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Windows 10 version 1607, also known as the Anniversary Update, was officially released on August 2, 2016. It’s the second major Windows 10 upgrade and it comes with many exciting new features, including Microsoft Edge browser extensions, Windows Ink, and new Cortana features. The upgrade is currently rolling out to Windows 10 systems worldwide.
If you haven’t received the Anniversary Update yet or if you would like to install it from scratch, here is every possible way you can install Windows 10 version 1607 right now. Do make sure to read our notes before you upgrade!
Important: Before You Upgrade
This major Windows 10 upgrade is not to be taken lightly!
1. Back Up Everything
Before upgrading, you should take the same precautions you would if you were re-installing your system. We recommend to back up your personal data and prepare a system image with a tool like Macrium Reflect.
A system image will allow you to restore your system in case the upgrade gets stuck or the rollback option fails.
2. Back Up License Keys & Update Software
Windows 10 can and will deactivate incompatible software, including third-party Start Menus (e.g. Classic Shell), system and anti-malware tools, or unsigned hardware drivers. The good news is that unsigned drivers are not an issue if you upgrade from one Windows 10 version to the next. Moreover, some developers will update affected applications to be compatible with Windows 10 version 1607. Nevertheless, be sure to back up your license keys, back up your data, and update your software before upgrading.
If you find that programs are missing after you upgrade — Windows 10 will provide you with a list — you can try to reinstall them. You’ll find your data backed up in the Windows.old folder.
3. Back Up Windows.old
If you just upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or 8.1, note that the Anniversary Update will replace your Windows.old folder with new files. This automatic backup allows you to roll back to your old Windows installation.
If you’d like to keep this option open, follow our instructions on how to roll back indefinitely.
How to Delay the Upgrade
If you’re already on Windows 10 and using the Home edition, by default you have no choice but to accept the update whenever it arrives. You may be able to temporarily disable Windows Update, but we strongly advise against it. Alternatively, you could upgrade to Windows 10 Pro or install the Group Policy Editor to access advanced settings (see below).
Meanwhile, Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise users can defer upgrades and updates for several months. Go to Start > Settings or press Windows key + I and head to Update & security > Windows Update. Under Advanced options you can choose to Defer upgrades.
More advanced settings are available in the Group Policy Editor. Here you can choose for how long updates will be deferred. To open the editor, press Windows key + Q, type gpedit.msc, and select Edit group policy. Now navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update, double-click Defer Upgrades and Updates, and customize the setting.
Note: This Group Policy setting may not be available in future version of Windows.
Upgrading from Windows 10
The Anniversary Update is currently being rolled out to all Windows 10 users. If you would like to upgrade immediately, you have several options. You’ll need to run Windows 10 version 1511 with all the latest updates installed. If you’re on Windows 10 Pro, make sure you didn’t disable or defer upgrades (see above).
1. Manually Check for Updates
The update may have already been downloaded to your system or you may be able to trigger the download manually.
Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app, then head to Update & security > Windows Update, and press the Check for updates button. If you only see a Restart now button, you may find that the Anniversary Update is ready to install. Check the list of updates to be installed to confirm you’ll install the Anniversary Update; it should say something like “Feature update to Windows 10, version 1607.”
Note that if you proceed with the installation by rebooting, your system will not be available for a significant amount of time.
2. Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
You can use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to download Windows 10 ISO files and create installation media. The tool always features the latest version of Windows (presently version 1607).
This is the best option if you would like to prepare a fresh install of Windows 10.
Note: If your system comes with UEFI BIOS and supports secure boot, a clean Windows 10 installation may demand signed drivers. If this is an issue, you can enter the BIOS and turn off secure boot or switch to BIOS-compatible start mode.
3. Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant
Microsoft is offering an upgrade assistant to help you with a smooth transition. Head to the Windows 10 update history page and press Get the Anniversary Update now button.
This will download a Windows 10 Upgrade EXE file. Run the executable to start the Windows 10 Update Assistant. When you click Update Now the tool will check your system for compatibility. Should your system be compatible, waiting for the timer to finish its countdown or clicking Next will initiate the update.
Once the download has finished, click Restart now to start the installation.
Reader Michael wondered what to do with the Upgrade Assistant once the the Windows 10 installation has completed. Well, you can uninstall it or keep it for your next upgrade.
Upgrading from Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 via the Backdoor
The free upgrade to Windows 10 ended on July 29. If you missed out on getting your digital Windows 10 entitlement, you now need to pay $119 to purchase a Windows 10 license; in theory.
Fortunately, Microsoft has left open a couple of backdoors.
1. Assistive Technologies
Users who rely on any kind of assistive technology can continue to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. The thing is, Microsoft doesn’t check whether or not you really do. Here is how you can upgrade using the assistive technology route. Briefly, head to the Windows 10 Accessibility Upgrade page, click Upgrade Now, and accept the download for the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant. This is the same assistant described above.
Run the tool, follow the on-screen instructions, and keep your Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 product key ready.
2. Windows 10 1511 Installation Media
If you have previously created installation media for Windows 10 or if you can get your hands on one from a friend, you can continue to install Windows 10 for free and from scratch, using your Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 product key.
Upgrading from Windows 10 Insider Preview
As a Windows Insider, you have essentially been running the Anniversary Update for the past month, minus some bug fixes. If you’re on the slow ring, you will soon be upgraded to the latest version.
To upgrade now, you can switch to the fast ring. Open the Settings app, go to Update & security > Windows Insider Program, and under Choose your Insider level switch from Slow to Fast.
After changing this setting, switch to the Windows Update tab and click Check for updates now. Rebooting might help with bringing up the latest Fast Ring update…well…faster.
Level Up with Windows 10
Welcome to the next level of Windows 10. We hope your upgrade went smoothly and you’re enjoying all the new features. And we’d love to hear from you!
How was your upgrade experience? If you ran into issues, what were they and how did you solve them? Which new Windows 10 features do you enjoy the most? Please share with us in the comments!
Image Credits:Happy Birthday by Doremi via Shutterstock