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  • Is it still possible to get a Win 8.1 upgrade on Win 7?

    Posted on LHiggins Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 8.1 Questions: Win 8.1 (and Win 8) Is it still possible to get a Win 8.1 upgrade on Win 7?

    This topic contains 19 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

    • Author
    • #243121 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I am working on figuring out my next steps ahead of the Win 7 EOL and have a question about possibly upgrading my current laptop from Win 7 to Win 8.1 to buy some time. My laptop still works fine, but is several years old now, so I though that such an upgrade might be possible.

      Not sure how to get a copy of 8.1 – and thought I’d see if anyone thought that was a possibility before getting too far into it. I’m not sure this laptop could go all the way to Win 10 Pro, which is why I thought Win 81. might be an option.


    • #243124 Reply

      Da Boss

      You may still find Win8/8.1 offered, but I would be very skeptical, at this point, that the license keys are legit. Unless you know the source, proceed with care.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #243125 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Thanks! Do you think that my local computer repair shop might be able to help with this? I was hoping that just upgrading the laptop might work and that way all of my “stuff” would be preserved and not need to be transferred to something new.


      • #243127 Reply

        Da Boss

        You can try your local computer shop. Be sure they provide you with an authentic Win8/8.1 sticker or an original set of install disks with a license key included. Even local computer shops are known to do non-legal things. I would hesitate to buy from EBay or third party vendors from places like Amazon online.

        I bought, I think, three upgrades from MS when Win8 first came out. I don’t recall there being a preserve-everything type upgrade. But age may be a factor in my remembering 🙂  🙂

        • #243130 Reply

          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks for that advice. I will check with the shop and see if they can help. They are pretty upstanding, so I’d trust them if they did have a license. Question would be if my system could actually “take” the upgrade.

          I was considering Win 8 since besides not knowing if my computer could handle a Win 10 upgrade, I was concerned about a feature in Win 10 that I’ve read about online – using a great deal of data. I had posted a question about it in the Win 10 area:

          I had thought that perhaps Win 8 might be gentler on my system and not have this usage overrun problem as well.

          Looks like I am going to have no choice but to get something new sooner or later – for a lot of reasons, I guess. Not wild about Windows, but not sure if other options will be good ones.

          Thanks for the help! Much appreciated!

          • #243131 Reply

            Da Boss

            I love my Macs, and the learning curve is not that great.

            Do you have any friends that have Linux? Maybe you could take a look at that.

            • #243134 Reply

              AskWoody Plus

              Yes, I am inclined toward a Mac actually, but my husband wants to get a big huge 17″ laptop – and I don’t think Apple makes one that big – or at least not one that I could afford – LOL!

              I have been looking into Linux, too – and I can’t quite get my head around it. There is a way to “try” it out that I’ve seen mentioned here in the discussions, but haven’t ventured that far. And I don’t know anyone who has it to try out.

              If I was to try Linux – would it make sense to get a 17″ PC laptop with Win 10 and the put Linux on it? Probably questions for one of the Linux forums.

              I really just wish that there was a way to keep Win 7 next year. It seems that all of the supposed innovations in Win 10 aren’t really great for someone on a limited data plan. Unfortunately, where I live there is no unlimited access like Spectrum – so we are forced to use either a limited satellite or hotspot type of connection – with data caps. I am worried about the possibility that having to upgrade to something other than Win 7 will create data overages and that won’t be  good thing. That’s part of why I am trying to find ways to make Win 10 – or 8.1 – work more like Win 7 as far as no Cortana, no Microsoft account, etc. but not sure if those will actually help.

              Thanks for your suggestions – still a work in progress, but I want to try to explore a lot of possibilities before I need to make any decisions.


            • #243144 Reply

              Da Boss

              It’s not Cortana or a MS account that will eat your data, but the Cumulative Updates. Even Win7 updates are getting huge these days.

