How to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1

These instructions will guide you to successfully upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 without running into issues.

Windows 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10
Windows 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10
  • To upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, open Media Creation Tool, select “Upgrade this PC now,” and click Install.
  • Yes, you can still upgrade for free since the Windows 8.1 product key will activate Windows 10.
  • Although files and apps will be preserved, you still want to create a backup of your computer.

UPDATED 6/15/2023: Windows 8.1 support ended on January 10, 2023, which means you should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible. Fortunately, you can upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 without losing your files and apps using the Media Creation Tool, which is also available to upgrade to Windows 7 machines. However, you must ensure that the hardware meets the minimum requirements.

Before proceeding with the upgrade, it’s recommended to uninstall any software (for example, antivirus, security software, or old third-party apps) that may prevent a successful upgrade to Windows 10. In addition, you should disconnect any peripherals (including printer, phone, camera, external hard drive, and other USB devices). Sometimes this can be the reason why your system fails during the upgrade.

Also, the upgrade can always fail, so you want to create a full backup to roll back if anything happens to avoid any problems. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 come with the System Image Backup tool to create a backup of your entire computer, which means that you don’t have to find third-party solutions.

This guide will teach you the steps to upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1, minimizing the chances of running into issues during the upgrade.

Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10

To easily upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft website.

  2. Under the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section, click the Download Now button.

    Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

  3. Double-click the MediaCreationTool22H2.exe to launch the Windows 10 setup wizard.

  4. Click Accept to the licensing agreement.

  5. Select the “Upgrade this PC now” option.

    Windows 10 upgrade option

  6. Click the Next button.

  7. Select the “Keep personal files and apps” option. Alternatively, you can click the “Change what to keep” option to upgrade without preserving your files and apps.

  8. Click the Install button.

Once you complete the steps, you will have to complete the out-of-box experience (OOBE) to finish setting up Windows 10 with your preferences. And then you’ll see your familiar desktop and every new feature included with Windows 10.

Additionally, make sure to use “Device Manager” to check that every piece of hardware is installed correctly on your computer, and reinstall your antivirus and any other software you uninstalled before the upgrade.

Hardware requirements

To install Windows 10, the device must meet the minimum system requirements:

  • Processor: 1GHz or faster processor or SoC.
  • RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit.
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS and 20GB for 64-bit OS.
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
  • Display: 1024×600.

On Windows 8.1, you can check the system specifications by going to Settings and using the “PC info” option. You also need to be running the Windows 8.1 Update release, which is described as KB2919355. You can download this update here if you don’t have it installed.

While the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer has ended, it’s possible to activate the operating system with a Windows 8.1 product key.

It’s important to note that Microsoft plans to end the support of Windows 10 on October 14, 2025. If your computer meets the minimum requirements, instead of upgrading to Windows 10, you should upgrade to Windows 11.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].