Free Windows 10 Upgrade Still On for Windows 7/8 keys

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 4, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Reports are coming in that Windows users may still upgrade their devices to Windows 10 provided that they have a Windows 7 or 8 key.

Microsoft's official offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free from a device running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 ended on July 29, 2016.

While the official offer ended, reports suggest that users may still grab a free Windows 10 key if they have a product key.

All that needs to be done is provide the Windows 7 or 8.1 product key during installation of Windows 10 on the computer to have the new OS activated on the machine.

The main difference to before is that the Get Windows 10 (GWX) tool is not available anymore to upgrade the operating system to Windows 10.

Mary Jo Foley asked Microsoft why the free upgrade offer to Windows 10 has seemingly not ended.

Microsoft's answer to the question was that users who would install Windows 10 on a PC for the first time had to enter a Windows 10 product key, and that users who had previously installed Windows 10 on a machine would not.

Users upgrading their PC for the first time will need to enter a Windows 10 product key. Users who've previously installed Windows 10 on their PC should activate successfully with a digital entitlement when reinstalling Windows 10 on that PC.

Microsoft does not acknowledge that free upgrades are still possible on machines where Windows 10 was not installed on previously. It is a rather puzzling answer that does not really address the issue at hand at all.

While Microsoft does not confirm the issue at all, it means that users of Windows 7 or 8.1 who have product keys may still upgrade machines for free to Windows 10 despite Microsoft's claim that this is not the case.

Microsoft may decide to close the loophole at any point in time though but since it does not even acknowledge the issue, there is a chance that the loophole remains an option for the foreseeable future.

Mary Jo's guess is that it simply takes a while to get things sorted out on the backend. This would mean that the option is only a temporary one, and that it will cease to be an option at all in the near future.

It would also explain Microsoft's answer to Mary Jo Foley's question. It is unclear why Microsoft does not acknowledge the issue. One explanation is that it feared public backlash after stating over and over again that the free upgrade period ended on July 29, 2016.

We don't know when the loophole ends and free Windows 10 upgrade offer expire for good for Windows 7 and 8.1 users. Anyone who missed the deadline may still take Microsoft up on the free upgrade offer provided that they have a product key for a previous version of Windows.

While Mary Jo mentions only retail product keys, the method seems to work with all kinds of product keys including OEM keys.

Free Windows 10 Upgrade Still On for Windows 7/8 keys
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Free Windows 10 Upgrade Still On for Windows 7/8 keys
Reports are coming in that Windows users may still upgrade their devices to Windows 10 provided that they have a Windows 7 or 8 key.
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  1. yapadkoi said on August 4, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Allowing all to upgrade, using assistive technologies or not, or still allowing W7/8 keys, same strategy.

    As (like InfoWorld) many suggests, “skipping” the Anniversary Update is possible for sure, but as you know this thing is more a new strategy than only an update… most changes in the future will remain as they are.

    1] XP, W7/8 > Neanderthals > “should i update (to W10)”?
    2] W10 > AlphaTesters > “should i update (to W10 AU)”?
    3] My theory: from now on, Neanderthals and Moderns will live in harmony, thanks M§.

    1. hirobo2 said on August 5, 2016 at 3:53 am

      4] Wait for China to overtake computing. The fastest supercomputer in the world is already powered by Chinese-made chips. When China eventually makes a foray into software, it will not only be the end of M$/Apple/Google, but America as well. Should come when China’s GDP surpasses US. At which point, I’ll gladly discard the MS ecosystem and embrace change… Until then, I have Win7/8.1 to keep me plenty occupied…

      1. yapadkoi said on August 5, 2016 at 4:25 am

        Interesting point. Among other things… that’s why US try to have our Europe in its pocket, but many many Tin Foil Hat Wearers in Europe (ーー;)

    2. T J said on August 5, 2016 at 12:00 am

      @ yapadkoi

      You forgot the Neanderthal sub-species, the Tin Foil Hat Wearers. They are much more reactionary than boring old Neanderthals. :-)

      1. yapadkoi said on August 5, 2016 at 1:33 am

        No sub-species, only different species, each with their own qualities, what makes us serene against boring materialisms :-)

  2. Tony said on August 4, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Microsoft is acting more and more like an untrustworthy politician or unscrupulous businessperson. It’s ugly and disappointing.

  3. meepmeep said on August 4, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    What’s next, Win 10 sending you a jolt of electricity through the keyboard
    if you dare to try uninstalling it?

    1. klarkkent said on August 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Please don’t give em any ideas! :)

    2. CaptainObv said on August 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Please don’t give them ideas.

  4. Geoff said on August 4, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Glad to hear it. I haven’t installed Windows 10 yet, but I have been considering it. Now that the Anniversary Update is out, is there an iso with the latest version of Windows 10 Home (64 Bit) and with the Anniversary Update already setup? That would be the best way to do a clean install, right? To start with the best version instead of having to install another update. Microsoft should provide this for those who do have a legit Win7 or Win8 key. Make the install easy on us. I want to do the upgrade, but I keep hearing horror stories of people’s computers blue screening, explorer and/or the start menu crashing, etc. Is that because of doing the upgrade and not clean installing it, or is Win 10 really that unstable? Some have called it an alpha OS. Let me know. Thanks!