              Actually, you could go visit a friend or family (that do have unlimited data) once a month. 🙂

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #243150 Reply


              It’s not Cortana or a MS account that will eat your data, but the Cumulative Updates. Even Win7 updates are getting huge these days.

              In case of Win 10, UUP should in theory take care of limiting the CU sizes by installing deltas only. There is a preview patch for UUP released in the last few days which is supposed to make the protocol even better.
              Win 7 supports the Express technology which again is supposed to make the updates smaller.

              I don’t know if the UUP or Express updates are very effective, but the recommendations made here often to download from the Catalog, cancel all those advantages and create potential scope for errors in updating the end-user systems.

              The buzzword in the industry these days is automation and while we are not there yet, there is not much reason to recommend more control to people who don’t understand much about the technology even if they get that level of control. Instead I think we should educate the end-users to use best practices to maximise their return on the time invested in maintaining the systems and use the remainder of the time in using the systems. I think I am more aligned to Susan Bradley’s philosophy here than to the mainstream of the forum as is now.

              Telemetry on the other hand, as annoying as it is, seems to be widespread and there is not much that can be done about it. More recently, I was looking to update my maps on the car navigation system and when I installed the software which allows downloading the maps to USB, I was asked if I agree to send anonymous data to the software company. Is there any important software provided left which does not do telemetry? I suppose the small ones don’t even ask for permission and they go under the radar anyway and “just do it”.

    • #243145 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      Right – but on a metered connection, the updates won’t download unexpectedly, correct? And with a laptop, I guess there are ways around the data thing. But Cortana and MS account also pose some privacy issues as well.

      Thanks for all of the help!! 🙂


    • #243149 Reply


      I am running Windows 10 1809 on 2 laptops, one from 2010 and another one from 2011.
      I have been running all Windows 10 versions including early previews and did not have my major problems, although there were many annoyances created by Microsoft along the way and there will still be many more. I have never considered Windows 8/8.1, although it is a good and reliable OS as it is now and modern enough as well when compared to Windows 7. The reason I have not considered Windows 8.1 is that it has very limited adoption and as such limited support from the community.
      My machines have both i7 CPUs and have had RAM and hard-disk upgraded. One was cutting edge at that time of the purchase, Dell XPS 15 while the other one was a relatively cheap HP discount.
      I don’t know if your specifications are similar or not, but I have provided you examples of hardware running everything since Windows 7 to Windows 10 and will be running future releases until the motherboards will eventually get to their end of physical life.
      If you run an i3, i5 or i7 CPU and have about 6 GB RAM (uncommon) or 8 GB RAM or more (common), I would say go for Windows 10 64-bit. The hard-disk technology only limits the performance and not compatibility or functionality.
      Please be aware that Windows OS 32-bit cannot be upgraded in place to Windows OS 64-bit, in which case a clean install would be required.
      Do not consider 32-bit OS in 2019 for new installation as the 32-bit technology reached its limits, either in a natural way or more likely due to the industry push, but this is less relevant.

      • #315509 Reply


        One comment regarding the so-called ‘dearth’ of 8.1 installations and support… it’s important to remember that Server 2012 R2 has a lot of installs, and the 2012 R2 updates work with 8.1

    • #243173 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      You probably can’t get drivers for new laptops for W7/8, so W10 may be your only Windows option. As long as you run anti virus software and are careful about where you surf / what you open you should get along fine without updates for a while – you will need to install updates at install so having a good connection when you first fire the new machine up is a very good idea.

      Once the machine is running you can set the wireless to “metered” and Windows will ask before downloading updates. The AV probably won’t ask so you need some data available.

      And get a USB hard disk and backup (image and files) regularly using one of the free backup products (Aomei, EaseUS, Macrium etc). then if anything does go pear shaped you can recover easily.

      cheers, Paul

      • #243215 Reply

        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks! It does seem that my options are going to be Win 10 or Linux. Glad that there is plenty of time to sort it all out. And as long as the metered setting does work, I should be OK. 🙂

    • #243180 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      … well, if you have a *retail* version of Windows 10,  I understand you’d then always have the downgrade right and would be allowed to install 8.1 instead, even with new purchases now, reducing your problem to acquiring working install media for the same type you’re licensed for (Home or Pro) – I think? OEM-licensed may or may not come with downgrade rights.

