This content is part of the Essential Guide: Windows 10 guide to upgrades, compatibility and more

How do I upgrade to Windows 10?

Upgrading to Windows 10 is free on many Windows 7 and 8 devices. All you have to do is reserve your update, wait for it to download and install it.

Microsoft allows users with qualifying Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 installations upgrade to Windows 10 for free, and the upgrade process is fairly simple.

If you currently use Windows 7 or Windows 8, then you must make sure your device is running either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Update. You must also enable Windows Update (if it is not already enabled), make sure your current Windows deployment is activated and ensure that Update recognizes your version of Windows as genuine. Once you have done that, the next step is to run the update process until your machine has every available update.

Assuming your edition of Windows qualifies for the free upgrade, Windows Update will then install a component known as the Get Windows 10 app. The Get Windows 10 app appears on the taskbar in the notification area. The icon looks like the Windows logo.

Click on the icon and the Get Windows 10 app will open. The app provides a set of upgrade instructions, but all you really have to do is to click on the Reserve Your Free Upgrade button. Upon doing so, you will see a message indicating that your upgrade has been reserved, which puts your machine in the queue for download. You will get a notification once Windows 10 is ready to install. You can install it right away, or you can pick a time that is good for you.

The download file is about 3 GB, so you must make sure that your device has enough free space to accommodate the download and complete the installation process.

Next Steps

What's new in Windows 10 navigation?

Meet the Windows 10 Action Center

Is upgrading to Windows 10 the right move for your business?

Make sure IT is ready for the Windows 10 upgrade

Dig Deeper on Windows 10