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Windows 7 and 8 retail users can't transfer Windows 10 after a year

David Ludlow
4 Aug 2015
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If you've got a retail version of Windows 7 or 8 and want to transfer it and your free Windows 10 upgrade to a new PC, you've got one year

Microsoft hasn't been particularly good at communicating exactly how its free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 10 would work, with plenty of confusing and contradictory information out there. The only clear bit of information was that users only had one year from launch to claim the free upgrade. One of the biggest questions that left was, what happens after the year is up to Windows 7 and Windows 8 retail owners?

The short answer, as we've learned from Microsoft, is that you can continue to clean install Windows 10 on the last computer that you upgraded, but you can no longer transfer your licence to another computer. If you build a new computer after the cut-off date (29 July 2016), then you'll have to purchase a brand-new copy of Windows 10.

See, how to clean install Windows 10

"After the first year, you would not be able to move the installation to a different device as the upgrade is specific to your device, not your licence or Windows account. After that first year, for devices not upgraded you would have to purchase a copy of Windows 10 through the Microsoft Store or Microsoft retail partners," Microsoft told us in a statement.

That's a little different than the situation we thought we were in, where it appeared as though your upgraded version of Windows 10 would keep the same licence type as the original OS. In other words, we thought that Windows 7 and Windows 8 retail editions would turn into Windows 10 retail. However, it's more like the retail licence is a temporary thing: until the free upgrade period is up, you can move your Windows 10 licence by installing your existing copy of Windows 7 or 8 on a new computer and then performing the upgrade procedure. If you're thinking about building a new computer and want to upgrade to Windows 10, you have to do it before the cut-off date, or you'll need to purchase a new Windows 10 licence.

See, how to upgrade to Windows 10

After the cut-off date, you can clean install Windows 10 on the last computer that you upgraded it. Customers with an OEM licence of Windows 7 or Windows 8 (the version of the OS that shipped with their computer) are not affected by this, as they couldn't transfer their licence and can continue to clean install after the cut-off date.

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