Re: Is it still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

Joe Giovanelli

After upgrading to Windows 10, why would I then need to perform a clean install? Shouldn't the upgrade accomplish the same thing?

Joe Giovanelli

----- Original Message -----
From: Joseph Lee <joseph.lee22590@...>
Date: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 0:23
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Is it still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

Gene is correct, both in terms of practicality and due to the way a Windows 10 digital license is generated. As part of the in-place upgrade procedure (via Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant), a "fingerprint" of your system's configuration (mostly hardware) is captured and sent to Microsoft, which is then used to generate a perpetual digital license. After Windows 10 installation completes, Windows will connect to activation servers at Microsoft, which will detect a "valid" license and activate the upgraded copy accordingly. This is also the reason why it is possible to "upgrade" by providing a genuinely licensed product key for Windows 7 and 8.x, which will also determine which edition will get installed (a typical retail Windows 10 installation media (including ISO image downloaded via Media Creation Tool) contains all consumer editions in one go; the product key entered will determine which edition gets installed; in reality, everyone uses Windows 10 Pro, but non-Pro features are unavailable if using Windows 10 Home).
As pointed out by many people (including tech press writers), in order to receive this "free" digital license (after all, that's really what's happening), you need to perform an in-place upgrade first - clean install won't work. Only after in-place upgrade is successful (evidenced by activation via digital license), you can then do a clean install, after which the same digital license will be used to "activate" the fresh installation.
Another alternative, which may come in handy for some (although for some of you, a bit risky, explained below), is tying Windows 10 activation with your Microsoft Account. This is attractive if you need to use additional services that comes with a Microsoft Account, such as enhancements to cloud clipboard history, synchronizing user data and settings, and what not. This is also handy if your goal is to participate in Windows Insider Program (caveat: since December 16, 2019, those opting into Windows Insider fast ring will get unstable builds which are coming from development labs at Microsoft, akin to Firefox nightly or Chrome dev channel; those subscribed to a subgroup of a certain Groups.IO forum will know what I'm talking about).

-----Original Message-----
From: <> On Behalf Of Bharat
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 9:04 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Is it still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

As suggested by Gene,

upgrading is the best solution for Peter in this scenario, more so because he wants to use the free windows10 offer. Once he does an in place upgrade, his machine would be upgraded to windows10 for free. He can thereafter choose to install a fresh copy of windows should he decide to do so. Upgrading any other way than an in place upgrade will not make the machine for a free windows licence for Windows10.

Thank you,


On 12/18/19, Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:
From what I've read, upgrading often works well and you don't have to
reinstall programs after an upgrade. If an upgrade doesn't work well,
there is plenty of time to do the extra work of an installation of the
operating system as an entirely new installation. And you don't have
to customize programs again.

You should back up the hard drive before doing the upgrade but I would
think that if an upgrade works well, you would save a lot of work.

----- Original Message -----

From: Steve Matzura
Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 6:42 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Is it still possible to upgrade to Windows 10
for free?

The best thing to do is perform a fresh install. Make sure you back up
your system first, and can dip into that backup to pull out data
you'll lose by following the procedure below.

Also, before beginning the actual install, be sure you have all the
software registration information for any third-party products you may
own and use. Keyfinder, the tool from Magical Jellybean, can help in
this regard. Trouble is, I just tried to go there and get the URL to
paste in here to download Keyfinder, and apparently their site has
been compromised in some way because I can't get pqast the
Malwarebytes warning screens. There may be other such tools.

Here's a short how-to to install Windows 10 from scratch. I didn't
write it.

Install Windows 10 from scratch
Tip: Before you run this operation, make sure to backup the existing
Windows installation so that you can restore it should things go wrong.

1. You need a Windows 10 DVD or ISO image. Make sure you pick the
right architecture and version.E.G. if you have windows 7 pro
installed, you need the ISO or DVD of windows 10 pro. Tip:you can
obtain the ISO or creat bootable media by using the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft.
Googleing that should get you the file.

2. Burn the ISO, mount it or extract it.
3. Navigate to the folder inside the ISO:

\Windows Disk\sources

And copy the file:


And paste it to the desktop. The file is located on the installation
media you created. This is why you have to extract all files from the
ISO using a utility such as 7ZIP.
4. Run the file:


with administrators rights. It creates a file called:


On the desktop. This file is needed so copy it to a USB drive or other
5 Run a clean install of Windows 10 afterwards on the system. Make
sure you skip the product key.
6. Once you are done and in Windows 10, copy the file:


To the following location:


7. The folder may be hidden by default. If you cannot see it, select
File > Options > View > Show hidden files, folders and drives in File
8. Reboot your PC.
The next time you boot into Windows 10 it should be fully activated.
You can verify that easily with a tap on Windows-Pause. This opens the
System Control panel and the system's activation status at the bottom
of the page.

On 12/17/2019 11:40 AM, Peter Spitz wrote:
Could someone please give me instructions on how to do the upgrade?
I couldn't find anything on Microsoft's website.

Thank you!

On 12/17/19, Joseph Lee <joseph.lee22590@...> wrote:
Yes - free (at least for now). A few weeks ago we had a discussion
on a Windows 10 forum and the answer is that it is possible to
upgrade for free (at this time).

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