How to migrate to Windows 10 an old PC
During the holidays, I did a year-end clean-up, including recycling a small Intel PC that was previously running full time in the living room, running Windows Media Center on Windows 7 Ultimate. After finally unplugging Media Center last year, I put this little device on a shelf.
The utility GWX had never been installed on this PC, which had not received any more offer of update Windows via Windows Update.
As part of this digital household, I decided to migrate to Windows 10 from Seven. I expected that once the upgrade was complete, the system would fail in the activation phase and claim a product key.
Imagine my surprise when, instead, the next screen is displayed.
I confirmed the same sequence on two separate virtual machines, both created from scratch with fully enabled installations of respectively Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If you have a PC running a “genuine” copy of Windows 7/8 / 8.1 (properly authorized and enabled), you can follow the same steps as me to get Windows 10.
To get started, go to the Windows 10 Download web page and click the tool download button. Once the download is complete, launch Media Creation Tool.
If you have downloaded Media Creation Tool on the machine you are planning to update, and you are considering an update only on that PC alone, then you can choose the “Update this PC now” option.
If you want to run the utility on different PCs, or if you want more flexibility, choose the second option and save the installation files to USB or as an ISO file.
Once the download is complete, mount the ISO file or open the flash media in Windows Explorer and run the settings.
Then follow the instructions on the screen to complete the update. You will not be asked for a product key, and when the upgrade is finalized, you will have a digital license of Windows 10, which you can confirm in Settings> Update & security> Activation.
The electronic license is linked to the terminal, which means that you can at any time format the disk and perform a complete new installation of the same edition of Windows 10. You will not be asked for a product key, and the activation is automatic. .
Is your license valid?
And now the big question: does this upgrade allow you to qualify for a valid license?
The offer “free upgrade” was always accompanied by a language that was, to say it politely, a little twisted. And the statements regarding the end of this offer are also vague. See for example the answers that I highlighted here on Microsoft Windows 10 Upgrade FAQ :
It’s a very strange language. The free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 application ended on July 29, 2016. Similarly, the product key discussion indicates that a key will be needed for this tool to work (which is not true), but not a word on the other hand on the license.
And unlike the sneaky “Genuine Windows” label of old updates, the Windows 10 activation screens specifically confirm the existence of an “electronic license”.
Be that as it may, the free upgrade offer has been extended indefinitely, at least for people who use assistive technologies. The FAQ on a separate page even calls it a “free upgrade offer extension” and makes it clear that it is not limited to specific assistive technologies.
Personally, I am a regular user of an assistive technology, Magnifier, integrated with Windows, which can be triggered by pressing the Windows key + plus sign. This makes me eligible for a free upgrade on any device I use. Click the Upgrade Now button on this page to launch an upgrade wizard that is functionally identical to the one used by the old GWX application.
This is, I think, a strong encouragement, designed to easily allow anyone to upgrade to Windows 10 while appeasing OEM partners who were not too happy that the focus be put on updates rather than new PC sales.
Of course, I am not a lawyer, and this article is not a legal opinion. But I will say that I am personally confident in activating my newly updated PC.