Windows 10 Upgrade Paths and List of Deprecated Features with Alternatives

We know that Microsoft has announced the free upgrade to Windows 10 operating system for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users.

Windows 10 Free Upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Users

If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 in your computer, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free in the first year of Windows 10 launch. Once you upgrade your device to Windows 10 in first year, you'll be able to use Windows 10 forever on that device at no additional charges.

Now you might be having many questions in mind such as which Windows 10 version will you get after upgrading? Will your 3rd party software programs remain in the system after upgrade or will Windows 10 upgrade remove them?

That's why today in this topic, we are going to answer all such frequently asked questions about upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. We'll also tell you about important things which you should know and remember before you upgrade to Windows 10.

So without wasting time lets start the topic:

Windows 10 Upgrade Paths

First of all lets share the details of Windows 10 upgrade paths. Here we'll tell you about which versions of previous Windows OS qualify for the free upgrade to different Windows 10 editions:

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Home:

Following Windows versions will get the free upgrade to Windows 10 Home edition:

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 8.1 (without Pro)
  • Windows 8.1 country specific editions
  • Windows 8.1 Single Language
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro:

Following Windows versions will get the free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro edition:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows 8.1 Pro for Students

Free Upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile:

Windows Phone 8.1 devices will get free upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile. It'll also depend upon the OEM (manufacturer company) and mobile operator or carrier whether they release the new Windows 10 firmware for the mobile phone or not.

NOTE: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise and Windows RT/RT 8.1 do not qualify for the free upgrade offer.

PS: To help Windows 7 and 8.1 users in upgrading to Windows 10 smoothly, Microsoft has released a new app called "Get Windows 10". You can learn more about it at following link:

[FAQ] "Get Windows 10" App and "Reserve Your Free Upgrade" Notification Icon

[Guide] How to Free Upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1

Important Things to Know Before Upgrading to Windows 10

If you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, you should keep following things in mind:

1. Windows 7 users must have SP1 (Service Pack 1) installed in their systems to be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free via Windows Update.

2. Windows 8 users must update to Windows 8.1 (which is free) to be able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free via Windows Update.

3. You'll have 1 full year after Windows 10 launch on July 29, 2015 to get the benefit of free upgrade offer. After one year the free upgrade offer will end. But if you upgrade your Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 computer within 1 year of Windows 10 launch, you'll be able to use Windows 10 on that computer free for lifetime. The 1 year time period limit has been set for the free upgrade offer. Don't get confused by relating it to Windows 10 license expiry.

4. If you are using a 3rd party antivirus and anti-malware program and decide to upgrade to Windows 10, the setup will first check whether your antivirus and anti-malware subscription is current or not (i.e. whether your antivirus or anti-malware program license is valid or has expired). If the subscription is valid and current, Windows 10 setup will first uninstall the antivirus and anti-malware applications while taking a backup of your settings during upgrade. After upgrading, Windows will install the latest version available of your antivirus and anti-malware programs and will also restore your settings. But if your antivirus and anti-malware programs subscription is not current, Windows 10 upgrade will uninstall the security programs and will enable the built-in Windows Defender application.

5. OEM applications which usually come preinstalled in branded computer systems, may be removed during upgrade.

6. If Windows 10 setup finds some incompatible 3rd party software in your system, it'll ask for your permission to uninstall them. You'll have to accept the removal request to upgrade to Windows 10.

Deprecated Features That No Longer Work After Upgrading to Windows 10

There are a few features which were present in previous Windows versions but have been deprecated in Windows 10. Following list will tell you about the features which will no longer be available after you upgrade to Windows 10:

Windows Media Center:

Windows Media Center (WMC) no longer exists in Windows 10. So if you have WMC installed in previous Windows version, it'll be removed automatically during upgrade to Windows 10. You can try these free alternatives to WMC in Windows 10.

DVD Playback Functionality:

Windows 10 doesn't support DVD playback natively. So you'll need to install 3rd party software such as Media Player Classic (MPC) or VLC Media Player to enjoy DVD playback. Microsoft will provide a free DVD playback app for existing Windows Media Center users to use in Windows 10.

Desktop Sidebar and Gadgets:

Sidebar and gadgets feature was already removed since the launch of Windows 8, so you'll not see them in Windows 10 as well after upgrade.

Customize Windows Update Settings to Change Update Download Behavior:

Windows 10 Home edition will not allow users to change Windows Update download behavior. The updates will always set to Automatic for download and installation. On the other hand, Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise edition users will be able to change the update download behavior using settings. But you can fix it.

