Medium-to-high effort: Try a Windows 7 or 8 key Microsoft Price: When Microsoft first launched Windows 10 back in , it offered Windows 7 and Windows 8 users a truly free, no-strings upgrade to the new operating system. The promotion was only available for just one year—presumably to accelerate push up Windows 10 adoption rates—and expired in July But even though Microsoft officially ended this program three years ago, it still has yet completely shut everything down. The activation servers have been allowing Windows 7 and 8 keys on some Windows 10 installs.
The best free software for your PC ] The Windows 7 or Windows 8 product keys that commonly work for this method are the retail and OEM varieties, while only sporadic reports exist for volume license keys i. Microsoft If using a Windows 7 or 8 key works for activation, a digital license will be issued to you.
You can read our step-by-step guide for how to use that particular program here. Easiest discount: Purchasing an OEM license. License types are different than operating system versions: They dictate what you can do with the software, while OS versions are distinguished by the features available. Multiple Windows license types exist, but the two commonly available to a home user are the retail and OEM varieties.
If you visit an online retailer like Amazon Remove non-product link or Newegg , you can find both retail and OEM licenses for sale. All the features of the operating system version are the same for both license types.
The difference is that with a retail license, you can transfer the license key to a different PC later on. In exchange for a lower price, you get to use the license key on only one PC, period.
Microsoft has historically been kind about such situations, however; you can usually call to reactivate the license after replacing a fried mobo. But it is an extra hassle. Deepest savings: The education discount Microsoft Price: As mentioned above, license types determine what you can do with Windows—and who can use it, as well. Through the Academic Volume Licensing agreements, schools can purchase access to Windows 10 Education for their students, faculty, and staff.
Some make it available only on campus machines. Others will grant a license for use on a home machine. The catch: You have to sign up for at least one course to qualify for campus discounts. Other states use OnTheHub , which has a tool to look up your school.
The storefront will require verification of your student status before you can "buy" Windows Typical options are usually of the physical education or dance variety swim, ballet, jazz, boot camp workouts, etc. In those cases, your main options are the OEM license outlined above or buying through Kinguin detailed below. If you use this method, also keep an eye out for other software deals through your school. Low prices with a caveat: Kinguin Kinguin Price: Kinguin is a website that allows buyers to purchase product keys from third-party sellers—think of it like an eBay or Amazon Marketplace for digital software sales.
Opponents of Kinguin swear the keys will eventually lose their activation status because of their unknown origins. Kinguin Like on Amazon Marketplace, you pick a specific seller from which to buy the product in this case, the Windows 10 license key.
So as mentioned above, if these keys are already somehow tied to an original but unactivated PC, things could go sideways during your own activation process. On top of that, if the hardware used to identify your system i. Each camp makes valid arguments, so ultimately, your comfort level with risk and gray market goods should determine whether this is the option for you. If you opt for this path, we recommend ignoring Windows 10 Home.
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Updated November 09, Once you've decided you need to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro , you have two methods to do so. One is to do a fresh install of Pro, while the other is to install Pro on top of Windows 10 Home. We'll focus on this second method here because your computer likely came installed with Home.
If you don't know which version of Windows you have , you can find it easily whether you're using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, or XP. However, if you installed Home manually, for example on a PC you built yourself, you have the option to move the Home license elsewhere and install the Pro version in its place.
Our FAQ on product keys will tell you everything you need to know about moving Windows licenses between machines. Upgrade Windows 10 Home to Pro via the Windows Store If you haven't paid anything for the upgrade yet, and no one has handed you a copy of Pro, the most straightforward way to upgrade is using the Windows Store. In order to upgrade, take the following steps: First, make sure your PC doesn't have any pending updates.
Next, select the Start Menu, then select Settings. Select Activation on the left-hand menu. Select Go to the Store. This will lead you to the Windows Store where you can purchase the upgrade by selecting the Buy button. Log in with your Microsoft account, then enter your payment method. Windows will upgrade in no time flat.
You'll need it to replace your current license key. To do so: If you've received a full copy of Windows Pro instead of an upgrade copy, you should be able to move that Home license to a new machine. You can do this if you installed Home yourself, but not to a copy of Home that came pre-installed on your PC.
When you buy a new PC, you typically get a cheaper copy of Windows than if you bought it at retail, but it's bound to that particular PC.
Make sure you're up to date on any Windows Updates. Under Activation, select Change product key. The Product Key window will open. Select Next. If your key is correct, the upgrade will start, and you'll soon get a message that Windows has been upgraded. How to Transfer Your Windows 10 Pro Upgrade Since you had a full operating system before this upgrade, you can remove it from its current machine and use it on another.
You're effectively reinstalling your original license, which will make the upgrade available again. If you need to do this: There might be a sticker there showing your original Windows product key; alternatively, it might be in the manuals and other material that came in your PC's box. Enter the key in the Change product key dialog as noted above, and you'll effectively "downgrade" to your old Home license.
Your upgrade license should now be freed up to be installed on another machine. Try to do this while you're online, so Microsoft can register that you removed the Pro upgrade. Continue Reading.