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tomasz86

Free upgrade to Windows 10 and downgrade to Windows 8.1

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I have two machines with Windows 8/8.1 pre-installed. One of them runs Windows 8.1 and the other Windows 8.1 Pro.

 

As far as I understand, I am eligible to upgrade both of them to Windows 10 within one year for free:

 

1 Windows Offer Details

Yes, free! This upgrade offer is for a full version of Windows 10, not a trial. 3GB download required; internet access fees may apply. To take advantage of this free offer, you must upgrade to Windows 10 within one year of availability. Once you upgrade, you have Windows 10 for free on that device.

Windows 10 Upgrade Offer is valid for qualified Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices, including devices you already own. Some hardware/software requirements apply and feature availability may vary by device and market. The availability of Windows 10 upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 devices may vary by OEM, mobile operator or carrier. Devices must be connected to the internet and have Windows Update enabled. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1 Update required. Some editions are excluded: Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8/8.1 Enterprise, and Windows RT/RT 8.1. Active Software Assurance customers in volume licensing have the benefit to upgrade to Windows 10 enterprise offerings outside of this offer. To check for compatibility and other important installation information, visit your device manufacturer’s website and the Windows 10 Specifications page. Windows 10 is automatically updated. Additional requirements will apply over time for updates. See the Windows 10 Upgrade page for details.

 

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-faq

 

In this case I would like to upgrade both of them to Windows 10 for free in the near future. However, one of the devices is a 8" tablet (ASUS VivoTab Note 8) where, at least for now, I would like to continue to use Windows 8.1 since Windows 10 seems to be significantly less touch friendly (slower task switching, no charms bar, inferior Internet browser, etc.).

 

Would it be fine in terms of the license to upgrade the tablet from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Home, and then downgrade to Windows 8.1 without losing the rights for the Windows 10 free upgrade?

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I have two machines with Windows 8/8.1 pre-installed. One of them runs Windows 8.1 and the other Windows 8.1 Pro.

 

...

Would it be fine in terms of the license to upgrade the tablet from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Home, and then downgrade to Windows 8.1 without losing the rights for the Windows 10 free upgrade?

I'm confused. Why not just keep the tablet on 8.1, where it already is and where you want it to end up, and only exercise your Windows 10 option on the other machine? Or have I misunderstood something? After all, you can always put Windows 10 on the tablet later, anytime over the next year, if you later decide you want to do that.  I have not seen anything that says your move to Windows 10 absolutely must happen, or be reserved, during any time period other than the one year that the offer is supposed to be available.

 

NOTE: I have not used the term "upgrade" since there is some debate whether Windows 10 is "up" or "down" in comparison to any of the earlier versions. :)

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After all, you can always put Windows 10 on the tablet later, anytime over the next year, if you later decide you want to do that.  I have not seen anything that says your move to Windows 10 absolutely must happen, or be reserved, during any time period other than the one year that the offer is supposed to be available.

 

NOTE: I have not used the term "upgrade" since there is some debate whether Windows 10 is "up" or "down" in comparison to any of the earlier versions. :)

 

Well, I stick to the terms "upgrade" and "downgrade" as that's what is used in MS licensing agreements and I want to make sure that everything will be "correct" in this aspect ;)

 

The problem is that at the moment I don't know whether / when I will want to upgrade the tablet to Windows 10. My point is that I may want to do it, ex. 3 years later. Yet, I would still like to receive the free upgrade license which is offered right now. As far as I understand, the free offer will not be available any longer after this one-year time frame.

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Would it be fine in terms of the license to upgrade the tablet from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 Home, and then downgrade to Windows 8.1 without losing the rights for the Windows 10 free upgrade?

 

I'm not sure if it has to do with license... I don't know if you can re-upgrade to 10 again or not. Maybe wait for someone to test it out?

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So in addition to the "re-upgrade" question, another way to put it is you want to find out if you can obtain all the necessary materials now to do the upgrade, but then not actually install/activate the Windows 10 installation until you want to at some point in the future, even if that point is after the one year time period.  ie, do you have to obtain the Windows 10 upgrade materials within the one year time frame, or do you have to actually install and register the Windows 10 installation within the one year time frame?  I don't know the answer, but is that your question?

 

Cheers and Regards

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Also I wouldn't mind "enabling" a Win8 key for Win10, but without installing it.

Though, by the looks of it, Win10 needs quite a lot of third party work to fix it and reach even the usability state of stock Win8. :)

Edited by shae

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I'm not sure if it has to do with license... I don't know if you can re-upgrade to 10 again or not. Maybe wait for someone to test it out?

 

I'm definitely not going to upgrade the system hastily, but I also don't want to wait for too long until it's to late to upgrade for free.

