W7 to W10 – virtually ;)

Note: Valid at 01/08/2015

When I first got my new desktop machine a couple of years ago, I was a little wary of Windows 8, so I did a dual install of Windows 7 Pro (OEM) as well. Given Xubuntu is my weapon of choice, I had a triple booting machine in the end. Once I sorted Windows 8 out I never went near my Windows 7 install. With the arrival of Windows 10 a few days ago, and with the offer of a free upgrade from Windows 7, it didn’t make much sense to have two installs of the same OS running directly, I therefore looked into virtualising my Windows 7, to then upgrade it to Windows 10, which I could then access directly from within Xubuntu, should I need it.

I use Virtualbox.

  1. Licensing
    Did a good hunt around about this, and it seemed OK to install my OEM W7 virtually, given it was on the same hardware, so this was good to go.
  2. Installation
    Create a new virtual machine, and make sure you choose Windows 10 (x64) as the VM OS, even though you are installing W7,  as the W10 install will bork because of there not being any “CompareExhange128”. I generally go with the default settings, but choose a bridged network adapter so the VM is available on my home LAN. You are probably going to need at least a 40GB dynamic hard drive. If you miss this bit, then you may need to increase the size of your vdi later on. I found a good tip for doing this quickly, with snapshots too here 

    Carry out a normal installation, and once complete take a snapshot (in case of any cockups later on!)

  3. Setup
    Install all updates, and keep installing and checking for updates until all done.
    Take a snapshot
    Install Avast Free Antivrius just to be on the safe side.
    Take a snapshot
    W7 was upto 22GB by this stage
  4. Activation
    Start>Computer – right Click > Properties
    Scroll down and click on “Change Product Key”
    Enter Product Key
    If this works, fine, if not, like with me, you may have to do phone activation.
    I recommend using the smartphone approach as this is a bit easier than having to listen to all the codes. Link provided to me was http://bit.ly/1DW32Hr.
    If all goes well you are now activated and genuine. was pleased with this 😉
    Take a snapshot 

    OK, by now we should have a happy W7 install all ready to receive W10. You may need to ensure that your W7 install is on the list to be updated to W10. If so I suggest you use this batch file to check for everything. Let’s go and get W10.

  5. W10
    You will need to go to the W10 download area, and choose your flavour (x86/x64) and whether you want USB or ISO. For my virtual machine it was easier to use the ISO.
  6. Insert the ISO to the virtual CD/DVD drive of your W7 VM, and it should autorun, you can then follow the instructions to install W10.As I was on an almost fresh install of W7, I chose for the W10 install to save nothing from W7It will expect you to have a microsoft account, but you can skip this and just use a local user. After a few reboots and updates (if selected) you should eventually end up with a screen like this:
    Windows 10 Desktop following installation

    Windows 10 Desktop following installation

    Wasn’t sure if I needed to but I installed guest additions again, rebooted and logged in. Right clicked on the desktop, chose “Display Settings” and W10 went to full screen :)

    Had to reinstall Avast again, which comes with Chrome Browser :)

  7. Checking the size of the install, it had dropped slightly to 21GB, there is a folder in C: called Windows.old which should be deletable, given it is 10GB in size!
  8. On checking W10 was already activated
    Take a snapshot !!
  9. Now to have a play around with it, and see what all the fuss is about :)

One thought on “W7 to W10 – virtually ;)

  1. Having done this I went round the house updating everything in sight. 2 W8 laptops and W7 laptop, and my W8 desktop, plus another W7 & a W8 laptop for family and friends. The upgrades were smooth and simple. Takes a couple of reboots on some laptops to get everything working (e.g. touchpad).

    Son/wife managed between them to invoke a Critical error on one ex W8 laptop. Think this was caused by an inappropriate shutdown. A reboot and restart and allowing updates to complete resolved this.

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