows 10 for free, without having to pay a license or break the law.

Take our advice: you won’t want to continue using Windows 7. It’s time to get older and upgrade to Windows 10.

Note: Before following the steps below, consider your options. You can also download and install Windows 10. Once a clean and inactive installation is done, look for Activation in the Windows menu and enter your 7 / 8.1 key to activate Windows 10 at any time.

Step 1: download Windows 10 media creation tool

Although Microsoft has officially finalized free updates to Windows 10, technically you can still install the operating system for free. If you are still running Windows 7.or Windows 8.1, you will only need to download the Windows 10 installer. Following this path will mean that you do not need to pay $ 129 for an upgrade key, in addition to being able to save all your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 data.

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Go to the Microsoft website to download Windows 10 for free. This is accomplished with the Windows 10 media creation tool. You can download the tool by clicking the blue button. Download tool now in the Web page. It shouldn’t take more than two minutes.

Step 2: start the installer

Once downloaded, launch the installer. You must accept the terms and then choose Update this PC now. Then follow the prompts. Windows 10 will download to your PC and check if it is compatible. You may be shown a list of “problematic” hardware or programs that are on your computer and may be hindering updates. It will be up to you to uninstall them to continue.

Since there is a long time between both systems, you probably have a lot of data stored in files and applications. Microsoft does not guarantee that they are all compatible with Windows 10: some of them simply will not work. It is important that you are aware of this and that you back up or export any important information before continuing. The installer will try to transfer as much data as possible, but being prepared is always a good idea.

Step 3: finish the installation

As the installer work progresses, your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 PC will restart multiple times. As part of the process, it will ask for your hardware’s existing product key during setup. If your version of Windows is legally activated, it will not request an activation key. Please note, however, that this will not work for Windows XP or Windows Vista as these versions of Windows never qualified for the free Windows 10 upgrade.

You will also receive the same Windows “model” that you originally had on your PC: Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise or Education. You cannot switch between them with this method, so you will need to purchase another Windows license to obtain a different version.

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Can I reuse a key from a previous product?

Windows 10 upgrade key

As we indicated, the installer will search for a Windows 7 or 8.1 license as you update your computer to Windows 10. If it does not find the appropriate authentication on the computer, you will have to enter the key product information manually.

Microsoft product keys generally work once. Unless covered by license agreements, Microsoft does not accept the same product key on multiple PCs. However, if you no longer use the previous versions, Microsoft’s Windows 10 activation servers will accept Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 keys on your computer.

Typically, your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 key can be found on the label of your desktop or laptop computer, or in the associated documentation. If you purchased the operating system from Microsoft or a retail store, you may have it in your email. With Windows 8.1, product keys can also be linked to specific hardware or your Microsoft account. If you are upgrading from Windows 7, maintaining documentation may be more important. If you can’t find the key, you can try logging into your Microsoft account and checking previous downloads to see if your product key is available there. Sites like Amazon also keep a record of purchased downloads, but generally don’t include the product key, though it may be helpful to review it.

Other methods to get Windows 10

Other methods to get Windows 10 for free

The method outlined above is best for getting Windows 10 for free, at least for now. However, there are other ways to do it if you really need it, including free and low-cost options worth exploring.

Free version of the school: Microsoft offers a student discount for Windows 10. In fact, those who qualify generally get a free version, while teachers working for a qualifying school can download Windows 10 Education for a small fee. On the Microsoft educational portal you can check if your school qualifies and learn how to download. If you recently graduated but still want to use Windows 10, you may be able to sign in with your old school email.

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Download Windows 10 without activating it: Technically, you can download Windows 10 from Microsoft (not the app store version) and simply not activate it. It turns out this is more secure than it sounds, because Microsoft is pretty lax when it comes to forcing activation. Your copy of Windows should not close and you will have access to applications, etc. However, there are limitations. Microsoft will constantly remind you to activate Windows 10 every time you log in. You also won’t be able to make any customization, color changes, or other types of changes until you activate the operating system. Obviously, you will have to forget about technical assistance. However, it is a great offer to get plenty of Windows 10 functionality for free… although there is no guarantee that Microsoft will not change this in the future.

Buy a Windows 10 key from third parties– There are many users who sell their Windows 10 OEM keys for massive discounts, so you can get them for just a fraction of the total cost from Microsoft. Although it seems suspicious, the trick is to find providers that sell reliable keys, something like the Costcos of the operating systems. Kinguin sells them for around $ 20 dollars. PCDestination has them for $ 45 dollars. Even Amazon offers significant discounts for Windows 10 compared to downloading directly from Microsoft. In other words, it pays to shop around.

* Updated on June 20, 2020 by Rodrigo Orellana.

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