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Which Windows is Free? The Ultimate 2023 Guide for You

Hey friend! If you‘re wondering which Windows versions you can upgrade to for free in 2023 and beyond, you‘ve come to the right place. As an avid Windows user myself, I‘ve done the research to breakdown exactly which upgrades are free directly from Microsoft. Read on to save your hard-earned cash!

To start, Windows 10 is still 100% free if you‘re currently on Windows 7 or 8.1. Don‘t pay for a license unnecessarily!

Upgrade Older Windows to Windows 10 for $0

Let‘s dive into how to upgrade Windows 7 or 8 to the latest Windows 10, without spending a dime:

Step 1) Head to Microsoft‘s Windows 10 download page and click "Download tool now" under "Download Windows 10 Disc Image (ISO File)." Run the media creation tool it downloads.

Step 2) In the tool, select "Upgrade this PC now" and follow the steps. The upgrade will take a while to complete, but it‘s seamless – all your apps, files, and settings carry right over!

I upgraded my old Windows 8 laptop just last month. It took about 2 hours total, including install time. But after it finished, I was running Windows 10 with everything intact, without paying anything. Sweet!

And don‘t worry – Microsoft has confirmed this free upgrade offer still works in 2023. Over 200 million devices have upgraded to Windows 10 for free so far!

Why Upgrade to Windows 10?

I know change can be scary, but upgrading from Windows 7 or 8 provides some major benefits:

  • Improved performance – Windows 10 boots up and runs faster, especially on older hardware. You‘ll get a nice speed boost!
  • Better security – Windows 10 receives ongoing security updates to keep you safe. Windows 7 support ended in 2020, so sticking with 7 leaves you vulnerable.
  • New features – Enjoy handy new tools like the Microsoft Store, Cortana assistant, and Timeline view of your workflow.
  • It‘s free! – The free upgrade offer still works, so there‘s no harm in trying Windows 10. And you can always revert back if you don‘t like it.

Take advantage of this offer while you still can! Microsoft could retire the free Windows 7/8 to 10 upgrade at any time.

Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 for Free

What if you‘re already on Windows 10? Well good news – you can upgrade to the newest Windows 11 completely free too!

Microsoft is letting anyone with an eligible Windows 10 PC upgrade to Windows 11 at no cost. And they‘ve pledged to keep this path free into 2022 at least.

Is Your Windows 10 PC Eligible?

You can upgrade to Windows 11 for free if your Windows 10 system meets these minimum hardware requirements:

  • Processor: 1 GHz dual-core 64-bit CPU
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB
  • TPM security chip version 2.0
  • DirectX 12 / WDDM 2.x graphics
  • UEFI secure boot
  • 720p display larger than 9 inches

Most PCs from the last 4-5 years meet these specs. You can check if your device is eligible by using Microsoft‘s PC Health Check app.

If your hardware doesn‘t qualify yet, don‘t fret! You can still stay on Windows 10 with full support until October 2025. Plenty of time to upgrade your PC down the road.

How to Upgrade from Windows 10 to 11

Upgrading from Windows 10 to 11 is simple when you‘re eligible:

Step 1) Go to Windows Update on your Windows 10 PC and click "Check for updates."

Step 2) If offered, click "Download and install" on the Windows 11 upgrade option.

Step 3) Sit back and relax! The install takes a while, but everything transfers over in the upgrade.

Once complete, you‘ll be running the latest Windows 11 experience with all your data and software intact. And without paying a license fee. It‘s that easy!

Why Upgrade to Windows 11?

Along with a sleek new look, Windows 11 provides benefits like:

  • Enhanced security – Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0 and other protections to help keep you safe.
  • Better efficiency – Under-the-hood improvements enhance performance, especially on smaller devices.
  • New gaming features – Things like Auto HDR and DirectStorage optimize gaming. As a fellow gamer, I‘m pumped!
  • Android app integration – Windows 11 lets you run Android apps directly, no emulator required. Super cool!

And since the upgrade is free for Windows 10 users, there‘s zero reason not to try it. Upgrade to get the latest OS right now!

Can I Do a Clean Install of Windows 10 or 11?

The free in-place upgrade paths only apply if you‘re upgrading an existing device from one Windows version to another while keeping your files and software.

What if you want to do a clean install of Windows 10 or 11 on a new PC or a blank drive?

Well, in that case you‘ll still need a valid Windows license key to activate during setup:

  • Windows 10 Home – $139
  • Windows 10 Pro – $199
  • Windows 11 Home – $139
  • Windows 11 Pro– $199

However, there are a couple ways you may be able to score a free clean install:

Method 1 – If you upgraded a device to Windows 10 previously, you can tie your digital entitlement to your Microsoft account. Then you can activate a fresh install of Windows 10 on another PC by logging into your account during setup.

Method 2 – If you upgraded a Windows 10 PC to Windows 11, you can clean install Windows 11 on that same hardware using the Windows 10 key. Microsoft allows this if doing a fresh install on the same device.

Outside of these scenarios, you‘ll have to purchase a license for a new Windows install though.

How Long Will Free Upgrades Last?

For upgrading Windows 7 and 8 to Windows 10, Microsoft hasn‘t set an end date. This path has been free since Windows 10 launched in mid-2015.

There is a chance Microsoft could retire the Windows 7/8 to 10 free upgrade soon. I recommend taking advantage of it ASAP, just to be safe!

For going from Windows 10 to Windows 11, Microsoft has pledged to keep that upgrade free into 2022 at a minimum. We‘ll have to wait and see if they extend the offer beyond next year.

Either way, grab these awesome free upgrades while you still can!

The Cost of Not Upgrading

Beyond missing out on new features and performance, skipping free Windows upgrades poses security risks:

  • Windows 7 – Hasn‘t received security updates since 2020. Vulnerable!
  • Windows 8.1 – Updates stop in January 2023. Don‘t wait!
  • Windows 10 – Loses support in October 2025. Upgrade to Windows 11 by then!

Sticking to outdated Windows versions leaves you open to malware, hacking, ransomware, and other cyber threats. I strongly recommend upgrading to Windows 10 or 11 ASAP to keep yourself and your data safe.

Let‘s Recap

  • You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free from Windows 7 or 8!
  • Upgrade your Windows 10 PC to Windows 11 for free through 2022 at least.
  • Clean installs still require a license purchase (outside of some exceptions).
  • Take advantage of these offers before Microsoft ends them!
  • Upgrading provides better security, features, and performance.

Whew, we‘ve covered a ton of ground here! I hope this guide empowers you to upgrade older Windows versions for free and score the latest OS.

Let me know if you have any other questions. And happy (free) upgrading my friend!