Microsoft Windows 10 Upgrades End Today, How To Migrate For Free

Time is quickly running out if you're planning to take Microsoft up on its offer to upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 to Windows 10 for free. Yes, it's been a full year already since Windows 10 released to the public. But don't fret if procrastination's gotten the better of you, there's still several hours left to upgrade at no cost.

Microsoft says you have until midnight tonight UTC-10 before the deal is off the table. If you live in the U.S., that means the expiration on Microsoft's offer is technically July 30, albeit you'll have to upgrade by 5:59 am ET (2:59 am PT). For those of you living in other parts of the world and time zones, you can find your specific deadline by going to The Time Zone Converter and inputting 11:59 pm UTC-10 in the pull-down menus on the left.

Windows 10

There's no penalty for being a last minute straggler, just understand the clock is ticking. If you've decided to finally make the plunge, head over to the Windows 10 download page and the click "Upgrade now" button near the top. Doing so will initiate a download of a small setup file. Once you've downloaded the file, locate it on your system (C:\Users\[USER NAME]\Downloads folder by default) and double-click to run it.

Windows will hold your hand and guide you through the rest of the upgrade process, though you'll have to click a few boxes along the way. Bear in mind that depending on the age of your system and the hardware inside, it could take an hour or more to complete the upgrade.

The other option is to go with a clean install using your existing Windows 7 or Windows 8/8/1 license. To go that route, have a USB flash drive or blank DVD handy and download the media creation tool from the same page linked above. Before you begin the process, make sure you have your license handy, as you'll need it to activate Windows 10—if there's no sticker on your system, download and run Magic Jelly Bean, a third-party key finder utility.

In either case you'll want to backup any important files. That should be obvious if doing a clean install, but even if taking the upgrade route, it's a good idea to have a backup in place in things go awry.