Microsoft is providing Windows 10 as a free update for most computers running Windows 7 or later. But the company is doing a phased rollout, which means that even if you signed up for the free update, you might not be prompted to download and install Windows 10 today.
For the most part that’s a good thing, because Microsoft plans to keep an eye on the installation process and update the system in the coming weeks to address any issues.
Don’t want to wait? There are a few ways to get Windows 10 right now.
Option 1: Force Windows Update to download Windows 10
This is probably the quickest and easiest way to upgrade a PC that’s already running Windows 7 or later.
Just open the Start Menu or Start Screen, type “cmd” into the search bar, and when you see Command Prompt, right-click that option and choose “run as administrator.”
Next, type this command
That’s it. When you open Windows Update, you should see that your computer is downloading Windows 10 and preparing to install it.
Option 2: Create a bootable disc or USB flash drive
Want to create bootable media that you can use to install Windows 10? This method might come in handy if you plan to update multiple computers and don’t want to wait for the OS to download on all of them. It also gives you media you can use to re-install the operating system if necessary.
All you have to do is visit the Download Windows 10 web page and choose the 32-bit or 64-bit tool, depending on whether you’re planning to install Windows 10 32-bit or Windows 10 64-bit software. Then run the tool and follow the instructions.
The Windows 10 media creation tool is less than 20MB, but you’ll need a blank USB flash drive or DVD with at least 4GB of free space for the Windows 10 installer.
Once you’ve created your installation media, you can boot your computer from the flash drive or DVD to begin the Windows upgrade process. Alternately, you can run the setup.exe file from the root directory of the media to begin the install process.
Note that you can use the tool to perform a clean install rather than an upgrade — but you may need to enter a valid Windows license key under some circumstances if you do that. You can find more details in the FAQ.
Also note that you can install Windows 10 32-bit on a system with a 64-bit processor, but not vice versa… and if you have a PC with a 64-bit chip that’s running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 32-bit, you’re only eligible for a free upgrade to the 32-bit version of Windows 10.
The utility will let you install Windows 10 Home, Window 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home Single Language, or Windows 10 Home China, depending on the version of Windows you’re currently running.
Option 3: Use the Media Creation Tool to perform an upgrade
Don’t want to create a bootable drive? You can choose the “Upgrade this PC now” option when you first run the media creation tool mentioned in option 2.
This will download and install Windows 10 on your system without creating bootable media.