Classic Games:

Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts Games will be removed during upgrade to Windows 10. You can install the new versions of these games called "Microsoft Solitaire Collection" and "Microsoft Minesweeper" in Windows 10.

USB Floppy Drives:

Windows 10 doesn't support USB floppy drives. If you want to use them in Windows 10, you'll need to download the required drivers from Windows Update or manufacturer website.

OneDrive app in Windows Live Essentials Suite:

If you have Windows Live Essentials suite installed, the OneDrive app will be removed and replaced with the inbox version of OneDrive app during upgrade to Windows 10.

Also Check:

Who Will Get Free Windows 10?

[FAQ] Upgrading to Windows 10 from Non-Genuine Windows

Things You Should Know and Do Before Upgrading to Windows 10

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Posted in: Windows 10

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  • Will W10 upgrade remove my paid-for 3rd party applications or will I be able to continue using these applications after the upgrade. Some apps I have include Photoshop, Email clients, Acrobat Pro, etc. I'm using W7.

  • It‘s so annoying that in order to have customizable Windows update schedule you must own Pro version. I hope there is going to be a workaround like with most of the stuff that MS makes to nag their product users.

  • Some doubts on upgrading Windows 7 to windows 10.

    1 > Does windows 10 home require my Windows 7 home premium product key to activate itself??
    As this version of windows does not contain Media Center & Games Center (or whatever it may be) as I need Media Center to play games(that came with windows 7). so I may install Windows 7 Home premium (x86) in Virtual Box in Windows 10.
    2 > Can I do a clean install using this version of Windows(for free)?
    I prefer clean install over Direct upgrade as it is very slow ac compared to clean install.

    3 > Does my Graphics Card driver support this version of windows?


    System Requirements :

    Windows 7 Home Premium
    64 Bit SP1

    Intel HD Graphics software - Intel Ironlake Mobile Graphic

    64 Bit Intel i3 quad core processor

    [Thanks in Advance]

  • VG

    @CoOl KinG
    1. Your Windows 7 OS must be genuine and activated before qualifying to upgrade to Windows 10.
    2. There are rumors that Microsoft will allow clean install to people who will free upgrade to Windows 10. Lets see.
    3. Run Get Windows 10 app and it'll tell you whether your computer is ready for Windows 10 or not.

    I hope so.

    As mentioned in point 5, if the setup detects an incompatible software, it'll inform you to uninstall it.

  • Will this upgrade remove all the installed softwares like formatting a PC?

  • 1 > Is this really means that Windows 7 should be activated & genuine for getting an upgrade to Windows 10, no product key is required for activation of Windows 10, then I can use Windows 7(x86) inside virtualbox & then activating it(with the product key written on COA sticker)?

    2 > My Windows 7 is activated & genuine, it came preinstalled in my laptop PC & a sticker is there on the laptop with product key & other details.

    Thanks for help

  • I visited Windows website today, there was written that Windows 10 is free to use for 1 year, after that we had to pay for it.
    ==> " Windows Offer Details

    Windows 10 is a free upgrade, for a limited time, for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices .
    Does windows 10 not be free to use (not download) after 1 year?

    Thanks for help.

  • VG

    ^^ Please check Point 3.

    @Arup Ghosh
    No. Check point 6.

  • VG how to check from which link a certain program downloading file ?
    e.g. Like In VLC when we click on update it downloads the update in temp folder & after complete downloading it install it.
    Is there any way we can know the complete link of file so we can download it using Download manger for fast & good result ?
    How we can log where a certain program is connecting & which link it is using ?
    It there any way for it ?

  • Thanks for your replies, but certain doubts are still there :

    Think about the scenario :

    My PC's HDD Drive got corrupted( after 1 year of windows 10 release), & the OS installed was Windows 10. I fixed a new HDD drive and now I will install Windows 10, does it still activate? If yes, then how (by a using a valid Windows 7 product key in Windows 10 or installing Windows 7 first & then upgrading it to Windows 10)?

    Note that HDD is crashed after 1 year of Windows 10.

    Thanks again for your help.

  • @ CoOl KinG i don't think you will be able to upgrade to windows 10 from windows 7 after 1 year as per microsoft that program is for 1 year only. So maybe you can fresh install Windows 10 & try whether it accept your key of windows 7 or not.
    Else there are some options which i think
    1) If after upgrading your Windows 7 key changes to new Windows 10 key & you noted it with any key viewer program while your system functioning, then you can try to activate fresh Windows 10 with that key.
    2) System Image / Backup of Installation Drive. ( When needed Just restore & you are good to go. )
    3) Backup of License/Activation if there any way found for windows 10.
    4) Else move on to Windows 11 or whatever new version at that time out for testing.
    5) Or roll back to windows 7 ( Remember backup your activation, as maybe after upgrade you will be unable to activate Windows 7 with your key )

  • VG


    Microsoft has hinted that all free upgrade users will be able to perform clean installation of Windows 10. So we'll need to wait for the launch day.