 

 

So in addition to the "re-upgrade" question, another way to put it is you want to find out if you can obtain all the necessary materials now to do the upgrade, but then not actually install/activate the Windows 10 installation until you want to at some point in the future, even if that point is after the one year time period.  ie, do you have to obtain the Windows 10 upgrade materials within the one year time frame, or do you have to actually install and register the Windows 10 installation within the one year time frame?  I don't know the answer, but is that your question?

 

Cheers and Regards

 

Yes, that is basically my question.

 

I want to receive the free license for Windows 10 but keep Windows 8.1 installed for the time being. I would also like to know whether this "free upgrade" gives me rights to downgrade the system to the previous version, as it was the case with either Windows XP downgradable to Windows 2000 or Windows 7 downgradable to Windows Vista.

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But that still doesn't answer the question of -  If you do downgrade to a previous version of Windows, can you then re-upgrade to Windows 10 later?  And if you can, can you still do so for free even after the one year upgrade period has expired?  That's two separate, but related, questions.  If the answer to the second question is "No", then it doesn't seem to be worth the trouble to do the downgrade at all, if you want to end up with Windows 10 eventually.  Just wait until the last possible minute to do the upgrade.  Maybe by then they'll have figured out how to make Windows 10 more touch friendly, or you'll have decided that you're happier with Windows 8.x after all.  Just my two cents.

 

Cheers and Regards

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But that still doesn't answer the question of -  If you do downgrade to a previous version of Windows, can you then re-upgrade to Windows 10 later?

I will try it tomorrow.

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I've found this article:

 

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/07/how-to-do-a-clean-install-of-windows-10-from-windows-7-and-8/

 

Fortunately, if you're running Windows 7 or 8, and you really want to use your free Windows 10 licence key to perform a clean installation rather than upgrade, there is a solution. It's pretty convoluted, but it works.

 

First, you need to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 10. You can do this via Windows Update, or if Windows Update isn't playing ball you can use the direct download tool: English/American/German/French/Italian/Dutch. If you use the download tool, make sure you select "Upgrade this PC now." It goes without saying that, before you install any new operating system, you should back up any important data beforehand.

 

Once the upgrade has completed, make sure you've been activated by Microsoft. Open up the new Settings app, then head to Update & Security, Activation. It will say on the right whether you're activated or not (see image). Also note down what version of Windows 10 you have (Home, Pro).

 

If you haven't yet been activated, you can try forcing it via command prompt: run cmd.exe as an administrator, then type slmgr.vbs /ato. You may need to try a few times, as the activation servers were being hit quite hard.

 

This first step will convert your current Windows 7/8 key into a Windows 10 key.

 

Now you need to install Windows 10 again! Grab the Windows 10 download tool and run it. This time, select "Create installation media for another PC." Select the appropriate version (Home, Pro) and the tool will generate an ISO for you. Let the tool help you burn the ISO to a DVD or USB memory stick.

 

Now, proceed with a clean installation of Windows 10 (select "Custom: Install Windows only" when prompted.) When it asks you for a product key, click Skip. If it asks you multiple times, just keep hitting Skip.

 

Once you've installed Windows 10, it should activate normally. Again, you might need to manually slam the servers using slmgr.vbs /ato. Voilà: a clean installation of Windows 10.

 

In theory, you should be able to reinstall Windows 10 again in the future on the same PC, but if you make significant hardware changes you might need to use the manual telephone activation process.

 

and from the comments:

 

grumpy2 wrote:

Did I misread the article, or is the summary basically "upgrade to win10, and then when you reinstall, skip the product key stuff, and rely on MS Activation servers magically recognizing your hardware"?

Seems a bit iffy if that's the case. Can't you extract the generated win10 key once you've upgraded?

 

That is what I am doing, Speccy can tell you the key once you are on Win 10.

 

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Oh forgot this thread. I posted in the "Upgrade experience" thread that you can just install it again. I didn't use the GWX icon because it was broken, but used the 64bit media creator and did NOT make the ISO.

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Just a quick update on the topic ;).

I finally upgraded both devices to Windows 10 (really did a fresh installation) on the last day of the free upgrade period. I will probably just use the OS although I must say that the learning curve on the 8" tablet after using Windows 8.1 for all that time has been very steep. As far as touch only goes, Windows 8.1 felt much more natural with all the swiping, etc. Windows 10 is usable but feels kind of clunky when used without a mouse or a keyboard. The former just felt much more fluid, and the tablet mode in Windows 10 is somewhat annoying, limited and glitchy with some desktop applications that do not like to be maximized. Also, I really wonder what is the reason to hardcode the taskbar colour to black only in the tablet mode? <_<

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