Microsoft’s venerable Windows 7 operating system sees its support end on January 14, 2020 meaning software updates that help protect your PC will no longer be available. If you’ve been holding off upgrading, then it’s time to realise that Windows 7 will soon not be fit for purpose and could render your PC vulnerable whether you’re a gamer, content creator or casual user. However, it’s still possible to upgrade for free to Windows 10 and easily too.
Why you need to upgrade to Windows 10 now
Many people have avoided the move in spite of Microsoft’s free upgrade offer, which officially ended in 2016 (thankfully it does still work for most of us). Stability issues, not wanting to move from what was an excellent, stable and snappy OS or businesses facing expensive and time consuming upgrades of hundreds or thousands of PCs are just some of the reasons Windows 7 still sees plenty of regular monthly users.
I can fully sympathize as I’ve certainly had my fair share of issues with Windows 10 – it’s certainly not perfect, although the latest November 2019 update does focus on performance and stability and I’ve had no issues for the last few months. However, with security updates no longer being dished out post 14th January, it’s officially time to bite the bullet and upgrade – Windows 7 will quickly fall away into the security-less abyss where XP and Vista already reside and will not be fit for purpose, however much you want to stick with the old OS.
How to upgrade your Windows 7 PC or laptop
Upgrading is simple and with any luck, you can get a legitimate copy of Windows 10 installed for free too. First, head over to Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool download page, download and install the tool. This can also be used to create a USB flash drive installer for installing a fresh copy of the latest up-to-date version of Windows 10 for any PC – very handy, but for now you want to upgrade only.
Next, as you can see above, you can select the upgrade option and go ahead and upgrade your Windows 7 installation to Windows 10. Once installed, your OS should be activated and there’s nothing more you need to do. While Microsoft’s free upgrade offer ended several years ago, there’s plenty of evidence it still works. There are some reasons why the upgrade might fail, though, which are drivers or software getting in the way. Fixes for these are detailed in this article, and including updating antivirus software or drivers.
There are some alternative routes you can take of course. First is to buy Windows 10 from a retailer. Amazon currently lists the OEM version of Windows 10 Home for $85. The alternatives are the cheap Windows 10 key providers out there. The likes of Kinguin offer the OS for less than $20. In the UK, Groupon currently has a deal for £24.95. While the cheaper versions are often frowned upon, there’s are plenty of positive reviews (always check these if you opt for this method, whichever site you use) and I’ve personally used a Groupon-sourced Windows 10 licence for over a year with no problems.
These are often OEM keys, which are usually tied to specific hardware components in your machine once installed. If you perform an upgrade to your PC, such as the motherboard, it’s possible you’ll need to buy a new license. However, at these prices that’s not the end of the world. Come 14th January, you won’t have much choice but to upgrade if you want to have a secure operating system so everyone that’s held off till now needs to make the move.