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Guide: Windows 10 Free: How to get windows 10 for free
Microsoft may no longer offer Windows 10 for free, and they may have cleared many of the loopholes in getting it for free, so you might be wondering how to upgrade to Windows 10 now without breaking your wallet. withdraw and pay for an expensive license.
Well, here’s the good news: there are still plenty of ways to upgrade to Windows 10 without paying cash, and without piracy, too. You can even install Windows 10 without a license, you will only be dealing with a small watermark in the bottom right corner of the screen.
Follow along and we’ll show you how to get the free Windows 10 upgrade.
Use Windows 10 without a product key
Yes, you read that right. You can use Windows 10 without a product key! Microsoft allows you to download installation media for Windows 10 without a product key – you can download it for a PC, Mac (in Boot Camp), or in a virtual machine.
So what’s the difference between that and Windows 10 with a digital license? The difference is that you have a watermark on your screen and you cannot download better versions like Windows 10 Pro for free. You are limited to the standard Windows 10 software that does it this way.
To download Windows 10 without a product key, you need to download Windows 10 first. To do this, you just need to download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to your PC. Once installed, double-click the utility and follow the instructions. When you get to the What do you want to do? screen, make sure you have it Create installation media for another PC option.
Then, after a few more prompts, you have to choose whether to create an ISO or a bootable USB drive. If you’re creating a bootable USB drive, it should be larger than 3 GB or at least have space to spare. If you create the USB drive, you can boot from it and install Windows 10 without a product key. If you go the ISO route, you can burn it to a DVD and install Windows 10 that way.
Again, you’ll just be dealing with a watermark at the bottom of the screen, but you should be able to use all of Windows 10 Home’s features without any problems! You may also occasionally get activation alerts, but you can easily ignore them.back to menu ↑
Through your school
If you’re a student of a faculty member of a Community College, College, or University, you should be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for nothing – of course, you’ve already paid for it in a roundabout way, but through those hefty tuition and textbook prices!
Still, you can easily download it to your computer by going to your school’s Information Technology (IT) Marketplace, clicking the Microsoft section, and purchasing Windows 10. You must “buy” it, but the price should show $ 0 at the time you reach the checkout end.
The nice thing about this is that you actually get a product key to use with your digital copy of Windows 10, depending on the school you attend. Then just follow the instructions how to download it and upgrade your current version of Windows to your newly ‘purchased’ version of Windows 10. Depending on the school you are attending, this could be a normal version of Windows 10 Home, or it could be a Windows 10 Education version, in which case it’s still Windows 10 Home, but you will see a Windows 10 Education watermark at the bottom right of your screen.back to menu ↑
What if I have already upgraded?
Of course, if you’ve already upgraded to Windows 10 during the time Microsoft was offering the free upgrade to everyone, don’t worry too much. But what if you need to replace a hard drive or SSD and start over? Are you losing your copy of Windows 10?
The answer is yes and no. You’ll need to download the Windows 10 installation media we mentioned earlier, but choose the option to Upgrade this PC. It will think you are downloading a new version of Windows 10, but once installed it should activate automatically (for free) as soon as it connects to Microsoft’s servers. This is because when you accepted the Windows 10 free upgrade offer and installed it on your computer, you obtained a digital license for Windows 10. A digital license is an activation method that does not require a product key – once you log in with your Microsoft credentials, the license should be automatically detected and reactivated, as the digital license is associated with your Microsoft account.
But what if it doesn’t do this automatically? The good news is that it is easy to force:
- Press the Windows + I key simultaneously to open the Settings app. Or click on Get started and press the gear icon.
- Then click Update and security and then go down to it Activation submenu.
- click on Add one Account. Keep in mind that you need administrator rights for this.
- Now enter the credentials for your Microsoft account and click Sign Up. If you’re using a local account, you must enter your local account password in addition to your Microsoft account information. After you log in, the digital license should be automatically applied to your operating system.
In some cases, such as with a hardware change, you may need to “fix” the problem. It may sound like a daunting task, but it is actually very simple:
- Click on the Get started menu and select the gear icon to open Settings. Or use the Windows key + I shortcut on your keyboard.
- Go inside Update and security, and then to the Activation submenu.
- Instead of the Add an account option this time, click on the Solve problems link. Again, you must have administrator rights to proceed.
- Then select the link that says I recently changed hardware on this device on the dollup.
- Enter your Microsoft account credentials and the local account password if you are using a local account.
- Now a menu will appear with all the devices associated with your account. Select the PC you want to reactivate and make sure the box says so This is the device I am using now has been checked. Finally, click Activate.
Ta da! You have successfully upgraded or reactivated your license with new hardware.back to menu ↑
Use an old Windows license
The last way we know for sure works is to use an old Windows product key such as Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. You need to download the Windows 10 installation media to your PC, choose whether to upgrade that PC or another PC, and instead of skipping the product key section, just run one of your Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product in keys.
Windows then sends that key to Microsoft’s servers to confirm the key’s authenticity, and if it returns as authentic, the installation of Windows 10 continues. Keep in mind that that product key isn’t all of a sudden transferred to a Windows 10 product key – instead, you’ll just see a new Windows 10 digital license (and in an entirely different set of numbers and characters) attached to your account. You can now reactivate Windows 10 as often as you want.back to menu ↑
Just buy a PC with Windows 10 already installed
The latter, and final method, is to just go out and choose up a pc or laptop with Windows 10 already installed on it – you can avoid all this madness and try to get around the rules this way. It’s certainly not a “free” way, but you’ll likely have a newer PC this way that is hopefully faster and more portable than before. And of course you get a digital Windows 10 license there too, so you can reactivate Windows 10 with that device as often as you want.back to menu ↑
As you can see, there are a lot more ways you can upgrade to Windows 10, and for free too. You may or may not have to deal with annoying watermarks, but it’s totally worth it if you’re tired of the hassle with old versions of Windows.back to menu ↑
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