Windows 7 to Windows 10: FAQ

There is a lot of misinformation around regarding upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and it can be difficult getting accurate information.  Here I want to answer some of the most important questions people have, and respond to some of the biggest misconceptions.

  • Windows 10 is a free upgrade – Windows 10 was free for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for the first twelve months after it launched, and there has been an offer extended for people using accessibility features.  Both of these programmes have ended however.
  • Windows 7 and 8.1 Product keys will activate Windows 10 – There is an element of truth in this as some product keys will work.  There is no clarity on what does and does not work though.  You can read more about this HERE.
  • All Windows 7 drivers work in Windows 10 – There is a broad range of device drivers that will work on both Windows 7 and Windows 10, however many more will not.  This is due to several factors including the changes Microsoft made to how drivers work.  Additionally, there is a great deal of older technology, including processors, that is not supported in Windows 10 at all.
  • Microsoft have a tool that will upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 – It is true that Microsoft do provide an upgrade tool, though the upgrade path to Windows 10 isn’t easy as you will need to perform a clean installation of Windows 10.  This means you will need to back up all your files and documents first, and also reinstall all your software, for which you will also need the original installers.  Additionally, you will need a valid product key to activate Windows 10 after installation.
  • My Windows 7 PC will run Windows 10 – Newer PCs of just a few years old will very likely run Windows 10 fine, but older Windows 7 PCs, especially those released when Windows 7 first came out in 2009, or that were upgraded from Windows XP will very likely not work or at least be extremely slow.  There will also very likely be device driver incompatibilities as detailed above.  You can find out if your PC will run Windows 10 HERE.
  • Windows 7 support has been extended – There is additional support available for some Windows 7 PCs for another three years until January 2023.  However only enterprise and registered business customers can purchase this support, and it will be very expensive.  Consumers cannot buy an extended support licence.
  • Anti-Virus and Security software will keep Windows 7 safe – This is not true.  Any vulnerabilities in the operating system will sit underneath anti-virus and security software.  This in turn makes that software vulnerable, so no security software can properly protect a Windows 7 PC.  You can read more about the anti-virus situation HERE, and about the use of strong passwords HERE.

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