Windows 10 upgrade from Windows 7

Windows 10 upgrade will carry out Windows 10 upgrades from Windows 7 or Windows 8. If you have Windows XP or earlier, there is no free upgrade path unless the machine has a Windows 7 license sticker on the side. In most cases, machines running Windows XP are so old they won’t have a suitable performance for Windows 10, and the hardware won’t support many modern features.

Windows 7 became “end of life” on 14th January 2020. Windows 7 generally became available on 22nd October 2009. Like all its predecessors, is was buggy and had many problems. Over its life, it has become stable and reliable, and everyone is used to it. Unfortunately, once an operating system becomes stable and reliable, Microsoft retires it and replaces it with something buggy and unreliable, and the cycle starts again.

Microsoft Windows 10 has generally been available since July 29th, 2015. Microsoft initially claimed it would never replace Windows 10 and would continue to evolve with ongoing updates. Forever is very long, and Microsoft released Windows 11 on 5th October 2021. Older machines will not be upgradable to Windows 11. To check if a computer is compatible with Windows 11, check the Microsoft Windows 11 Compatibility page.

Windows 10 End of Life

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be “end of life” on 14 October 2025. Older machines running Windows 10 won’t be upgradable to Windows 11 because the hardware is not compatible. This will mean vast numbers of computers will be scrapped, which is an environmental disaster. This “mass extinction event” will leave users with for main options.

  • Put up with a machine that repeatedly complains it’s out of support and becomes increasingly difficult to support. This option invalidates Cyber Essentials certification.
  • Buy a new machine that supports Windows 11.
  • Rebuild the machine with Linux. It will not complain about being out of support, but it will not run Windows applications. It is free and will work with most browser-based applications.
  • Rebuild the machine with Chrom OS. This will only work with web-based applications but it runs well on older machines and is free.

Microsoft updates

Microsoft has changed the way updates are implemented. With previous versions of Windows, there was a major release like Windows XP or Windows 7. Many updates were released to fix bugs and add new features, and occasional Service packs were released that bundled all previous fixes into a single package. Previously users had control over when to install updates.

With Windows 10, Microsoft took control of updates away from users and network administrators, which meant updates often happened inconveniently. Some updates are large, so it takes a long time, and the machine is unavailable. Later versions of Windows 10 resolved some of those issues.

What does end of life mean?

Once an operating system is “end of life”, the manufacturer stops fixing bugs and security vulnerabilities. Other equipment like printers, webcams, and USB devices stop producing drivers for that operating system. The software will also stop receiving updates. The result is computers becoming increasingly more vulnerable to cyber-attack, and driver and software problems will make machines increasingly challenging to support. Having software that is out of support will invalidate Cyber Essentials Certification.

Windows 10 licenses

Inplace upgrade

Upgrading Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 does not require a new license. It does, however, need someone to carry out the upgrade. The upgrade takes some time and depends on the hardware and your Internet connection speed, but on average is about two hours. Incompatible software will be removed.

Most people want an in-place upgrade that upgrades the current system and retains software, data, and settings. After upgrading to Windows 10, some applications might need updates. Once the machine runs Windows 10, removing old drivers and utilities will reduce performance issues. Removing old recovery partitions will add some usable disk space.

Fresh install

Alternatively, the machine can have a new installation equivalent to a new computer. A fresh install will install quicker than an in-place upgrade and take up less space. A clean install will require all software to be reinstalled but will result in a better system. When reinstalling a machine to factory settings, it makes sense to replace the hard drive with a solid-state drive, especially in a laptop. Data can be restored from the old drive rather than from backups.

Hardware upgrade

Over the past few years, most new business machines have come as standard with 4GB of RAM, which for most users was enough. Today most users running Windows 10 will benefit from upgrading to 6GB or, ideally, 8GB. Most machines will cost about £25 for an additional 4GB.

You might consider upgrading your hard disk to a solid-state drive for a more significant performance boost.

Testing and ongoing support

Once the upgrade is complete, testing will find any problems, typically driver problems. Drivers are free from manufacturers, so we strongly recommend you not use one of the many online “driver update” services. These are designed to make the company money at the expense of the home computer user. For more information, read “What not to do” on our Speeding up your computer page.

Some Windows 7 features have been removed from Windows 10. These will need some reconfiguration. will resolve these issues with our remote support service.