An upgrade moves your PC from a previous version of Windows—such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1—to Windows 10. An upgrade can take place on your existing device, though Microsoft recommends using Windows 10 on a new PC to take advantage of the latest features and security improvements. This FAQ is intended to answer questions about upgrading to Windows 10.
An update ensures you have the most recent features and security improvements for your current version of Windows. If you want to update your device and need more info, see Windows Update: FAQ.
If you're looking for info on upgrading to Windows 11, see Upgrade to Windows 11: FAQ.
If you’re looking for info on a specific error code or having problems with product keys, see Get help with Windows activation errors. There, you can press CTRL+F and type or paste the error code or "product key" into the search box to find specific information about your code and how to resolve it.
If you need info on installation errors, see Get help with Windows upgrade and installation errors.
For some answers to questions you might have about the upgrade to Windows 10, select any heading below. It'll open to show more info.
For most Windows 7 users, moving directly to a new device with Windows 11 is the recommended path forward. Today's computers are faster and more powerful and come with Windows 11 already installed. To find the best PC for you, browse for compatible Windows 11 PCs.
To learn more about Windows 11, see Getting ready for the Windows 11 upgrade. Also see Find Windows 11 specs, features, and computer requirements to learn more.
The Windows 10 free upgrade through the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app ended on July 29, 2016.
All upgrades must have completed and reached the "Welcome" screen by 11:59 PM UTC-10 (Hawaii) on July 29, 2016; this is one worldwide point in time.
Yes, the media creation tool and Windows 10 installation media (ISO files) are available for customers to install Windows 10. If you’re installing Windows 10 for the first time, you’ll need to enter a valid Windows 10 product key or buy a full version of Windows 10 during setup for this tool to work. If you’ve previously installed Windows 10 on your device, you should have a digital license and Windows 10 will automatically activate without entering a product key.
After you upgrade to Windows 10, you can reinstall or do a clean installation on the same device. You won't need a product key to reactivate Windows 10 on the same hardware. For more info on how to create your own Windows 10 installation media, see the Microsoft software download website.
We're committed to making sure customers using assistive technologies can upgrade to Windows 10.
For more help on choosing a Windows 10 PC that's right for you, see Get Windows 10 or choose a new Windows 10 PC.
If you're still in the process of upgrading to Windows 10, select any heading below. It'll open to show more details.
The time that is required to upgrade to Windows 10 depends on factors such as the age of your device and how it’s configured. Most devices will take about an hour to upgrade as soon as the download is completed. Although older devices could take longer, some newer, high-performance devices might upgrade faster.
Devices with a 32 GB hard drive or older devices with full hard drives might need additional storage space to complete the upgrade. If you don’t have sufficient space, try removing files or apps you no longer need or use Disk Cleanup to free up space. Learn more at Tips to free up drive space on your PC.
During the upgrade, you might be asked to free up space on your device or attach an external drive with sufficient space to continue with the upgrade. If you attach an external drive, make sure to keep it in a safe place after the upgrade in case you need it for recovery options.
Some apps have to be uninstalled because they could cause problems with the upgrade process. You'll be able to reinstall these apps after the upgrade to Windows 10 is done.
Other apps have to be uninstalled because they won't work correctly or might not work at all with Windows 10.
You won't be able to reinstall or use these apps after the upgrade is completed.
For the best possible experience, we recommend doing a fresh installation of your applications on your new Windows 10 PC. The Microsoft Store has a variety of 3rd party applications that can be easily downloaded and installed.
Open Microsoft Store
For any software not currently available in the Microsoft Store, we recommend going to that company’s official website and downloading the Windows 10 version from there. In limited circumstances, some older software may not have an updated version that is compatible with Windows 10.
The easiest way to change your language is to upgrade using the same language you currently have on your PC and then add a new language later.
To add new languages in Windows 10, select Start > Settings > Time & Language > Language and then choose the language you want.
No, Windows Media Center isn’t available as part of Windows 10 and will be removed during the upgrade. After the upgrade is completed you won't be able to install Windows Media Center.
There are several ways for you to go back from Windows 10 to a previous version of Windows:
You'll be able to go back to an earlier version by selecting Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery . Then select Get started under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10.
Go back to the previous version of Windows 10
This will keep your personal files, but it’ll remove apps and drivers installed after the upgrade as well as any changes you made to settings. The option to go back to your previous version of Windows 10 is only available for a limited time following the upgrade.
If your PC manufacturer provided the option, you might be able to restore your device to factory settings.
If options to go back and restore factory settings aren’t available, you can use installation media and a product key to install an earlier version of Windows.
For more info and requirements, see the Go back to your previous version of Windows section of Recovery options in Windows.
Note: If the manufacturer set up your PC to run from a compressed Windows image file (also known as Windows image file boot or WIMBoot) and included the option to restore factory settings, that option will no longer be available after you upgrade to Windows 10.