      For actually being able to succeed with the installation… driver support is model-dependent, but Intel 7gen or newer processors tends to mean Windows 10 only.


      One thing I really prefer about Linux is the ease of updating and controlling updates. Of course that’s distribution-dependent but still… and for Windows there’s always the option of cutting the updates off with a firewall. If it can’t transfer any data you won’t get an overage, right? Means you’ll need to download updates manually with the firewall opened at least for that bit (or while elsewhere) but at least there are things like cumulative update packages these days.

      • #243350 Reply


        This is incorrect.  Downgrade rights apply only to OEM versions of Windows 10 Professional and Windows 8/8.1 Professional.  Home versions are excluded, retail versions are excluded.

        Were I in the OP’s shoes, I’d try using a newish version of ShowKeyPlus to see if a Win 8 key is in the UEFI of the machine(s) in question.  There was a period of time when OEMs were at pains to advertise downgrade rights for their Win 8 Pro offerings, and a few went so far as to actually ship some machines with Win7 Pro installed, i.e. “pre-downgraded.”   A long shot perhaps, but worth checking if the machine(s) are running OEM Win7 Pro.

        That said, my advice to the OP is to just bite the bullet, install Win 10, and suffer along with the rest of us.  Even though the free upgrade program has ended, it’s not impossible that an upgrade installation of Win 10 will activate ok.  Failing that, you’ll have to buy a Win10 license, and in that case you’ll be doing yourself a big favor if you spring for the Pro version which lets you more easily defer updates, turn off Cortana and web searches, etc.

    • #243214 Reply

      AskWoody Plus

      I don’t know if your specifications are similar or not, but I have provided you examples of hardware running everything since Windows 7 to Windows 10 and will be running future releases until the motherboards will eventually get to their end of physical life. If you run an i3, i5 or i7 CPU and have about 6 GB RAM (uncommon) or 8 GB RAM or more (common), I would say go for Windows 10 64-bit.

      Thanks! My laptop probably would need some work before it would comfortably be able to handle Win 10 – I have an i5 but only 4 GB ram, so things get a bit sticky with it even with Win 7.  And I am not even sure that it is worth doing much of an upgrade on it – but if I could get it to run Win 10 that might be worth looking into, at least for the shorter term.

      • #243382 Reply


        You may consider running Windows 10 32-bit with 4GB RAM, but I personally don’t think that it is worth the effort. The 32-bit systems are on their way out even if they are still supported and there are use cases for them. This trend is driven by the industry and not by technology which can support large amounts of RAM using the 36-bit PAE technology, as it can be seen on the 32-bit server versions.

        • #244037 Reply


          forget running 32bit/x86 editions of Windows 10 when using 7th gen Intel CPUs (or higher) or any AMD Ryzen CPUs (or greater) as the drivers for these are 64bit only, especially onboard Intel Graphics products:

          even AMD & nVidia are phasing out 32bit driver support for their modern graphics products.

          The only reason to run a 32bit version of Windows 10 is on older hardware (about any PC made before Win10 first came out)

          • #315531 Reply

            AskWoody Lounger

            The only reason to run a 32bit version of Windows 10 is on older hardware (about any PC made before Win10 first came out)

            … and for systems made between 2005 and then, depends on specific hardware.

            There’s a lot of hardware out there that originally shipped with Vista, that works better as 64bit nowadays.

            That said, yes, PAE could have been a lot more useful, if only… oh well, not like all the motherboards included even enough address lines for the full 32 address bits. And that with otherwise 64-bit capable processors, too – I have an example… hm, wonder if it’d still start…

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