Is Windows 11 Free?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 6, 2021
Windows 11 Help

Microsoft released its Windows 11 operating system on October 5, 2021 officially. Is Windows 11 free? The question can't be answered with a simple yes or not. Windows 11 is free under certain conditions, otherwise, it is available at Microsoft and other retail locations for  a price.

Answer: Microsoft customers who run an activated Windows 10 installation on a device may upgrade to Windows 11 for free. Windows 11 needs to be purchased from Microsoft and other retail locations otherwise.

Is the Windows 11 upgrade free?

Here is the easiest way to find out if the Windows 10 is activated:

  1. Select Start > Settings.
  2. Go to Update & Security > Activation

The page that opens reveals if the operating system is activated.

windows 10 activated free upgrade

If it states that Windows 10 is activated, the upgrade to Windows 11 is free. You may then head over to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update, to find out if it is offered to your device already.

Microsoft displays an error on the page if the PC does not meet all system requirements.

this pc doesn't currently meet all the system requirements for windows 11

If you see This PC doesn't currently meet all the system requirements for Windows 11, it can't be upgraded to Windows 11 using Windows Update. There is another way though.

Is the free offer to upgrade to Windows 11 time-limited?

Microsoft has not revealed if the update is time-limited. When Microsoft launched Windows 10, it offered a one-year free upgrade to Windows 10 from genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices. The company did not disable the free upgrade program after the first year though, as it is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

Windows 7 and 8.1 devices can't be upgraded directly to Windows 11. It is necessary to run the upgrade to Windows 10, which was still possible last time we tested the upgrade path.

A workaround for incompatible devices

Note that Windows 11 has different system requirements than previous versions of Windows, including Windows 10 or Windows 7/8.1. Even if the Windows 10 system is activated correctly, it may not be possible to upgrade to Windows 11 for free because of these requirements.

It may still be possible to install Windows 11 on a device that Microsoft refuses to upgrade via Windows Update. Check out our guide on installing Windows 11 on incompatible devices, and how to download Windows 11 to your devices.

Is Windows 11 Free?
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Is Windows 11 Free?
Is the upgrade to Windows 11 free? This guide helps you find out if the upgrade to Windows 11 is free on your devices.
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  1. Anonymous said on January 22, 2023 at 4:54 pm

    Linux will never be #1.
    Most Linux looks old and out dated.
    When i was using Linux the only games i could get to work was old xp games and nock off windows games.
    steam is a joke on Linux and i found nothing in software that i would ever use in my every day task.

  2. Junkwasher said on October 12, 2021 at 2:46 am

    Check – Windows 10 XP Themed Edition.

    Check – Black and White motif with no way to select theme gradients.

    Check – Cluster fuck Settings by absolving everything into sub menu’s.

    Check – Windows !@#$% Updates!

    Check – Steam roll more app bloat, plus chat, plus widgets.

    Check – Free forced upgrade for Windows 10 users on new machines.

    Check – Cortana now has your babies and babysits too.

  3. the_fudge said on October 8, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Who the fudge cares????

  4. Dumbledalf said on October 7, 2021 at 11:05 am

    The telemetry is identical to that of Windows 10, you just fire up PrivateZilla and O&O ShutUp10 and get rid of it. Just like in Windows 10.

  5. Norman said on October 7, 2021 at 4:41 am

    When Win 10 was first released the was utility called ‘NeverTen’ which set various registry settings to PREVENT MS updates/downloads from automatically downloading/installing Win 10. (I have several peripherals that are not 10 compatible)

    Is there such an equivalent to prevent Win 11 from being forced? I do NOT want Win 11!

    Are there settings/options/etc that will prevent Win 11 from being downloaded?

    After all the ‘P’ in PC stands for PERSONAL computer.

    1. money-by-pink-floyd said on October 7, 2021 at 10:44 am

      True, but like fake progressn Personal Computer, has evolved its now — People are the Cashcow PATCC doesn’t sound so cool and buzz wordy though.

  6. Anonymous said on October 6, 2021 at 10:46 pm

    They would have to pay me to use this alpha quality OS. The last fully developed OS was Windows 7.

    1. Kindkiwi said on October 6, 2021 at 10:56 pm

      According to that article the editor is talking bout the chip shortage, i have mentioned before.Why is Microsoft forcing everyone to buy new PCs new motherboards,new CPUs etc all for added cost to upgrade to windows 11

      1. Anonymous said on October 6, 2021 at 11:16 pm

        Why do cars have lightweight metal wheels instead of wooden spoked wheels!

        The world does not sit in a time-lock. Things change. Some call it progress. Other prefer a horse and cart.

      2. money-by-pink-floyd said on October 7, 2021 at 10:40 am

        And some prefer to have less money in their pockets and feed the already boated wages for these corporate fellas, TPM/Chip makers, all because the new progress, is really not progress at all.

        Now, real progress in the meanwhile is ignored and corporate greed is what passes fo progress these days.

