We have a little office for our local sports club here. In this office we have three PCs which are all running on Ubuntu.

Because all of the PC users in this office are not that well educated in using Linux, I want to upgrade all three PCs to Windows 10.

Can I get three cheap Windows XP copies and just upgrade them for free? (I know, until 29th July.) Or is the upgrade restricted for copies that are sold before a special date?

Which alternatives I've got to get Windows for these 3 PC's? Our club isn't that big and we have to save money where we can. :)

  • 2
    If I remember right Insider builds are free, so you're trading even more data collection/telemetry for a free OS. Depending on your privacy requirements this may be an option if nothing else works. Jul 21, 2016 at 16:13
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    If the PC Users are over 80, they wont have much experience with Win10. And switching from Win7/8 to 10 or to Ubuntu isn't that much different. For example the settings menu is split in two menus, so it can be VERY confusing
    – Motte001
    Jul 22, 2016 at 14:12
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    @AndréBorie They will need it for productiv working, so preview builts will not be a good choice. Every alpha or beta software is unstable and only for testing!
    – Motte001
    Jul 22, 2016 at 14:14
  • Windows 10 isn't free, Insider Preview builds, can only be used by people with a valid license. My 76 year old father loves Windows 10. Windows 10 is Windows in every way.
    – Ramhound
    Jul 22, 2016 at 22:20
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    "Our club isn't that big and we have to save money where we can" I'd like a brand new Corvette, but alas, sometimes we just can't afford what we want. Jul 23, 2016 at 15:53

4 Answers 4


The free upgrade for Windows 10 is only available for Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. But if you act quick, you can buy a license for Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 and use it for the free upgrade, before July 29th.

The best idea though, is to use Media Creation Tool to download and burn an ISO of Windows 10, and use your Windows 7 license keys to do a fresh install of Win 10. You can use any of Win 7, 8, 8.1 or 10 license keys. However, you can't use XP keys for that.

EDIT: In the comments, @cybermonkey suggested that the Media Creation Tool is the only solution to get the upgrade, because the old version of Windows has to be installed for at least 30 days before the deadline. However, this does not apply to clean installs so you can still use you Win 7/8/8.1 license key to install and activate Win 10.


Mary Mary quite contrary

You state "we have to save money where we can"...
...and "We have a little office for our local sportsclub"...

... well remain with Linux! :-)

This is probably an answer that you would not like to read.
In your specific case migrating to windows it is NOT THE RIGHT SOLUTION.
It is not a religious choice it is a specific one.

In brief: the decision to migrate from an OS to another with a limited budget will have consequences in the present and the future. I discourage such decision without an accurate costs and benefits analysis related to the needs of your working place. The decision to migrate to meet the needs or the preferences of a user, even if volunteer and 80yr old, have to be thoughtful.

The situation in details:

  • The place is a "little office with 3 PC of a local sports-club".
    There are 3 PC with Ubuntu --> The work made till now is made under Ubuntu.

  • The goal is "we have to save money where we can".

  • The PC-Users are not well educated with Linux, especially one, 80 yr old.

  • The needs of a working place like the one you described usually are: an office suite (word processor, maybe a spreadsheet, maybe maybe a slide show presentation program), an email client, a browser, eventually some programs to deal with images and videos.
    An extended need can be to develop, manage, and keep online, of an Internet site (I said WordPress because I sense you have one).

Some consequences with a migration:

  • you will pay for licenses (with a discount now), and you will probably have to pay for MS Office for full and so on... If you plan to use an alternative office suite (LibreOffice, StarOffice, OpenOffice...) then you will have no advantage for this migrating to a new OS.

  • You may have to migrate all the old documents to the new OS. Usually you may experience some problem with page formats, pictures that change page... If you have macros in UNO they should be a problem in MS Office.
    Even if the migration will be with few problems, you have to spend some time (equivalent of money) to check and to fix it.

  • You will train people to work under Windows. That means that in future when you will need to buy a new computer you will need to pay again for the new windows license to keep the same OS (maybe even without discounts).

  • Slow downs:

    • You have to keep running an antivirus, (and maybe an anti-malware). This will use a good part of one core of your CPU, and will access often to disk.

    • Even if many optimizations were done with Windows 10, there remain the general slow down experienced with old hardware and a new OS.

