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Today (Tuesday, 14th January 2020) is the day that Microsoft is finally unplugging the life support and killing off Windows 7. A welcome breath of fresh air in its time, fixing the problems of the Vista era and continuing the seemingly coincidental cycle of “crap version, great version, crap version” when it came to Windows releases in the pre-Windows 10 era, it served both personal and business users well – not even blinking when Windows 8 came along and tried (unsuccessfully) to steal the crown.

However, times have changed and 10 years is a very long time in the world of technology – don’t forget, Windows 7 was released to general availability on October 22, 2009! The world is different now, computers are different and people are interacting with technology in different ways. Glossing over the failure of Windows 8, and skipping the never-existent Windows 9 altogether, Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015 and (despite the odd wobble here and there) was immediately regarded as a good, stable and trustworthy update. Plus, it was FREE to upgrade to from both Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 so there was really no excuse to stay on the ever-more out-dated Windows 7.

The more cautious who (understandably) didn’t want to upgrade to the brand new system straight away still had a year to do so, and could wait until July 2016… so there was really no excuse. However, for a variety of reasons many people still chose to stick with Windows 7 – which is fine, it’s your computer after all, and your choice. But since you’re here reading this article I’m guessing you didn’t upgrade back then and you now want to protect yourself and your computer, but you don’t really like the idea of shelling out the cash for an upgrade… well, you’re in luck!

Should you upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10?

Short answer: yes. Long answer: STILL YES!

If you don’t upgrade, you’ll no longer get fixes and critical security updates from Microsoft, because you’re using old, obsolete software. You’ll be at serious risk of viruses, malware, cyber attacks and ransomware. This isn’t me being alarmist or overstating the problem – it’s the equivalent of driving down the motorway in a car with bare tyres, whilst not wearing a seatbelt and having drunk 3 pints of Stella – you might be OK for a bit, but it’s a seriously bad idea and sooner or later you’re going to come a cropper.

How do you get Windows 10 for free?

You can upgrade to Windows 10 for free by using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

Luckily, it seems that the free upgrade offer never really went away, Microsoft just stopped telling people about it. This is because their business model has shifted radically in recent years, so they no longer focus soley on selling Windows licenses to make their money – Windows itself isn’t the cash cow it once was, rather it’s the supplementary and add-on services where they make their money. And to do that, they need market share – which means if you want Windows 10 for free… you can kinda just have it!

This process is very safe and should leave all your programs installed as well as all your data (such as Documents, Photos and music) intact. However, it’s always wise to back everything up just in case!

How to upgrade to Windows 10 for free:

  1. Head over to the Windows 10 download website
  2. You’ll see a heading “Create Windows 10 installation media” with a button “Download tool now” underneath it – click that button.
  3. This will download a tool called “MediaCreationTool1909.exe” (or simliar) to your computer – click to open and run the tool.
  4. Allow the tool a few minutes to “get things ready” and then once you’ve agreed to the EULA, you’ll see the option (above) to Upgrade This PC Now. Make sure that’s selected, and click Next.
  5. Follow the rest of the prompts as they appear on the tool

That’s it! Once you’re done and the upgrade to Windows 10 is complete, if you open up your computer’s Settings (click Start, then the cog icon) and go to Update & Security, then click the Activation panel down the side, you should see that your installation of Windows 10 is activated and good to go:

Windows 10 activates itself… for free!

The version of Windows 10 that you’re upgraded to will depend on where you’ve come from; if you had a Home license for Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you’ll be on Windows 10 Home, whereas (I think you can see what’s coming next…) if you had a Pro license, you’ve guessed it… you’ll get Windows 10 Pro.

How to Completely Wipe your Windows 10 Computer so it’s like new

If you want to sell your computer now that it’s all up-to-date with Windows 10, or if you just fancy making it run like it’s brand new again, then check out this video showing you how to do just that. It will help you securely erase your hard drive, ensuring that your personal data is safe from hackers or whoever you sell your computer to. Or, if you just want to make your computer feel ultra brand new – you can just miss out the steps about erasing securely (as shown in the video).

If you liked that video and you’d like to see more like it, please subscribe on YouTube!

Paul Freeman-Powell

Paul (@paulfp) is the main presenter of the award-winning Switched On Network YouTube Channel, which covers a variety of interesting topics usually relating to his love of technology and all things geeky. He also founded and runs Innobella Media, where he leads in all aspects of video production, video editing, sound & lighting. A father of 3 children including twins, his hobbies used to include photography, playing the drums and cycling. With a degree in Modern European Languages, Paul speaks French, Spanish and a little bit of Italian, and holds dual British & Irish citizenship.

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