How to Upgrade Windows 10, using Windows 10 ISO

Microsoft has made available the Windows 10 ISO for download. In our last post, we saw how you could use Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to create an Installation media. In this post, we will see how to use this Windows 10 ISO to upgrade your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 computer to Windows 10.

If you upgrade to Windows 10, the new OS will take the product key and activation details from your earlier OS. These are then saved on Microsoft servers, along with your PC details.

If you clean install Windows the first time, you may face activation problems. If you performed an upgrade the first time, activated Windows 10, and then clean installed Windows 10 on the same PC, then there will be no activation issues, as the OS will pull activation details from Microsoft servers.

So, if your Windows 10 isn’t activated, we suggest you not perform a clean install the first time. First Upgrade, Activate and then Clean Install.

You might want to first backup your important data to an external drive before you proceed with the upgrade process. Also, make sure you have Windows login password ready. And although you won’t need it during the upgrade process, it might be a good idea to find and down your Windows product key somewhere.

Upgrade to Windows 10 using ISO

Browse to the folder where you saved the Windows 10 ISO file and right-click on it. Select Open with Windows File Explorer.


You will be able to see the contents of the ISO file. Click on setup.


The setup will begin, and you will be asked if you want to download updates now or later.

Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO and Media Creation Tool

Clicking on Next will start downloading the updates.

2 Install or Upgrade, using Windows 10 ISO

This will be followed by, the setup getting a few things ready.

3 Install or Upgrade, using Windows 10 ISO

Once you are all set, you will be asked to Accept the license terms.

4 Media Creation Tool

Click on Accept to proceed. You will see a Making sure …. message. The setup will make sure that your PC is ready to install. If anything requires your attention, it will be highlighted.

9 Media Creation Tool

It could be a message about Language Packs, media Center or anything else. Here you can also click on the Choose what to keep link-

  • Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings
  • Keep personal files only
  • Nothing.

10 Media Creation Tool

Click on Confirm > Next. The setup will check if your PC has enough space and then a Ready to install message.

11 Media Creation Tool

Click on Install to proceed. Your computer will commence installation and restart several times.

6 Media Creation Tool

Finally, you will see the following screen at boot.

7 upgrade to windows 10

Once the upgrade is completed, you will see the following welcome screen.

9 Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO

After logging for the first time, you may see the following screen. You can click on Use Express setting, or you may Customize.

10 Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO

If you choose to Customize, you will be able to personalize your speech, typing, location settings …

11 Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO

… set browser, connectivity and error reporting settings.

12 Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO

You will be informed about the new apps in Windows 10. You may choose your default apps here or move on.

13 Install or Upgrade using Windows 10 ISO

Finally, after a few ‘Taking care of a few things’ messages, you will be taken to your Windows 10 desktop.


Once on your desktop, there are a few things you need to do after you upgrade to Windows 10. We will cover that shortly in a separate post.

Related read: How to Boot or Repair Windows 10 using the Installation Media.

Clean install Windows 10

If you wish to clean install Windows 10 on your computer, burn the Windows 10 ISO using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to create an Installation media. Make sure your BIOS settings allow you to boot from a USB. Plug in the USB and restart your PC.

On the restart, your PC will boot from the USB, and the installation process will start. The process is more or less the same. You will, however, be asked to choose the system drive and or if you want to format the drive.

This post shows how to clean install Windows 10 using a USB.

Read our Windows 10 review and become a ninja with these Windows 10 tips and tricks.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Stephen

    in case of clean install the only chance to activate windows it’s buy a key? right?

  2. Ziggy

    Hi Anand. I”m trying to upgrade one of my Windows 7 computers to Windows 10. The
    setup files have been downloaded to my computer but I have not received a
    prompt to install Windows 10. All I get is a message to “wait” but when I check the Windows Update log, I receive multiple errors for 80240020. Will this method of upgrade work and, if so, do I need to input a registration key or will it just merrily do it’s work?

  3. Raymond

    I’ve tried this on 2 PC’s to upgrade from Windows 7/8 to 10. Right after it finishes “Getting Updates” it asks me for a Product Key. The versions of Windows 7/8 I’ve tried this on both say they are activated and Genuine when checking in ‘System,’ they are also OEM machines from Lenovo and HP. Anyone know why it’s not automatically getting the product keys as stated in the beginning of the article?? thanks.

  4. - dutchman24 -

    Is it possible after a clean install of w10 to install W7 in dualboot on the same machine and upgrade this w7 version to Windows 10 to use this license key to activate the first clean install of w10. And i would like to know once the first w10 clean install is activated if I can delete the 2nd w10/w7 upgrade without désactivation of the first w10 install.

  5. You can use the license only once.

  6. Sameer

    I m having the same problem

  7. Fuhffgy

    I’m having the same problem

  8. Raymond

    the fix for this for me was to not create usb media from the media creation tool. run the tool again but instead choose to download the ISO. once you have the ISO you can run setup from there and it will work.

  9. Carl

    Has anyone tried this with an ISO over a LAN? I want to upgrade multiple computers, but leave the ISO on the server.

    In other words, does the installer get everything it needs from the ISO before loosing access to the network due to the multiple reboots it does during upgrading?


  10. Vrajesh


    I am trying to get upgrade to Win.10 there is an iCon on Right side cotner of my computer and when i click on it it says starting download, since last 12 hours..
    I don’t know why its not going forward…
    I have tried many times…
    Please give me solution…
    I am so excited to use Windows 10.
    Thank you

  11. Give it some time. Maybe a day or two more and see.

  12. Vrajesh

    Thanks…! I will try that too… by the way if you are concern about my internet, then I don’t think so because i am using 5G.
    Thanks though, i will try that way too now…

  13. TriadWarfare

    Upgrade first, then clean install. Your license should carry over

  14. Stephen

    I have solved 9 months ago

  15. bilal

    If I download the iSo using download manager like dap or idm and then transfer it to my laptop and then run the setup to upgrade my existing pc,will it keep the current windows 7 key or ask me for a new one.

  16. Blue_Oak

    This site does not revolve around you. Others will see your question and benefit from an answer.

  17. Stephen

    and from 3 day to the end of free upgrade your reply it’s totally useless

  18. Arronicus

    I found TriadWarfare’s reply helpful to me, not useless at all. I just upgraded from 7 to 10 today. Thank you Triad and Blue_oak.

  19. Stephen

    after a year with a tons of pages on the web that explains all information for the upgrade, you have solved today with this discussion? lol

  20. Lofty

    I am using Vista and I want to upgrade to Windows 10.I have downloaded Windows 10 but I do not know how to install it.Can anybody help.

  21. Pro12

    i have this is error “this pc can’t run windows 10” please help me

  22. Fr V

    I can’t run the setup.exe file on windows xp sp3, it says not a valid 32-bit program.

  23. Lola Papa

    I bought a HP computer with window 10 pro ,version 1803, os build 17134.228. That is going to expire soon. What I have to do to get a window that does not expire?

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