  • Legal changes/consequences. Changing the OS is more than a simple upgrade of a program. In general you will change the condition to use your machine, in particular you pass from the Ubuntu terms [ub] to the windows ones[w10]. Even if yours is a local sport-club, it is always a company and not a private user. Looking inside the MS software terms you can spot some limitations, specifically, e.g., point 2.c(v), 2.d(v) and some wide concessions about the privacy of your working place, point 3, that you have to communicate to your bosses and evaluate in order to know if it is acceptable for the company:

    2.c.(v) use the software as server software, for commercial hosting, ... install the software on a server and allow users to access it remotely...

    2.d.(v) Remote access: No more than once every 90 days, you may designate a single user who physically uses the licensed device as the licensed user. The licensed user may access the licensed device from another device using remote access technologies. Other users, at different times, may access the licensed device from another device using remote access technologies, but only on devices separately licensed to run the same or higher edition of this software.

    3 ... By accepting this agreement and using the software you agree that Microsoft may collect, use, and disclose the information as described in the Microsoft Privacy Statement aka.ms/privacy (ed: click Learn More below Personal Data We Collect to see), and as may be described in the user interface associated with the software features.

An alternative solution:

  • If you go ahead with the KDE version of Ubuntu (Kubuntu), you will have keyboard shortcuts similar to the windows ones (Ctrl-C,Ctrl-V,Ctrl-X...) and the pc users will feel less discomfort. Moreover you can highly custom the behaviour of the shortcuts and of the mouse to embrace the users' habits. Note that you will see more benefits on medium and long time.


Before you change the whole office IT it is critical to understand which are the real office needs... and if you discover that they are only Word+Excel+PowerPoint + Mail and browsers... well the opensource world is more more than enough.

As stated even by persons that disagree with the content of this answer, "thousands of companies that require cross-platform document management use open source office suites on Windows" and I can add, suites developed and more often patched under Linux.

So the point is: if your goal is "to save money where we can", why to pay for an OS (now and after) that you do not need in a situation of limited budget?
In your (budget) situation I may start to think to windows only to meet the need of a specific hardware or of a software that has no equivalent alternatives under Linux. Volunteer unsalaried can be useful today and disappear tomorrow. The organization of an office it is supposed to endure and to be independent from the employees' preferences.

If you nonetheless decided to go ahead with windows, you may check what each version gives you[1]. Then it can be useful in your analysis remember that:

  • From Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium you will be upgraded to Windows 10 Home.[2]
  • From Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate you will be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
    (At least good if you will start from Windows 7 Professional). [2]
  • When you will change your hardware you may need to do a reactivation. Probably it is not the case for a new HDD or a Videocard [6] but with the Motherboard you will need to do a new activation,

    A motherboard upgrade, even if you reuse storage, video, memory, and a case, is considered a new PC. In that case, if the underlying Windows license is from a retail copy, that license can be transferred. If you are upgrading (and not replacing) a motherboard on an OEM PC that was sold with Windows preinstalled, the license agreement prevents the license from being transferred. [6]

    someone said you may have to buy a new license too [7]

    1. In case of motherboard changes, you might have to buy a new license.

For the installation remember that [4],[5],[6]

  • probably you will find more convenient to do a Windows 10 Clean Install using the Media Creation Tool [4], because the upgrading can be based on the Recovery option that is normally available 30 days after.

  • that you have to be sure that your free copy of Windows 10 is activated.[5]

  • that you probably will prefer to avoid the online upgrade [6].

Thanks for the attention paid

  • 41
    This answer may not be what OP wants and in it's current form has a strong tone of FOSS evangelism, but nonetheless it is an option that should be kept in mind when shifting platforms. It is an answer, even if not popular.
    – Mokubai
    Jul 20, 2016 at 16:25
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    Ctrl+C,X,V all work out-of-the-box in standard Ubuntu as well, i think. What keyboard shortcuts are you referring to?
    – Scimonster
    Jul 20, 2016 at 19:22
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    @Scimonster Not only that, keyboard shortcuts on Ubuntu are configurable, so if a few are different from Windows, OP can just change them.
    – Fiksdal
    Jul 20, 2016 at 20:45
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    @Aron: Because FOSS world has much less threats, because most virus is developed for Windows/Mac.. Of course, you can still run an anti virus if you want opensource-sidh.blogspot.sg/2011/10/… Jul 21, 2016 at 5:17
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    @Aron ShellShock and HeartBleed aren't viruses, and aren't really relevant to desktops. Virus scanners on Linux are a bit like parachutes on a submarine. howtogeek.com/135392/…
    – gmatht
    Jul 21, 2016 at 8:07

You can't upgrade Windows XP (or Vista) to Windows 10 for free. You'd need to buy Windows 7, install all of the service packs then upgrade to Windows 10. The difference in price between Windows 7 and Windows 10 seems minimal so probably isn't worth the effort.

