With Windows 10 being rolled out in waves, there are likely a large number of people who are enthusiastic to get the upgrade now. Staring at your Windows Update and asking it to check again is a process that will get old fairly quickly.

If you want to upgrade now, and you really don’t want to wait, you can download the software yourself to initiate the install.

There are a couple of warnings I’ll give before you do this though. Windows 10 is really unlike any previous version rolled out. The plan is to be constantly updating and improving it over time, and adding features. As such, as of the day of the launch, it is a bit rougher than other builds of Windows at launch. It also might mean that your particular device may have a compatibility issue. To check the status, click on the Windows 10 reservation icon in your system tray – it looks like a white Windows logo – to open up the reservation.

Inside of this, there is a hamburger menu icon on the top left. Click this to expand the menu, then open the “Check your PC” option. This will display a compatibility report which you should verify is ready to go before proceeding. You may have to wait for device driver updates from your manufacturer before the system is Windows 10 ready.

If you don’t have a backup of your PC then that is the next step. You can make a system image using our Backup Guide and you may want to make a recovery drive too in order to get back to that system restore if needed. I’ve not had any issues with the upgrade, but I still didn’t skip this step.

Gabe Aul sent out an email tonight to Windows Insiders explaining how they can get the upgrade. Microsoft has a page up with the tools to download and create a bootable USB drive or ISO, and you can find it here:


Go there, and download the tool. Run the tool, and it should give you the option to either upgrade the PC you are on now, or download the files to a USB or ISO. I’ve not had any luck with the “upgrade this PC” option, so I had to do the download. I downloaded it to a USB drive.

Then, instead of booting from the USB drive, simply navigate to it in Windows Explorer and run setup.exe from there to initiate the upgrade process. It takes a few minutes to get ready, then it will prompt you asking what you would like to keep on your PC, and then it does the upgrade. This is only meant to be used from a genuine copy of Windows, and it should activate correctly after.

If all of this seems a bit daunting, you may want to just wait for the upgrade to be delivered to you through Windows Update. But it might be a good idea to get that backup done anyway.

Source: Windows Insider Program

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • lilmoe - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    If Windows 10 (any build) was previously activated on a device via whatever method; RTM upgrade or via the insider program, then said device will be permanently activated on Windows 10 instantly when you install, or automatically after a short while.

    This has been sort of confirmed. I'll post a link if I find where I've read it.

    Microsoft are pushing Windows 10 hard. There are lots of reports that pirated copies of Windows 7 and 8.x are getting activated upgrades to Windows 10.

    In short, no one needs to worry about activation. lol
  • royalcrown - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    I haven't tried it again, I just said it did not work when i tried it on the 29th. May have been too soon or the option I chose for my usb key.
  • royalcrown - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    I did get activated then redo the clean install. That is when I had the key blocked business, so I then just reisnstalled 10 over a new, clean 8.1.
  • piiman - Saturday, August 1, 2015 - link

    "I did get activated then redo the clean install. That is when I had the key blocked business, so I then just reisnstalled 10 over a new, clean 8.1."

    The servers were being hammered I got same message but kept hitting "activate button" and it finally activated.
  • yannigr2 - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    Are they morons there at Microsoft? I am using tools that can resume a download from 2000 (Jetcar/Flashget) but in 2015, the programmers at Microsoft that are given simple tasks like this tool are probably a few kids that where just offered their first temporary job at Microsoft.

    I used the x64 tool to start downloading the ISO and manually disconnected from the internet just to see how this tool will react. Then reconnected. Well, the tool didn't resumed. After 15 minutes doing nothing, not resuming the download, I closed it and reopened it. It started the download from the beginning. It's 2015 you morons. Quick the programmer's job and go to McDonalds.
  • reign99 - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    With download speeds these days being nothing like they were in 2000, building in download resumes seems pointless. Sure, the download may take a little bit of time during a world-freaking-wide roll out, but once that's caught up it won't be long.

    In 2000 you could spend days downloading something. Resume was kind of important then. Not so much now. But given your level of anger over the lack of the feature, maybe they should have done it just to calm you down.

    Now get back to your McDonalds job.
  • Coup27 - Monday, August 3, 2015 - link

    Think you need to get a life mate.
  • hulu - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    I did this for my two computers. Read about it at Tom's HW.

    The Windows 8.1 one (2014) upgraded without any major problems.

    My older Windows 7 (i5 750 from 2010) started exhibiting BSODs anytime I tried to reboot. Sometimes it would repair with one go, sometimes it would take multiple tries. Couldn't fix it with multiple tries, so ended up doing a fresh install.

    So as always, there is a chance something may go wrong. Better be prepared to not have a working computer for a while, or to spend a couple of hours getting it back in working order (with the applications and tools you need).

    You need to upgrade once per computer to get the license transferred. After that as long as you don't change your components, you can fresh install and the OS will be authorized automatically. Just skip the product key queries, since product keys from previous Windowses won't be recognized.

    Since once of my computers was eligible for the Home version and the other for Professional, I downloaded both images. The Home version is 2.98 GiB and the Pro is 3.11 GiB, so both fit on 4 GB USB sticks. Be warned, that all data previously on the stick will be lost.
  • royalcrown - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    It didn't activate for me on a clean install. I had to upgrade again, trust me, I did the upgrade then clean install and got some jabber about key being blocked, so I reinstalled 8.1 and upgraded fine a 2nd time.
  • jabber - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    Or you could have just let it run through in one go as intended and as everyone else would have used it and you wouldn't have had to post that.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now