How To Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

Windows 10 rolled out in 2016 with a free upgrade period. Users who had the GWX app installed received priority status for free and automatic upgrades, but Microsoft officially discontinued free upgrades several years ago.

However, as of this moment, you can still upgrade your Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 free of charge, and there are a few different methods you can use to do so.

Let’s take a look at how you can upgrade your Windows 8.1 device to Windows 10.

Can You Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 for Free?

Officially, the free upgrade program for Windows 10 hasn’t been available for quite some time. Microsoft stopped the program on July 29, 2016. However, Windows 10 remained available free of charge for more than a year after that to those who rely on assistive technologies to use Windows.

At the end of the extension period, the page simply informed users that the offer was no longer available. Those who upgraded during the initial and extension periods needed a digital license to unlock their copy of Windows 10.

The license was available for free and there doesn’t appear to be an expiration date. Users could obtain their license on Windows activation servers. Those who decide to upgrade now will also automatically get their digital licenses.

Therefore, it is still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free despite the expiration of the free upgrade period. There are two ways to go about it, which are as follows.

How to Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

Win 10 Logo

There are two methods you can use to upgrade your PC to Windows 10: either via the Windows Control Panel or via the Microsoft Website.

Both methods are effective, so you can use whichever works best for you. Take a look at how to complete both methods below.

Use the Windows Control Panel

You can upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 through the Windows Update feature in Control Panel.

Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Press the Windows and X keys together or right-click on the Windows Start icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
  2. Select the Control Panel option from the pop-up menu.
  3. Click on the Windows Update link.
    Control Panel Windows Update
  4. Click on Get Started to initiate the upgrade.
  5. Click Accept to agree to the License Agreement.
  6. Choose to either start the upgrade immediately or at a later time.After following these steps, your upgrade will begin and may take a while to complete. During the process, your computer will restart several times. When it’s done, a “Welcome Back” screen will greet you. To finish the Windows 10 setup, follow the onscreen instructions.

Next, you’ll get to choose your Windows settings. If you opt for the Use Express settings option, the computer will load Windows 10’s default settings. You can also click on the Customize settings option and adjust the settings to your liking. It will also guide you through the rest of the setup, including calibrating Cortana.

When setup is complete, you’ll be able to log in with the same credentials as on Windows 8.1. Give Windows a moment or two to set up all the apps. Once it’s done, you’ll see the Home screen. By default, automatic updates will be turned on. However, if you’d like to update your Windows 10 right away, open Settings, select Update & Security and click on Check for Updates.

Manually Download the Setup Tool

Alternatively, you can download the setup tool from Microsoft’s official site manually.

  1. Launch your favorite browser and go to the Windows 10 download page.
  2. Click the Download Tool Now button.
  3. Start the setup tool once finished downloading.
  4. To upgrade the present computer, select Upgrade this PC now radio button, then click Next. The app will take you through the same setup process as described in method 1. Start from step 6.
    Media Creation Tool
  5. To upgrade another computer, select Create installation media for another PC, then click Next.

Note that Windows will not ask you to provide a product key. Instead, you will automatically get a digital license. To confirm it, launch Settings, select Update & Security, then click on Activation.

Windows Activation

The license is tied to the computer, meaning that you can uninstall and reinstall that same copy of Windows on that computer for as many times as you want.

Final Thoughts

With the methods covered in this write-up, you’ll be able to get a copy of Windows 10 on your computer for free even though the official free upgrade periods had long expired.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 after the expiration of the free upgrade period? If so, the community would like to know what’s your first impression of the OS and if you have encountered any problems since.

3 thoughts on “How To Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10”

Avatar Saeed Aliyu says:
I tried the manual upgrade through the Firefox browser… Eventually the response I got was.. This tool can’t be upgrade to window 10 because the language of the pc differs with program to be installe… Please am I supposed to do… Thanks
Avatar jelimo says:
my pc is notifying me to restart so as to run that app
Avatar Marie says:
PLEASE HELP! I have a Surface RT that began with win 8 but uploaded 8.1 years ago without asking! I have taken it back to factory a number of time but everytime I start again in starts in 8.1 WHICH I HATE Everytime I try to do anything like this it tells me “This app can’t run on your PC” no matter what I am trying to do or open. I cannot create a disk or even just download and open. I have a legitimate copy of Win 10 that came on my new desktop that I am trying to get on my Surface. Any ideas? thanks
Avatar Jon Ross says:
Hey Marie. The Surface RT wont run Windows 10. The RT uses a different type of architecture under the hood and only 8/8.81 were written to work with it.

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