The end of Windows 8.1 is near, but can you upgrade to Windows 10 for free?

Extended support for Windows 8.1 will end on June 10, 2023, and Microsoft has begun warning consumers and businesses to upgrade to more modern systems due to the risk of running the operating system without technical support and security patches.

Windows 8.1 was released in October 2013 in an attempt to fix Windows 8’s disastrous startup and design decisions that no one outside of Redmond understood, such as the removal of the Start menu. Criticism of the Modern UI interface was unanimous, and Microsoft bought time with this version before the launch of Windows 10. There isn’t much data on the number of users still on Windows 8.1, but it’s clear that – if you want to use Windows – it’s better to go now on Windows 10.

In addition to warning and posting a migration guide, Microsoft will soon show desktop notifications with messages similar to those used in Windows 7. (Quite tedious, by the way, though we don’t expect automatic updates like it used to back then.

And that’s because Microsoft says it “does not currently offer free ways to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11 and 10,” which means users should consider purchasing a license for the newer version. Or better yet (according to Microsoft), consider buying a new PC that supports Windows 11 or 10 because PCs built for Windows 8.1 are “designed with technology that is about 10 years old.”

It’s official because until recently it was possible to use a Windows 7 license to install Windows 10 for free. 

From Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for free?

Microsoft wanted the move to Windows 10 to be massive, and while it came much later than expected, it succeeded. Now he wants more Windows 11 users, but that’s another story. Officially, the Free Windows 10 promotion ended in the fall of 2016, but unofficially, the program remained in legal and technical limbo.

Personally, I migrated from a genuine laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10 just two months ago, so I understand that the same process can be repeated with Windows 8.1. And in two different ways.

Upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

We are starting with a computer that has any version of Windows 8.1 with a valid license installed and we are going to upgrade to the equivalent version of Windows 10. This is the best option to start with as it doesn’t crash on any computer so that you can use a clean one later. installation from scratch. With a clear script, we go through the process step by step:

  • Make a backup of your main files or the entire drive. Theoretically, an update saves files, applications, and user data, but it’s best to take care not to lose them in case of problems. Follow this backup guide if you need it.
  • Go to the official Windows 10 portal  and click “Download tool now”.
  • Run the downloaded file “MediaCreationTool1909.exe”.
  • Select an update method.
  • The tool will download the necessary files and prepare your computer for the upgrade.
  • Just follow the instructions and when prompted, enter your Windows 8.1 license and complete the installation. If you don’t know the license, you can use apps like ProduKey.

At the end of the process, Microsoft’s servers will validate the installation and convert the Windows 7 alphanumeric license into a free Windows 10 digital license. Your computer will now be legally upgraded to Windows 10.

clean rooms

Keep in mind that Windows 10 validation is different from the previous version of Windows and Microsoft uses specific servers running on specific machine hardware. Once the process is complete, there is no turning back in the sense that the Windows 8.1 license will be lost in favor of the Windows 10 license.

The good thing is that from now on it is already a Win10 machine for all purposes, and if you prefer to do a clean install from scratch, you can do it without the need for any license, because this machine will already be recognized by Microsoft. servers and they will check it automatically. If you follow us regularly, you should know this process by heart because we discussed it with every new Windows 10 update. Basically:

  • Go to the official Windows 10 portal  and click “Download tool now”.
  • Run the downloaded file, latest stable version is November update: “MediaCreationTool1909.exe”.
  • Select Create installation media.
  • Select your language, Windows version, and architecture.
  • You will be taken to a screen to select “USB Drive”, where the same tool will create an installation media for now, or “ISO File” to create one later with your favorite app.
  • Personally, we would choose the second option. We downloaded the ISO and fired it up with  Rufus , a free app that works great. In any case, we already have media ready for a clean install or upgrade of other hardware.

As we said above, just two months ago we did this process (clean install from scratch) with a Windows 7 license, so we understand that it will work exactly the same with Windows 8.1. Microsoft is interested in getting users and businesses to move to Windows 10, and we don’t think it will cut the faucet. Starting with Windows 10, if your PC supports advanced requirements, you can upgrade to Windows 11 in one process, this one is officially free.

And if, after taking advantage of the end of support for Windows 8.1, you’d rather try other alternatives, here are some that focus on development as competent, free, and free as Linux.

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