Microsoft Halts Transition from Windows 7 to Windows 11
Microsoft has officially terminated the lengthy arrangement that permitted users with Windows 7 and Windows 8 keys to upgrade to Windows 11 for free, initially via a Windows 10 upgrade. Last month, Microsoft had posted an update on its device partner center, signaling the end of the Windows 7-to-11 upgrade path. However, users reported that the older OS keys were still functioning for accessing the latest operating system. This situation has now changed.
Last month, Neowin attempted to use a Windows 7 key to access the Windows 11 beta Canary build but encountered failure. At that time, these keys were successful in activating Windows 11 version 22H2. Nevertheless, The Verge confirmed on Wednesday that these keys no longer activate the previous OS version. While the key could still be used for installing the OS, it couldn't activate the product.
The free upgrade program originally surfaced in 2015 with the release of Windows 10, even extending an invitation to old Windows pirates to legitimize their software. Microsoft initially promised a one-year free upgrade window, which quietly stretched to two years due to certain loopholes with Microsoft's Accessibility Site.
The timeline kept extending, and now, eight years later, Microsoft has ultimately discontinued the Windows 7-to-11 upgrade path.
It's worth noting that Windows 7 has long been obsolete, and earlier this year, Microsoft ceased providing security updates for both Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows 10 will follow a similar path into obsolescence on October 14, 2025, as Microsoft intends to terminate all software support for the older OS.
Resourceful Windows users had been exploiting a workaround to avoid the $130 price tag of Windows 11 Home by obtaining a Windows 7 key and using it to upgrade their systems. While a free upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is still available, some users might be hesitating due to concerns about certain features in Windows 11.
The most significant update for Windows 11 was released in September of the prior year, introducing enhancements such as File Explorer tabs and the Focus Session feature. However, Microsoft's pervasive integration of AI chatbots throughout the OS has garnered mixed reactions, with some finding it somewhat overwhelming.