  7. ilev said on October 6, 2021 at 6:43 pm

    “If you see This PC doesn’t currently meet all the system requirements for Windows 11, it can’t be upgraded to Windows 11 using Windows Update. There is another way though.”

    Microsoft lets you install Windows 11 on incompatible PC

    You can create the following registry key values and bypass the check for TPM 2.0 (at least TPM 1.2 is required) and the CPU family and model.

    Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup

    Name: AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU

    Type: REG_DWORD

    Value: 1

  8. microfix said on October 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Whatever nomenclature or version from Win10 1507 onwards it really makes no difference. WaaS may SEEM free but, the cost is in the online traffic detail where YOU are the product, not the Operating System.

    1. Yuliya said on October 6, 2021 at 9:59 pm

      Only three versions matter: 1507, 1607 and 1809. Maybe 21H2 (aka 2109) in the upcoming weeks as well. Anything else should not even be considered as a product at all.

  9. finoderi said on October 6, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    How about an article about Windows 11 telemetry?

  10. Neutrino said on October 6, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    The only free cheese is the one in the mouse trap.

  11. Steve said on October 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    This is funny … and tragic. “Funny” that they offered Windows 7 users going to 10 for free and now 10 users to go to 11 the same way. Tragic because there is a steep price you pay for doing so, otherwise, think about it, is MS stupid to invest time and money and give its OS for free? No, it has to be something for them. Maybe is their telemetry sauce? Or their MS Store (which I doubt it.) I know they get revenue for new PC OS installs and blah blah. But still, they are basically offering millions of users the “upgrade” free. Funny. Tragic. Yup.

    1. money-by-pink-floyd said on October 7, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Tragedy is the least of all, when people get less, have NO real improvements, like explorer where art thy tabs, where art thy context menu zip/rar/other/programs entries hidden in sub menus.

      And why is there so much more telemetry and why there is less customization options and why, just why not spend time/money making windows 10 better and fixing bugs that have really never been fixed since inception?

      Ah right. Because its important to experiment at the expense of customers/users because its important that shops and other businesses have to suffer the incessant barrage of ignorant product managers policies who only do stuff in order to justify their bloated wages.

      So tragedy is right, but not for MS, its all good there.

      They lost me years ago as MVP and beta tester when they ignored opensource, and now they lost me as a user because when they flip the switch on Windows 10 and no more security updates come, I will be using it for the rare programs that dont run in wine or VMs on some air gapped computer, and making the switch to QubeOS permanently as my secure OS choice.

      And also because I dont want to buy any new hardware like TPM which is a proven insecure technology and will be much more exploited because now every new PC will have one and bad people will exploit it to get past it just for the hell of it and profit in some cases.

      I also dont want secure core silicone additions to already bullcrap Intel ME technology which is also insecure and wildly exploited.

      Plus secure core, the chip isn’t that secure either (Xbox homebrew anyone) and I will only be proven right in time, by the flood of exploits hat will be found and misused by all now that it will be shoved down everyone’s gullets, like it or not.

      So not tragedy for them, its money, money, money, out of our pockets and into theirs. under the guise of looking out for users security.

      Time will prove people like us right. and no one cares or will care.

  12. Anonymous said on October 6, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    @Martin, why are you promoting Windows 11 so much? There are better operating systems out there :-/

    1. Añoñymoose said on October 3, 2022 at 10:57 pm

      Are there though?

    2. Dumbledalf said on October 7, 2021 at 11:04 am

      Like what? Lienoox that can’t run a single game or program, because:

      1. It doesn’t have native support.
      2. You need to go through hoops like Wine, Proton or Lutris and it still doesn’t guarantee it will work out of the box – you still have to tweak it, benchmark it, troubleshoot it for a whole week before it starts working.

      Get over yourself Windows 11 isn’t that bad, I’ve been using it for over a month and it’s faster than Windows 10 and games run better.

    3. Anonymous said on October 6, 2021 at 11:11 pm

      Martin is not promoting Windows 11. Martin is providing useful information about an operating system for those who may need the information to make a decision or who plan to install it and want to learn more.

      1. money-by-pink-floyd said on October 7, 2021 at 10:13 am

        This is promotion by round about ways of creating exposure to Win 11 by increasing related topics and ignoring others.

        If you look at the posts history Windows 11 has taken a forefront in sheer numbers of entries in comparison to other topics that have stopped coming in Like Thunderbird updates,

        Now you’de argue, this is normal because Windows 11 is the next big (failure in OS releases, like Windows vista was a failure.) thing and thus is normal to post as much as possible so that consumers are informed. I somewhat also would be inclined to agree, but real life hits me.

        I know that no matter what is posted/topic contents, if good or bad.

        That its all advertising. MS will profit from this, and so will the ghacks parent company. Because the real world is setup that way and you and me are just sheep.

        Just look how GHacks has become an advertising filled site, because somehow they must monetize on everyone preference of blog sites for your daily news about xyz.

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