How do you get free Windows 11, the successor to Windows 10? There are different paths that lead to free Windows. Microsoft now makes it even easier for users with the right hardware. CHIP answers the most important questions about Windows 11 pricing and free upgrades.
Microsoft released Windows 11 on October 5, 2021. One of the most interesting questions for users: Is Windows 11 available as a free upgrade? Yes, for many Windows 10 users there is an upgrade to windows 11 free.
Anyone reading carefully has probably already paused, “many users” does not mean “all users”, because there are restrictions and one of them annoys some people. Microsoft says about the free Windows 11 upgrade: “However, only Windows 10 PCs that are running the latest version of Windows 10 and meet the minimum hardware specifications can be upgraded.”
In plain language, this means that many systems fail due to a lack of hardware compatibility. Then you will not be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11.
Requirements for the free upgrade to Windows 11
For the free upgrade to Windows 11 to work, two things are required:
- Current Windows 10: Windows 11 does not come via automatic update, rather users must actively check for the update as it does microsoft calls. That’s not so bad, all you have to do is click “Check for updates” under “Update & security” in settings. If Windows 11 is ready for you, you’ll get a message about it, and then you’ll need to click “Download and Install” again. This is the same as actively checking for feature updates for Windows 10. But for Windows 11 to appear, you need a current Windows 10. You can do this ahead of time, for example using the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistantto import.
- Matching hardware: The thing with them is more complicated. Hardware requirements. Microsoft is setting the bar a little higher here than with Windows 10, which means that not all Windows 10 systems can also be upgraded to Windows 11. Of course, these systems can’t be upgraded for free. At least Windows 10 doesn’t show any option to switch to Windows 11 in Windows Update. You can find out if your hardware is compatible with Windows 11 with the free program WhyNotWin11pretty easy to check.
Free update also for Windows 7, but with a trick
For Windows 10, the situation is clear with the free upgrade to Windows 11. But what about older versions like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1? They will be at Microsoft Windows 11 FAQ unmentioned. From a purely technical point of view, the free upgrade of these versions to Windows 10 is still possible, from there you can also access Windows 11 if you meet the above requirements. With this small detour, the free upgrade is also available for Windows more old. versions.
Other interesting questions are whether Windows 11 can also be installed directly on the basis of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, or whether Windows 11 accepts the activation key from previous versions of Windows in a new installation. Microsoft itself still keeps the ball flat here, but our experiments show that Windows 11 also accepts keys for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
You can also directly access Windows 11 from Windows 7, but there is a problem. Upgrading is possible for free, but you cannot take installed programs or your own files with you, i.e. a clean reinstall is required if you jump directly from Windows 7 to Windows 11. In this case, it is important for users to Less important files be backed up. A software like AOMEI Backupper Pro does that.
Windows 11 prices are not yet known
With all the talk about free upgrades, don’t forget that Windows 10 doesn’t come for free. It is only provided for free to users who have obtained another Windows. But in principle, Windows 10 licenses also cost money, and that’s no different with Windows 11.
If you have to buy new hardware due to Windows 11, you also pay for the Windows 11 license. However, Microsoft has not yet explained in detail what the cost of full licenses for Windows 11 is. Until now, Microsoft has advised its customers who buy completely new hardware right away. However, some distributors are already selling Windows 11 licenses, with prices starting at 20 euros.
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Use Windows 11 for free
To get the final Windows 11, there are these options:
- Windows update: One thing is for sure: Windows 10 can be upgraded to Windows 11 with the right hardware through Windows Update. Users must explicitly check for updates and download and install the Windows 11 listed if available. Microsoft has also opened the floodgates for more devices here, so all legitimate users should see the upgrade option.
- Microsoft tools: With Windows 11, Microsoft provides two tools that work outside of Windows Update and upload feature updates. The Windows 11 setup wizardand the Media Creation Tool for Windows 11.
- ISO files: Also ISO filesMicrosoft provides for Windows 11. You can use them to perform a fresh install or in-place upgrades. If you want to create your own Windows 11 ISO file, you can do so with dump UUPlook after.
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In many cases, users should get Windows 11 for free. This is especially true for Windows 10 users with current hardware. But with older systems, the increased hardware requirements initially throw a wrench in the works. The good news: Windows 10 will be supported until October 2025, so there’s no need to switch to Windows 11.
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