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Microsoft ends Windows 11 upgrade path

Until now, users could take advantage of an old offer to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8 to 10 or 11, but Microsoft has officially ended that method.

Microsoft Windows 7 8 10 11 upgrade ends: a Windows 11 bloom logo with a red x in front appears against a swirling, blue background.

Microsoft has blocked the upgrade path from old Windows 7 or 8 keys to Windows 10 or 11. Although Microsoft’s offer to upgrade officially ended on July 29, 2016, users were still able to make the Windows 11 upgrade in a roundabout fashion by upgrading from an older OS. Not anymore.

New Windows operating systems are often accompanied by controversy, especially when they follow in the footsteps of a beloved OS like Windows 7. Adoption of Windows 8 was poor, with many users unhappy with the changes Microsoft made to UI and the start button’s removal.

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As a result, confidence in the new OS was low, leading to Microsoft launching Windows 10 as a free OS upgrade in 2015 to give users a chance to try out the new platform for free. This worked well, and Windows 10 gained popularity rapidly, bolstered by a more intuitive design for desktop users, among other things.

But then a step backwards was taken with Windows 11, at least initially. The latest platform was beset by issues at launch, especially for gamers. Even systems with the best graphics cards weren’t safe from issues, and one stutter bug was actually caused by having a high-end gaming mouse.

So, as a sop to those less enthusiastic about upgrading, Microsoft has continued to allow users to upgrade from older Windows 7 and 8 activation keys to Microsoft 10 and 11, despite this officially ending in 2016.

Now, Microsoft has put the kibosh on that upgrade path, saying its “free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well.” Luckily, or not, depending on your feelings towards the latest OS, Windows 10 users can still upgrade to Windows 11 for free.

If this is your sign to take the plunge and upgrade to Microsoft’s latest OS, check out PCGamesN’s guide on how to install Windows 11. It’s still free for existing Windows 10 users, but you can buy a key if you’re building a PC for the first time.