Any way to claim free Windows 10 without breaking my Windows 7 install?


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I've had Win 7 installed for a long time and it's setup just the way I want, with lots of programs, shortcuts, etc. and I'd rather not mess it up. But I heard the Win 10 accessibility upgrade offer was ending soon, so I'd like to claim my license before I lose the opportunity.

Is there any way to install Win 10 without affecting my Win 7 install? Like if I disconnect the Win 7 drive and install 10 on a fresh one or something? If I put my Win 7 key into the Win 10 installer, does the 7 license get revoked or will it continue to work?


Thanks for any help

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Yeah, if you want to be extra safe just use something like Clonezilla (i.e. ) to image your entire drive to a image file on another hard drive and then upgrade to Windows 10. so if anything acts up you can simply restore the image and things will be exactly like they were when you imaged the drive. it will be like Windows 10 was never installed.


also, i took advantage of the Windows 10 upgrade offer back on Dec 1st 2015. basically once you upgrade using that Microsoft tool you can then clean install Windows 10 in the future without any CD key needed as it automatically activates unless you change some major stuff like the motherboard.


this is the tool i used to upgrade...


with that tool you can also download the ISO (which is currently build 16299.15 which came out Oct 17th) file for future clean installs. i used Rufus ( ) to make the ISO bootable on a USB device which works great. in fact, i just clean installed Windows 10 recently with the Fall Creators Update (i.e. 16299.15) and everything is good as Windows 10 automatically activated. when it asks for a key you simply ignore that part and it will automatically activate by itself during a clean install.

Edited by ThaCrip
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You can do this:


- use a drive imaging application like Acronis True Image, Macrium Reflect, Drive Image XML, Clonezilla or some other such tool to make a bit-for-bit backup of your system partition (meaning the drive where you have Windows 7 currently installed) and place the backup on some other storage device or network backup or something (it's probably going to be a large backup even using the default compression which is traditionally 2:1 for heavily compressible data but not music/pictures/videos which are already compressed)


- once that backup is created and verified - ALWAYS do the verification after you make an image, I can't stress that enough, you have to know 100% for certain that the backup that has been created is accurate and a 100% copy - you can then literally do a clean installation of Windows 10 on the same machine and when it asks you for a Product Key use the one you have for Windows 7. Doesn't matter if it's the OEM key on a COA (Certificate Of Authenticity) sticker, or a Retail key, it'll still be accepted by Windows 10 through the end of 2017 and you'll end up with a clean installation of Windows 10, activated, and the activation hash will from that point on be stored on Microsoft's servers for future use meaning you can reinstall Windows 10 on that same machine anytime you want and you won't need to input a Product Key during the installation - as soon as that machine is up and running and online it'll contact Microsoft, verify the hash, then it'll activate with basically no interaction by you at all


- after all that is done you can then restore the Windows 7 image to the same storage device and it'll be like it was before you went through all that in the first place


You can of course also use a spare hard drive or SSD to do that clean install of Windows 10 if you'd like but if you do I'd strongly suggest you remove or disconnect the Windows 7 system drive entirely, sometimes the Windows installer can have issues with multiple drives in the same system and there's a chance you could overwrite your Windows 7 system drive entirely so, don't take the chance at all and just disconnect it temporarily for the Windows 10 installation if you choose to do things in that manner.


But definitely get that done soon because time is running out.

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Thanks for the replies! It sounds like I can have the same key registered to Win 7 and Win 10 and have them both working depending on which drive I plug in.


I have plenty of spare hard drives around, so disconnecting my Win 7 system drive and putting in a fresh one seems easiest. I expect an image is quite big and takes some time to create and verify.


Edit: Although, if I install Win 10 on an older (slower) drive, then in a year or two, I want to use Win 10 as my main OS, can I install it again onto a newer drive? How sensitive is the license to changing components like that?

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Yeah, i think you can do that if you type in the CD key. but i just used the upgrade option on mine.


but even once you get Windows 10 up and running you can still go back to Windows 7 if you want as Windows 10 will still be working on that PC if you should want to go back to it. but as you know Microsoft is dumping Windows 7 in Jan 2020. so basically you could continue to use Windows 7 up until that point if you wanted as long as you confirm that Windows 10 activated to that hardware. so say Jan 2020 comes around, then you can shift to Windows 10 and your good.


how much data is on your hard drive that you want to image? ; Clonezilla imaged my drive fairly quick but then again i did not have a boatload of data on there either. i think on my i3-2120 CPU, which is dual core, it took roughly 15min (reading data from 250GB SSD and writing to a 2TB 5400RPM drive). but i think it's somewhere around 5GB per minute (maybe 8GB per minute) the speed at which it was processing. i had roughly 20GB of data on there and the folder that those Clonezilla files are stored is about 10-12GB in size but those are compressed and from a clean install of newest Windows 10 but after i adjusted some Windows 10 settings to my liking with some programs installed.


but given you can just use another hard drive.... you ain't really got much to lose by clean installing Windows 10 as even if it fails you still got the Windows 7 hard drive untouched and can simply plug that back in.


EDIT: i noticed your edit about the Windows 10 license... it appears unless you do a major hardware change it won't interfere with you and should still work fine in a year or two once Windows 7 support ends as long as you get Windows 10 activated to your hardware you should be fine outside of a major hardware change like the motherboard. i upgrade my video card earlier this year and no issues with activation as things still are the same, i did not have to do anything. i doubt hard drive swaps would trigger reactivation.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/10/2017 at 6:30 AM, Deflektor said:

I've had Win 7 installed for a long time and it's setup just the way I want, with lots of programs, shortcuts, etc. and I'd rather not mess it up. But I heard the Win 10 accessibility upgrade offer was ending soon, so I'd like to claim my license before I lose the opportunity.

Is there any way to install Win 10 without affecting my Win 7 install? Like if I disconnect the Win 7 drive and install 10 on a fresh one or something? If I put my Win 7 key into the Win 10 installer, does the 7 license get revoked or will it continue to work?


Thanks for any help

it will continue to work.

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