January 14, 2020, marks the end of an era. Windows 7 era, that is. Microsoft stopped all support for the 11-year old Windows 7 OS.

For the majority of Windows 7 users, it means no more system upgrades and security patches.

You can’t wait any longer.

With the end of support, any devices still operating Windows 7 will be vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.

Follow these instructions to upgrade to Windows 10 with ease.

Wallpaper of Windows 10 Desktop

Why Do I Need to Upgrade?

At this point, you have two options.

You can upgrade. Or you can do a clean install of a new OS on your computer.

Upgrading is usually more comfortable as you can keep all your apps, files, and folders in place and it doesn’t take as much time.

But either way, you approach it, you need to switch to Windows 10.

Many have already seen the damage malware can do to unsupported computers.

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware affected over 200,000 computers with outdated software around the world.

The total cost to businesses and individuals reached billions of dollars. And that was one of the countless attacks online that year.

Upgrading doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. This guide is here to walk you through it.

Settings in Windows 10 - New Interface

Where to Get Windows 10?

If you buy Windows 10 from Microsoft, it will cost you either $139 or $199. For a long time, Microsoft was offering free upgrades to Windows 10, but these are no longer available.

If you don’t want to shell out that much cash, there are many ways to find cheaper copies of the operating system.

Microsoft does offer student and educator versions of the operating system at steep discounts.

The cheapest option is either using an unactivated copy of the OS or purchasing a key from a third-party.

Using an unactivated copy of Windows 10 is almost identical to using an activated one, except you’ll see a small watermark on your screen.

Aside from a few other tiny differences, that’s really about it. Many people have done this for years and suffer no problems at all.

You can also buy third party activation keys from retailers like Kinguin, which sells Windows 10 Home for $27.70 and PCDestination, which sells it for $44.99.

Now you’re ready to upgrade.

Latest version of Windows 10

How to Upgrade to Windows 10?

Step 1: Backup Your PC

Even if you’ve bought Windows 10 Professional directly from Microsoft, there’s always a chance that an upgrade may cause an issue on your computer.

That’s why it’s essential to backup all your important files and apps. Make copies both to a physical and cloud storage drive to make sure you don’t lose any data.

Step 2: Turn off Third-Party Antivirus Tools

Some antivirus tools may interfere with the Windows 10 update process. Make sure to either disable or uninstall them before you make the switch.

After the update is complete, you can always reinstall the Windows 10 version of that app. Though, nowadays, Windows Defender protects your computer as well as most other antivirus software.

Step 3: Use the Windows 10 Update Assistant

The Windows 10 update tool will walk you through the process. It will help you figure out what version you need including whether your current Windows is 32-bit or 64-bit.

Be aware that even if your PC supports 64-bit, you cannot move from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows via update. You’ll need to do a clean install for that.

Step 4: Run the Windows Upgrade Installer

Once you’ve followed all these steps, you’re ready to run the installer. You’ll have two options either to “Upgrade the PC now” or “create installation media for another PC.”

Select “Upgrade the PC now” and begin. It will download all the files for the upgrade. The amount of time varies depending on your type of internet connection.

Follow the steps. You’ll have the option to keep all your files and apps, only personal data, or nothing. Select the option you need.

If you have new Windows 10 apps to install, you can choose the second option. Windows is smart; it knows what to delete. You don’t need to worry about any of your photos or work documents disappearing.

Step 5: Configure Windows 10

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Windows 10. Now you have to make a few tweaks for personalization. Take some time because they can improve your experience using the operating system.

After verifying your user account, you can run through a list of different options. For example, you can choose default apps, set up location sharing or syncing your phone, and more.

Windows 10 is easy to use, so if you don’t set it up now, you can go back to it later.

Once you’ve made it to your desktop, be sure to install/enable your security apps:

  • Now that you have a new operating system be sure to use encryption software for Windows to protect your files.
  • Windows Defender is a good start, but consider using extra anti-malware tools.
  • From here, be sure to use a VPN as well.

Between using the latest version of Windows and useful security tools, your PC will be much safer than if you had stayed on Windows 7.

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