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In this article you’ll learn how you can upgrade to Windows 10 anytime you want, although we urge you to wait in case you haven’t received an invitation, yet. We’ll also show you how to cancel the upgrade in case you’ve changed your mind.
Why You Should Wait
You signed up to Get Windows 10 on your Windows 7 or 8.1 device, but you never received an upgrade notification? There’s a reason for that!
Microsoft is inviting those systems to upgrade first that are more or less guaranteed to transition smoothly. Windows Insiders who shared hardware or software components with your setup might have run into issues with Windows 10. Until those challenges have been solved, for example through Windows 10 compatible driver updates, Microsoft won’t encourage you to upgrade and neither will we.
Windows 10 is an exciting operating system and it will only get better, but it’s not without fault. Since its launch day, a small number of upgraders have had serious issues, including WiFi not working, infinite reboots, slow gaming, and terrible battery life. Some issues were due to buggy updates, others were caused by drivers that had not been optimized for Windows 10. We can only speculate whether or not those issues were predominantly experienced by people who forced the upgrade.
Reddit user datadyne007 has the following comment:
The “reservation” is not actually a reservation in terms of first-come-first-served. The time it takes for you to get the notification is solely based on your hardware’s known compatibility level with Windows 10 gathered from the Insider phase. Users with hardware that did not have problems got the update sooner and users with hardware that has known compatibility problems with Windows 10 are getting it when they are confident the problems are resolved. Many people who aren’t getting the notification are forcing their computer to 10 when it’s really not ready for it and are thus having problems.
If you have not yet received a notification to upgrade to Windows 10, you should be patient! You have no reason to hurry: You can upgrade for free until July 2016. It may be a good idea to at least wait until the big fall update, Threshold 2, is released.
Force the Windows 10 Upgrade
So you’re determined to upgrade now. Maybe the installation files have already been downloaded to your machine; check the size of the hidden folder C:\$Windows.~BT
Briefly, press Windows + R, type in regedit, hit Enter, and navigate to the following registry key:
Create the key in case it doesn’t exist. Then create a DWORD (32-bit) value, name it AllowOSUpgrade, double-click the new entry, and set Value data to 1.
Once these registry changes are in place, open the Get Windows 10 app from your system tray (bottom right), click on More information, followed by I want to upgrade now anyway (not recommended). Eventually, you should see a Get Started option. You can also go to Windows Update in the Control Panel and see whether the Windows 10 upgrade is available there.
Use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
Shortly after Windows 10 was launched on July 29, Microsoft made the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool available. You can download two versions of the tool, one for 32-bit and another for 64-bit Windows 10. The tool gives you two options, to Upgrade this PC now or to Create installation media for another PC. The latter can be used to both upgrade another Windows PC or install Windows 10 from scratch.
On the download page of the tool, Microsoft notes:
IMPORTANT: To upgrade for free, select Upgrade this PC now in the tool. You should NOT be asked for a product key during the upgrade process. If you create a USB and use it to install, make sure to remove the USB as soon as setup begins. If you don’t, you may be prompted for a product key. If this happens, remove the USB and restart your PC to continue with setup.
We have previously shown how to use the tool to create Windows 10 installation media.
Cancel the Windows 10 Upgrade
It’s OK to change your mind. If after all this, you’d prefer to upgrade at your own pace, you can cancel now.
If you’re still waiting for the notification to upgrade, open the Get Windows 10 app from the system tray, click the hamburger icon in the top left, go to View confirmation, and click Cancel reservation. You can even remove the Get Windows 10 app. Briefly, uninstall KB3035583 and hide it from Windows Update when it returns.
The SuperSite for Windows also recommends to run the Disk Cleanup tool (go to This PC / Computer, right-click your system drive, select Properties, then click the Disk Cleanup button) to remove Temporary installation files, which will free up disk space, in case Windows 10 bits had already been downloaded. In any case, you can delete the $Windows.~BT folder on your system drive.
If you’ve been invited to upgrade after signing up to Get Windows 10, use the prompt to schedule to upgrade for sometime in the future; you have up to 72 hours. Before this time runs up, uninstall KB3035583, select to reboot later, and run the Disk Cleanup to remove any Windows 10 installation files. After the timer triggers an upgrade process that is set to fail, return to Windows Update and hide KB3035583.
I Accidentally Upgraded to Windows 10, How Can I Go Back?
Don’t despair! You can roll back. During the upgrade, Windows 10 created a backup of your Windows 7 or 8.1 installation in a folder called Windows.old. With the help of the backup, you can downgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1 via Settings > Update & security > Recovery, as outlined previously. Note that this option expires 30 days after upgrading.
Windows 10 Will Still Be Here Later
We understand both the enthusiasm of users eager to ugprade and the reservations of those suspicious of the many changes Windows 10 brings. We hope you’ll find the sweet spot between keeping it safe and satisfying your curiosity because we want your experience with Windows 10 to be a pleasant one. Whatever you do, don’t fall for one of the many Windows 10 scams!
How did you upgrade and how did it go? And if you’re not on Windows 10, yet, what made you wait and when do you think you’ll be ready? We love to hear from you in the comments!