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm

      If hatred guided me to the point of invoking boycott I’d spread the word with more or less demagogy. This is not the case and I’d advance but my choice as mine only with no further incitement.

      Remain facts and if the following article may help you to decide, then here’s another narration about Windows 10, specifically it’s Anniversary Update.

      “The case against Windows 10 Anniversary Update grows” :

      From there on my choice is of little importance, not to say of none.
      Of course it is possible to install (upgrade from Win 7/8.1) in order to get registered then return to Win7/8.1 from a full backup, if you are sure your backupper is reliable. For geeks this seems obvious and hesitations call hilarity but for non-geeks a total re-install may appear to be an odyssey. So it’s up to each of us to know what we’re doing and neither under nor over estimate our skills.

    2. dwarf_tossn said on August 4, 2016 at 5:34 pm

      I personally got a failed installation when upgrading directly from 7 when I went for it on the 29th. I backed up my 7 system with Aomei before I started, though, so no big deal if anything failed as I could always go back. Note: make sure to burn a copy of the WinPE Aomei boot disk, you don’t want to be stranded without one.

      Download the official MS media creation tool you need (x64 or x86, you probably want x64) and use it to create an ISO. Burn that (good to have a physical copy around), and run setup from inside of Windows 7.

      If you have no need for gaming or anything specialized, I say go for it. I ended up going back to 7 after getting my digital entitlement to 10 because some games and other things broke. But there was a lot to like; 10 had a noticeably smaller OS footprint and ran very comparably to 7 in terms of performance. I got the entitlement so I’ll go back if and when support for niche nerd stuff I care about has some level of support.

    3. Gabriel said on August 4, 2016 at 4:30 pm


  5. dwarf_tossn said on August 4, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Mary Jo Foley seems like the type to tell the teacher they forgot to collect homework.

    (I’m kidding, I’m sure she’s lovely)

  6. ComeAtMeBro said on August 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    So the whole “July 29th deadline” was nothing but PR BS and pure lies then. and the reason behind this (NOT) last minute decision ?

    “Windows 10 a failure by Microsoft’s own metric”


    1. insanelyapple said on August 5, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Same marketing BS as reserving W10 upgrade in first days of its availability

    2. Corky said on August 4, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      If you think that’s bad you should read this guys take on the 350 Million users claim.

      “Approximately 70 percent of the Windows 10 machines were new PCs sold with the operating system. That leaves 105 million device upgrades, including PCs, tablets, phones, and Xboxes, according to information a Microsoft spokesperson sent me.”

  7. Phhh said on August 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    In my opinon they are nothing else than a chaotic heap of deceptive and dishonest minds who have found a place where they can execute their ranzid character deficits. In the future the cumulations for insult, dishonesty or deceptiveness may just be one word: Crikmosoft

  8. Matt said on August 4, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Can confirm. Did an install of Windows 10 on a new Windows 7 computer yesterday. Logged in and it was activated.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks Matt, that is good to know.

  9. Tom Hawack said on August 4, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Mary Jo’s guess. Mary Jo has to guess what Microsoft’s answer failed to clarify. A la façon Microsoft, unclear,, approximate, ambiguous. It’s in the company’s genes.

    Microsoft, the company you have to guess.

    Truth is Windows 10 is not being adopted accordingly to the company’s ambition. It’s not with this sort of answer that they’ll revert their very bad image.

    1. hirobo2 said on August 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Upgraded to Win10 a while ago just for the free license. Wiped it off my computer soon afterwards. I haven’t touched Win10 ever since. Don’t really give a shite about anniversary update. Only way I’ll actually use Win10 is when I’m left w absolutely no choice. I’ll take up Linux before this happens…

      1. Harold Z said on August 11, 2016 at 8:28 pm

        Yes, me too! I tried WIN10 twice and
        could do nothing with it. Cortana was worthless
        for me as it would not work unless I was online,
        and I could not connect. I got back to Win7 by
        “Shutting down the computer, counting to 10,
        restarting the computer and pressing ESC during
        boot, then following the on screen menue.

        Oh; I found the OS Key stuck to the hard-drive
        inside the case.

    2. T J said on August 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      You are absolutely right, Tom. If the Win 10 installs were above forecasts, MS would be booking ads in every newspaper to brag about it ( especially ZDnet :P ).
      There have not been any announcements ref install numbers for months.

      1. "Free Upgrade" said on August 4, 2016 at 10:00 pm

        If it was a success MS would be charging $251 and a monthly $19.95 subscription, forcing ads on the desktop, mandatory 24/7 data collection, and control of what software you are allowed to install and which websites you are allowed to visit, and what media you can watch. You’d be seeing “Windows has detected malicious software ‘Firefox’ and has deleted it for your protection. Windows has detected feelsbadman.jpg and deleted it for your protection. has been detected as a malicious site and Windows has replaced it with for your protection.” You think that’s ridiculous but everything I said MS has tried to do in the past! It was sued by the US DOJ and the EU for it and found guilty, repeatedly. You have to be in a constant war with Microsoft, they do whatever they can get away with.

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