It may sound like a dry topic, but some of us really need to understand Windows upgrade limitations in 2024. Microsoft has created some pinch-points, and it affects people who own older computers. Let me break this up into two sections:

Windows 7/8 Can No Longer Be Upgraded to 10

For a long time, Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers could “get” Windows 10. The upgrade might take a long time, but Microsoft would easily detect your old license and morph into a Windows 10 llicense, for free.

Well, last fall, they finally and fully closed that opportunity. Now, if you try to update your Win7 to Win10, you might:

  • meet with failure
  • get a Win10 computer that is plagued with licensing and pirated-software alerts
  • be prompted to pay ($140) for a new license

I don’t like any of these possibilities. Do not attempt to upgrade your Win7/8 computer to Win10!

Your Windows 10 PC Might Not Be Eligible for Windows 11

Microsoft has made an app to tell you if your computer can upgrade to Windows 11, but that’s not really necessary. On a Win10 computer, just click Start -> Settings -> Update & Security. This panel, where you download regular Microsoft updates, will also tell you if this computer can run Windows 11 or not.

If this panel tells you that your computer is not allowed a Windows 11 upgrade, you’ll see this sort of verbiage:

Windows Upgrade Limitations in 2024

Some people are crafting ways around this block. If you go looking, there are steps to upgrade these computers to Windows 11, but I do not recommend them. There are unknown risks in forcing Windows 11 where it shouldn’t go. I wouldn’t accept those risks. I wouldn’t want you to, either.

Other Miscellany

  • If you have a Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine, there is no way that it could ever be upgraded to Windows 11. Do not try it.
  • Remember that Windows 10 reaches its end of life on October 14, 2025. If you have an older, non-Win11 system, you should factor this in to all decisions regarding OS upgrades and tech purchases.
  • If your Windows 10 PC says that it is compatible with Windows 11, great! But no need to rush. You are perfectly safe in holding off on that free upgrade, up until 10/14/2025.
  • Windows 10 computers, that were previously upgraded from Win7/8, should now not be erased/formatted and put through a reinstallation of Windows 10. Because the Windows 10 activation servers have been turned off, an OS reinstallation on these machines might lead to license errors and a block to future updates.