Windows 10 started to roll out on Wednesday of this week, and people with a valid copy of Windows 7 SP1 and/or Windows 8.1 should be seeing a message to upgrade. Here’s our guide on how to upgrade your computer running Windows 7 to Windows 10.
If you don’t see the upgrade message at the time of this writing, be patient. It is going out to Windows Insiders and users who reserved their copy first. After that Microsoft is rolling it out in waves.
Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10
If you see the following message, just click on it to start the upgrade. If you don’t see this message and know that you have the upgrade files, launch Windows Update.
There you should see that Windows 10 is ready, click on Get Started.
Of course, since this is Windows, you will need to accept the software license terms.
Next click Start the upgrade now and get started, or you can schedule it for later.
If you want to schedule it for later, in my experience, it doesn’t give you but the latest three days to schedule. But you can select the time, and you might want to have it upgrade while you’re sleeping or away.
Windows will download the appropriate files and start getting things ready to roll. It’s very important to keep your computer plugged in, and just let it do its thing. This is an in-place upgrade and your computer will restart several times.
When you see the following screen, you might not see much progress. Just be patient as there is a lot of upgrading going on (especially in the first few days) and it can take a while. In fact, you might want to do the upgrade over the weekend.
After it completes you’ll get a Welcome Back screen that includes your PC’s name. Then you can click through the on-screen setup wizard. It’s straightforward and intuitive.
You will need to sign in with your Windows Account username and password. Create a four-digit Pin if you want to use one — it makes logging in much easier.
Unless you’re particular about how you want your Windows settings, just go with Express Settings during setup (versus custom settings which only take a few extra minutes to use). It allows you to get up and running a lot faster, and if you want to make any adjustments, you can do that later.
Do keep in mind that choosing Express Settings will enable everything, including features you might not want to be enabled like Windows Update Delivery Optimization. That setting sends updates and apps from your PC to other PCs on your local network or PCs on the Internet.
What is Missing?
All of your desktop files and programs will come with you (there may be rare cases where older software doesn’t work). Also, keep in mind that a few built-in Windows programs will be deleted. Those items include:
Windows Media Center. If you want to keep it, then don’t upgrade. Or you can switch to a different media center platform like PLEX or Kodi (formerly XBMC) which we took a look at in our article on how to jailbreak your Apple TV.
Desktop Gadgets. Available in Vista and Windows 7, Windows 10 will not support Desktop Gadgets. However, I am sure a third-party utility will fill the void if you can’t live without them.
DVD Playback. Microsoft says “Watching DVDs requires separate playback software”. The DVD playback isn’t supported in Windows 8.1 either, but you can take a look at our list of third-party utilities you can install that support DVD and Blu-ray playback.
Floppy Drive Support. Believe it or not, some people still use floppy drives, but they will not work natively with Windows 10. You will either need to download the latest driver from Windows Update or from the manufacturer’s site.
Preinstalled Games. Games that are preinstalled on Windows 7 like Solitaire, Minesweeper, or Hearts will be removed when you upgrade. They will, however, be replaced with new versions like the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper.
Windows Updates. The interesting thing here is you could control how updates were installed in previous versions of Windows. But Windows 10 Home will install updates automatically, and only Pro and Enterprise versions allow you to defer when updates are installed. But you can always use the Show or Hide Updates tool from Microsoft to stop certain updates.
Windows Live Essentials. The tools won’t be removed specifically. But the OneDrive app that came with Windows Essentials will be removed and replaced with the new universal OneDrive app.
In the End
Overall the upgrade process is easier and more intuitive than any previous version of Windows. Once it’s installed, enjoy your new version of Windows 10 and all the new features.
If you’re running Windows 8.1 and looking to upgrade, check out our step-by-step guide: How to Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.