Here is what Microsoft says about how to upgrade Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack 1 and subsequent updates must be installed) and Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free (no other versions of Windows qualify, not even Windows 8.0, which has to be updated to Windows 8.1):
“You can do one of two things: 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.”
An app called “Get Windows 10” checks your system for compatibility and reserves a download, which can be cancelled. It installs an icon in the Notification Area (System Tray). – “Click “Customize” in the System Tray and turn off the Get Windows 10 app notifications in the menu that comes up.”
Here is what Microsoft’s Windows 10 Q&A says:
“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.”
The versions of Win10 are the same as Win8.0/8.1 – a standard home version just called Windows 10, a version called Pro and a version called Enterprise for business enterprises. All of those versions have 32-bit and 64-bit versions. A 32-bit version can only use 3.2GB of RAM memory, which is fairly low now, but a 64-bit version can use as much memory as you can install on the computer’s motherboard. You cannot use a 64-bit version of Win10 to upgrade a 32-bit version of Win7/8.1. If you want the 64-bit version of Win10 you have to upgrade a 64-bit version of Windows 7/8.1.
To upgrade Windows XP to Win10 requires buying a copy of the full version (not the Upgrade version) and then clean-installing it on the computer, preferably on its own hard disk or SSD drive, not on a partition on a hard disk or SSD that contains other versions of Windows or other operating systems.
Windows 10 is available as a free upgrade for those qualifying versions of Windows for a whole year after its July 29 release – up to 28 July 2016. After that it will be charged for and will no doubt cost about as much as Windows 8.1 does now – on Amazon the standard home version is selling for £82 and the Pro version for£148. Note that the Windows 8.1 Pro Pack only upgrades the standard home version to the Pro version. If there is a Windows 10 Pro Pack it will do likewise. After a successfully upgrade, all users qualify for free security updates and fixes for the life of their version Windows 10. There is speculation that version 10 will be the last version of Windows and that upgrades will subsequently merely be called 10.11, 10.2, 10.21, etc.
Of course, you will be able to buy new desktop, laptop and tablet PCs that have Windows 10 preinstalled, but if you are upgrading a PC it’s advisable to wait about two to three months so that all of the bugs in the upgrade process and in Windows 10 itself are fixed.
Windows Update is changing but the changes have not yet been released. It is likely to be as user-friendly as possible and will possibly be automatically applied at any time instead of on Patch Tuesday – the first Tuesday of a month.
Here is an interesting Q&A found on the page linked to below:
Can I reinstall Windows 10 on my computer after upgrading?
“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.”
Upgrade to Windows 10 for free –
Windows 10 Q&A –