When the cutoff date for free upgrades arrived on July 27, 2016, Windows users assumed that was the end of that. But as time has elapsed since then — almost 6 months — free upgrades are still on. True: the hated and obnoxious “Get Windows 10” (GWX) tool is history. So are FORCED upgrades. But those running Windows 7 or 8.1 PCs can visit the “Download Windows 10” page. There, if they follow instructions, the result is a working Current Branch Windows 10 installation, Version 1607. Thus, the claim of a free Win10 upgrade still available is completely true.
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How Is the Free Win10 Upgrade Still Available?
The secret to this continuing bonanza, according to Ed Bott at ZDnet, is that Microsoft’s activation servers keep activating upgrades based on Windows 7 and 8.1 license keys. As long as those servers continue to issue valid digital licenses for those older keys, the free upgrades will continue.
The last step in the process shows the name of the ISO file you’ll use to build a bootable UFD.
[Source: Windows Media Creation Tool; filename: L:\Windows.iso]
Here’s an overview of the steps involved in obtaining a copy of Windows 10 to install:
Download Media Creation tool
Select “Create Installation media for another PC”
Select Language, Edition, and Architecture (recommended options should work, otherwise, see table)
Select ISO file (or it can build a bootable USB flash drive instead)
Click “Finish” when writing the ISO file completes
Now you can use any of a variety of tools to build a bootable USB flash drive to install Windows 10 on your system. Finally, the Windows Activation servers will still accept your Win7 or 8.1 key to activate this new Win10 install. You’ll get a valid digital license to keep and use going forward. The excellent Windows 10 tutorial “USB Flash Drive — Create to Install Windows 10” explains and shows how to do this in step-by-step detail, with copious illustrations and examples.