Windows 10 FAQ

Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as free upgrade for qualified Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 devices. It will be available starting July 29, 2015; people can reserve their free upgrade today.

You only have until July 29, 2016 to take advantage of this offer. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

Yes, it’s free. This is a full version of Windows, not a trial or introductory version. It is available for a limited time: you have one year from the time Windows 10 is available to take advantage of this offer.

You can do one of two things1:

a) Buy a new Windows 8.1 device and upgrade it to Windows 10 for free, or

b) Reserve a free upgrade for your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 PC

Not every device will run every feature of Windows 10. Be sure to check with your manufacturer before purchasing. Additional details on upgrade qualifications are below.

When you reserve, you can confirm your device is compatible with Windows 10. Between reservation and when your upgrade is ready, the files you need for the upgrade will be downloaded to your PC to make the final installation go more quickly. Then, when your upgrade is ready after July 29, 2015, you get a notification that lets you get started with your upgrade.

The only requirements are that a) your device is compatible, and b) you’re running genuine Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows 8.1 (Update).

Windows 10 is designed to run on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs. That means your device is likely compatible and will run Windows 10.1

See the full specifications here.

Yes, new qualified PCs can run Windows 10. Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the Windows 8.1 laptop, tablet or desktop PCs that are for sale now. Device manufacturers make decisions about their device models and some Windows 10 features may not be available on certain devices, so be sure to check with the retailer or manufacturer for details.

Plan for about an hour for the installation. Newer devices may only take 20 minutes, and older devices may take more than an hour.

You’ll need to download the installation files before you begin. If you reserve, we’ll take care of downloading those files for you and let you know when you are ready to get started.

Just open the Get Windows 10 app (description below) and click reserve.

  • Click on the small Windows icon located at the lower right side of the taskbar.
  • Click ‘Reserve your free upgrade’ when prompted.

There’s no obligation and you can cancel your reservation at any time. After you reserve, we will download Windows 10 to your device when it’s available. Then we will notify you when your device is ready to install the upgrade.

Get Windows 10 is an app that’s designed to make the upgrade process easy. It checks to make sure your device is compatible, and it reserves your free upgrade; it also has information to help you learn about the features in Windows 10.

For devices running Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update with Windows Update enabled, the app shows up automatically as a Windows icon in your system tray at the bottom right-hand side of your screen.

Just click reserve in the Get Windows 10 app and then enter your email address at the confirmation screen.

You can also check your reservation status here:

  • Right click on the Get Windows 10 app or Windows icon located at the right end of the taskbar.
  • Select “Check your upgrade status”

Yes, you can cancel your reservation at any time prior to installing Windows 10. Here’s how:

  • Right click on the Get Windows 10 app or Windows icon located in right end of the taskbar.
  • Select “Check your upgrade status”
  • Click the menu in the upper left corner, then select “View Confirmation.”
  • In the lower left, select “Cancel reservation.”

Yes. The easiest way to get the free upgrade is to reserve, but you can upgrade even if you don’t reserve.

Once Windows 10 is available, we’ll begin notifying devices that their free upgrade is available. Just open the Get Windows 10 app to schedule your upgrade. Note: Some notifications will go out as soon as Windows 10 is available; others may go out in the weeks or months following.

Yes, you can get a free upgrade for each of your eligible Windows devices. All you need to do is make a separate reservation for each device you want to upgrade.

If you don’t see the Get Windows 10 app on your PC, it might be because:

  1. Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
  2. Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically.
  3. You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
  4. Your device is not running genuine Windows.

Running Windows Update and installing any available updates will fix the first three issues. Need more help? Go to our Windows Community Forum.

PCs that we determine cannot run Windows 10 will not see the Get Windows 10 app before July 29, 2015. After July 29, 2015, we’ll enable the icon in the system tray. This is to help ensure that you can easily check your PC’s compatibility if you choose.

If your device is managed as part of a school or business network, please check with your IT administrator about upgrading to Windows 10.

Notifications let you know about Windows 10 availability and the free-upgrade offer.

Yes. Click “Customize” in the System Tray and turn off the Get Windows 10 app notifications in the menu that comes up.

Yes. You can reserve your upgrade at any time on any compatible PC by clicking on the Get Windows 10 app or the Windows Update control panel.

When you upgrade, you’ll stay on like-to-like editions of Windows. For example, Windows 7 Home Premium will upgrade to Windows 10 Home.

Windows 7

From Edition To Edition
Windows 7 Starter Windows 10 Home
Windows 7 Home Basic
Windows 7 Home Premium
Windows 7 Professional Windows 10 Pro
Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 8

From Edition To Edition
Windows Phone 8.1 Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 8.1 Windows 10 Home
Windows 8.1 Pro Windows 10 Pro
Windows 8.1 Pro for Students

“N” and “KN” editions follow the upgrade path of the parent edition (e.g., Windows 7 Professional N upgrades to Windows 10 Pro N).

Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.

Yes. We are working with Windows Phone 8.1 partners to make the Windows 10 upgrade available to most phones later this year.5

If you’re running Windows RT, your device won’t upgrade to Windows 10, but we will have an update for you around the time of Windows 10 release.

Enterprise customers with active Software Assurance subscription in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer.

The easiest way to get Windows 10 is to upgrade for free.1 We explain how to take advantage of this limited time offer above.

You may also purchase a copy of Windows 10 if you decide not to upgrade, or if you need to purchase a copy for other reasons like installing on a PC you built yourself.

The retail prices for Windows 10 are the same as Windows 8.1.6 Windows 10 Home is $119.99. Windows 10 Pro is $199.99. And Windows 10 Pro Pack, which enables you to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, is $99.99.7 All these are available in stores or online.

Some Windows 10 features will require advanced hardware and not all features and services are available on every device, nor in every market. For instance, Cortana is not available in all markets.

See the Specifications page (for more details).

Windows 10 is designed to be compatible with the vast majority of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices -- so your device is most likely compatible.

For details on your specific device and apps, you can use the Get Windows 10 app to do a compatibility check. Click the menu in the upper left of the app, and select “Check your PC” or “Your PC is good to go.” This displays any compatibility issues we find and recommends a resolution; while we don’t have info on every app or device in existence, it provides a comprehensive list of all known potential compatibility issues.

Some Windows 10 features will require advanced hardware and not all features and services are available on every device, nor in every market. For instance, Cortana is not available in all markets.

Windows Media Center is not part of Windows 10 and won’t be available after upgrading to Windows 10. If you use Windows Media Center, we will alert you during upgrade that Windows Media Center is not available on Windows 10. We know that some users use Windows Media Center to play DVDs, and we are providing a free DVD playback app in Windows 10 for Windows Media Center users.

Yes. Once you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer, you will be able to reinstall, including a clean install, on the same device. You won’t need to purchase Windows 10 or go back to your prior version of Windows and upgrade again.

You’ll also be able to create your own installation media like a USB drive or DVD, and use that to upgrade your device or reinstall after you’ve upgraded.

New PCs running Windows 10 will begin to arrive after Windows 10 is available on July 29th.

Your files are saved on the hard drive of your device by default. Windows 10 includes OneDrive which provides free storage space in the cloud; this is completely optional, but gives you the benefit of being able to access your personal files from anywhere.

Check to see if your question has already been answered in the Windows Community Forum, or post a new question. If you need help installing Windows 10 when it's available on July 29, 2015, Microsoft will offer phone and chat support to make sure that you get up and running smoothly.