  • Hello VG and all members greetings to all. I may be posting this in the wrong place but here goes!
    I recently reinstalled my Windows 7 - 64 bit Ultimate because of a HDD failure which was replaced by a new 500 GB HDD. Anyway after all the Microsoft updates were installed successfully, came to noticed by accident that (I started Task Manager while it was still in booting up mode...) this GWX folder from the System 32 folder directory was in start up with Windows and its the first time I ever saw this folder in the System 32 directory.
    My question to you VG "Have you ever seen this folder at any time?" It looks suspicious but it seems to be a Microsoft update! "KB 3035583"!
    This morning I made a Google search about this suspicious folder and came up with several people asking the same question and others replied saying its an update for Windows 10 Upgrade.
    VG can you please look into this and confirm if its true because I really don't like when something starts with windows and I don't know what it is about! Thanks in advance.

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following:

  • Hello VG, Some times ago you made a post about returning the aero glass effect with blur to start menu and taskbar. Now I want to know if Microsoft is planning to bring the effect back in all areas (like windows border) or not?

  • VG

    ^^ Thats still a mystery. We'll need to wait and watch. Although I highly doubt that it'll happen.

  • Feeling Sad, I will carry on using glass8 :p

  • How if I need to clean install windows 8 after the free 1 year? I can't upgrade to windows 10?

  • VG

    ^^ If you upgrade to Windows 10 in first year of launch, you'll be able to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 anytime in future. It seems Microsoft will provide ISO files for download. Lets wait and watch.

  • I am currently running Windows 8.1 Pro x86, recently I bought a new rig, will I be able to update to Windows 10 x64 or I have to update to Win10x86 ?

  • VG

    ^^ You'll be able to upgrade to the matching edition of Windows 10. If you are using x86 edition of Windows 8.1, then it'll upgrade to x86 edition of Windows 10.

  • When upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Home premium 64bit, will I have to reinstall all my applications (Ex Quicken 2014)?
    Best regards

  • VG

    ^^ Did you check points 4, 5 and 6?

  • I just did a back to factory reset and lost my windows 10 icon, how will I be able to get my windows 10?

  • Is there any upgrade path for systems currently running Windows 7 "Enterprise" ??

  • I'm kind a new at maintianing my computer. Normally someone else had done it for me.
    I bought a new pc with winows 8.1 I think. And over whelmed, the layout is completely different then what I'm used to.. Last nite I spend hours trying to reserve my free WINDOWS 10 update. Very unsuccessly. When I figure out what I'm doing can I still recieve my free WINDOS 10 update?

    Is there anythiing out there to help beginners learn things are etc.? It would be very helpful.

    Best regards.

  • Does Windows 10 support Windows XP applications were not working in compatibility mode on Windows Vista/7/8?

  • VG

    ^^ If an application was not working in Windows 8/8.1, then it'll not work in Windows 10.

  • Hi VG,

    I have 3 laptops and 2 Desktops with different type of windows Pro editions on it (Like win 7 pro and 8.1 pro). Is there a way to upgrade all the keys to windows 10 without downloading everytime on each machine to upgrade to windows 10 as it will take lot of Data and time.

  • VG

    ^^ Of course. Just download Windows 10 ISO from following links and then install Windows 10 in all systems:

  • Hi VG,

    I have a couple of laptops:
    1x W7 Home Premium
    1x W8.1 (Not Pro)

    I want to be able to add them to my domain - would the best route be to upgrade to their professional versions, and then do the free upgrade to W10 or do the free upgrade first and then upgrade to W10 Pro?


  • VG

    ^^ You should first upgrade them to their Pro versions and then upgrade to Windows 10.

  • In this machine I have windows 7 enterprise version. But I like to get windows 10. How can I get it?

  • Do you know anything about RecImg.EXE in Win 10. One review I saw of the July Win 10 RTM release said it was excluded. Another site says it has been deprecated. MS technet says nothing I could find so far.

    It seem typical MS. They introduced a great feature, didn't publicize it at all, then removed it from the next version because the use statistics they collected show that it wasn't used.

    I wonder if we could copy it from Win 8/8.1 and use it in Win 10? I don't have a Win 10 installation to test it on...

  • VG

    ^^ Yes. It has been removed as the feature "Refresh PC" has also been removed from Windows 10.

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