  • 1
    Are you sure about that? Do you have any sources? :) In serveral online shops you can get WIndows 7 for like 20€. Windows 10 costs around 100€? There is - just a little - difference in the price between these two versions. :)
    – user619277
    Jul 20, 2016 at 8:34
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    Be extremely careful about Windows when you buy it in an online store like Amazon or Ebay. Most likely the license key will already be used and your Windows won't activate, complaining "This key has already been used on another PC". Jul 20, 2016 at 8:38
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    @HendrikKalinke If you can get a legitimate copy of Windows 7 for 20€ then yes, it would be worth the effort. However the places I've seen selling Windows for that kind of price appear to be selling OEM keys which aren't legit - you really need a retail copy. Where have you seen that price for Windows 7? Jul 20, 2016 at 8:42
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    @Gareth OEM keys are still legit, they just don't entitle to access to MS tech support, you're supposed to do your own support. Even used keys can be legitimately re-sold in EU, as EU law makes such clauses in license invalid and not binding.
    – Agent_L
    Jul 20, 2016 at 10:54
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    There is no possible way you can get a legitmant Windows 7 Professional license for that price, I would be highly suspect of any license I got from that online retailer, and honestly would assume the license would end up not working. A Windows 7 Professional key when Windows 7 was new was 10x that price, you can find it today for a little cheaper, only because demand has shifted slightly towards newer versions of Windows
    – Ramhound
    Jul 20, 2016 at 11:23

Can I get three cheap Windows XP copies and just upgrade them for free?

As already noted elsewhere: no. Windows XP doesn't qualify for the upgrade.

Or is the upgrade restricted for copies that are sold before a special date?

This isn't true at all. The famous free upgrade is restricted for copies of the Windows 10 upgrade that are INSTALLED before a special date. You can't just own a Windows 7 license. You need to go through the installation process, which involves activating Windows 10 before the date. Once you do that, if you want to downgrade back to Windows 7, you can do so and you're still licensed to upgrade back to Windows 10 later, if you like. However, getting the Windows 10 license requires more than just purchasing the Win7 license. In exchange for the free upgrade, Microsoft requires that people go through the effort of getting the PC off of the old version of Microsoft Windows before the deadline. (They are really wanting people to get Windows 10 installed, and actually experience Windows 10.)

Which alternatives I've got to get Windows for these 3 PC's?

Consider getting Windows pre-installed on brand new PCs.

I decided to just use one vendor (New Egg) to show some quick examples:

Granted, I chose a computer with some rather crummy specs, but if the computers that you're currently using are old, then some of the cheaper computers being sold may be an upgrade. (Especially if you're willing to get Refurbished.)

Also check out Microsoft BizSpark for Microsoft software (if you qualify for that). As a side note, also check out TechSoup.org for any other software needs (if you are a non-profit, and qualify for that).

Note: None of the above details are meant as recommendations to proceed with. I'm just trying to throw out some ideas to open your eyes to some options, and letting you know of some requirements I have been made aware of.

Personally, I like Hastur's answer: checking out various versions of Linux (including Kubuntu) may be better. Since there are concerns about people not being tech savvy enough for Linux, they may often just need a graphical interface with a web browser: That was the main basis of a lot of Google's marketing for Chromebooks. However, you did ask for "alternatives" ... "to get Windows", which I interpreted as options that did involve getting Windows (not alternatives to doing that). My choice of New Egg was just that I felt confident that I could find prices quickly so I could make this answer quickly, not because I'm trying to encourage usage of them over any other vendor.

Also, if you're looking to save money, consider the Invisible Hand and PriceBlink browser plug-ins, which I have liked (and do recommend... okay, I am making a recommendation here), and maybe the PriceTrace Toolbar (which I learned about later).

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