This document explains how businesses can upgrade PCs and devices still running Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10 at no additional cost via upgrade benefits included with Windows subscriptions (including Microsoft 365 offerings) in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
Organizations with active subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, that include Windows, can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 PCs and devices to Windows 10. This is an important added benefit as it enables companies still on Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8/8.1 Pro to move to the most secure Windows ever without the need to purchase additional device upgrade licenses.
To learn more about Windows 10 subscriptions through the CSP program, see the related document called Introduction to Windows 10 subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider program .
Windows 10 is the most secure release of Windows ever, with intelligent security capabilities designed to work together to better protect customers' organizations.
By using the power of the cloud, Windows 10 helps simplify the complexity of managing today's modern IT device environment, no matter the size of the organization. In addition, Windows 10 facilitates the creativity, teamwork, and productivity both users and IT love. Major benefits of upgrading to Windows 10 include:
Many organizations still use Windows 7 in their computing environment. It is time to move from Window 7 to Windows 10, and there are many compelling reasons to do so, including:
When you upgrade now, you get ahead of the January 2020 end-of-support deadline.
To deploy a Windows subscription licensed through the CSP program, end user devices must be running Windows 10 Pro version 1607 (Anniversary Update) or later. To accommodate upgrades, most Windows and Microsoft 365 subscriptions in the CSP program include upgrade benefits for devices running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.
These upgrade benefits work as follows:
Not all versions and editions of Windows can upgrade to Windows 10, and not all subscriptions in CSP include Windows 10 upgrade benefits. The following image offers an overview of paths.
The following subscriptions include upgrade benefits to Windows 10:
The following Windows versions and editions include upgrade benefits to Windows 10:
The following Windows versions and editions cannot be upgraded to Windows 10:
Note: Consumer editions of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 (Home, Core, etc.) can upgrade to Windows 10 as part of subscriber benefits, however, the devices upgrade to Windows 10 Home, not to Windows Pro. To complete the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, the customer must purchase an upgrade for each device. This upgrade is available in the Microsoft Store .
On the device to be updated, open Settings.
Navigate to Update & Security, and then select Activation.
Select Go to Store.
From the Windows Store, purchase the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro RS1.
Windows 10 was designed to run on a variety of machine types, but there are several aspects to consider before upgrading.
These are the minimum system requirements for Windows 10:
For more information about Windows 10 system requirements, review Windows 10 specifications .
While the minimum system requirements for Windows 10 are modest, many features of Windows 10 are built for devices with hardware components and capabilities less common, or even absent, in devices from the Windows 7 era.
For more information about the device capabilities of Windows 10, review the complete list of requirements.
To take full advantage of features and capabilities of Windows 10, a new Windows 10 Pro device is recommended.
The upgrade process does not issue or require 5x5 product keys.
As part of the upgrade process, customers receive a perpetual digital entitlement to Windows 10 that is associated with the device and stored in the Windows activation servers.
Once a device successfully upgrades to Windows 10 a digital entitlement is created in the Windows activation servers for that device, which means product keys are no longer required to reinstall and activate Windows 10.
For more information, see Activation in Windows 10 .
Some situations do not allow you to perform an in-place upgrade; in these cases, you can perform a traditional wipe-and-load deployment instead. Examples of these situations include:
For more information about traditional deployment, see Windows 10 deployment scenarios.
For companies running Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Pro, the recommended path for deploying Windows 10 Pro uses the Windows installation program (Setup.exe) to perform an in-place upgrade. This automatically preserves all data, settings, applications, and drivers from the existing operating system and requires the least IT effort, because there is no need for a complex deployment infrastructure.
This description of the upgrade process assumes the organization has an active subscription to a CSP product that includes Windows upgrade benefits. For more information, see the document called Introduction to Windows 10 subscriptions in the Cloud Solution Provider program .
Before you begin, check the following for each system to be upgraded:
The in-place upgrade process is reliable and features the ability to automatically roll back to the previous operating system if any issues are encountered during deployment. You can also roll back manually by using the recovery information automatically created and stored in the Windows.old folder if you encounter issues within the first 10 days after completing the upgrade.
The in-place upgrade process is typically faster than traditional deployments because applications do not need to be reinstalled as part of the process. Admins can use the following procedure to access Windows 10 Pro upgrade options on the Microsoft Admin center. The Microsoft Admin center is the web-based portal organizations and partners use to manage user accounts and configuration settings for Microsoft 365 or Windows 10 subscription services.
On the Microsoft Admin center page, sign in to an Azure AD account with administrator privileges.
To open the Admin center, select the Admin tab.
Locate the Windows 10 Upgrade section, where you can choose from the following options:
Use the following procedure when you have a license to install Windows 10 and are upgrading the device from Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro. You must be an administrator on the device to run the upgrade tool.
On the Download Windows 10 page, select Download tool now, and then click Run.
On the License terms page, read the license terms, and then select Accept.
On the What do you want to do? page, click Upgrade this PC now, and then click Next.
The tool starts downloading Windows 10 and walks you through how to set up Windows 10 on your PC. When Windows 10 is ready to install, a recap of what you've chosen appears, including what will be kept through the upgrade.
On the Choose what to keep page, specify which files and applications to retain during the upgrade.
Save and close any open apps and files, and then click Install.
Installing Windows 10 may take some time and your PC will restart a few times. Do not turn off your PC during this process. After the process completes, the PC will be running Windows 10.
If you do not want to use the previous method for upgrading a PC to Windows 10, you can perform the upgrade using installation media.
Use the following procedure to create installation media you can use to install a new copy of Windows 10, perform a clean installation, or reinstall Windows 10.
Before downloading the media creation tool, make sure you have the following:
To create installation media using the tool:
On the Download Windows 10 page, select Download tool now, and select Run.
You must be an administrator to run this tool.
On the License terms page, accept the license terms, and then select Accept.
On the What do you want to do? page, click Create installation media for another PC, and then select Next.
Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for Windows 10, and then select Next.
Select the media you want to use, and then select Next:
USB flash drive. Attach a blank USB flash drive with at least 8 GB of space.
ISO file. Save an ISO file to your PC that you can use to create a DVD. For information about using an ISO file, see Create Windows 10 installation media.
If you choose USB flash drive, you must specify the drive to use, and then select Next.
When the tool completes the installation media on the flash drive, it displays a message that the drive is ready. Click Finish.
If you choose ISO file, you must specify a location for the image.
When the tool completes the image, it directs you to burn the file to a DVD. Click Finish.
When booting from USB/DVD, the previous activation state sometimes is not captured, and Windows 10 will prompt you for a key. You must enter the original OEM Pro license key for the device. Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8.1 Pro OEM keys are all accepted. If you no longer have the packaging, you can attempt to extract the license key from the BIOS.
If the upgrade encounters a problem, it will stop and report an error. There are many reasons you might receive an error message when upgrading, but common errors can be fixed with a few steps.
For more information about quick fixes for common errors, see Get help with Windows 10 upgrade and installation errors. For more detailed technical information, see Resolve Windows 10 upgrade errors.
Companies that want more control over the upgrade process or want to automate the upgrade process can perform scale upgrades. Scale upgrades require Microsoft and/or third-party IT tools and services to create an upgrade solution. See the Resources section in this document for more information.
To get started, engage a service partner or work with Microsoft to develop a scaled solution.