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I have previously installed Win 10 Pro, via the free upgrade path from 8.1 Pro but was disappointed that my wifi card was not supported well and ended up reformatting and reinstalling 8.1 and then back to 7 in an attempt to use that card (it was supposed to be better than the dongle I currently use without issues, go figure).

Can I use my USB stick with install media to upgrade without issue? Or would I have to first install 8.1 Pro and then upgrade from 8.1? I know I can clean install just fine, but I'd like to avoid having to reinstall all my programs and such again. I can't seem to find a specific answer.

Edit: Update! I successfully went from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 Pro. The previous digital entitlement is the key element here. There was a bit of a trick, and I'm not sure if it was specific to me or a general issue but what I had to do was un-check the download updates option as part of the install as leaving that checked was causing failure.

  • You might want to check out my answer. What you want actually is possible. – Ramhound Nov 30 '16 at 22:12
  • Here for hat... – Artemix Dec 20 '16 at 12:38
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Can I use my USB stick with install media to upgrade without issue?

Your Windows 10 Professional license is a digital entitlement. This means you can install Windows 10 Professional without entering a product key, and the installation will automatically activate, because you activated your original installation of Windows 10 Professional before the July 29th 2016 deadline.

Would I have to first install 8.1 Pro and then upgrade from 8.1?

You never had to do this even before the changes to 1511, which allowed you to enter your Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 7 product key to activate your Windows 10 installation on hardware where it had never been activated on. Since you activated Windows 10 Professional, before the free upgrade offer deadline, you can simply install the current version of Windows 10 (1607) and it will automatically activate.

I know I can clean install just fine, but I'd like to avoid having to reinstall all my programs and such again. I can't seem to find a specific answer.

You can acomplish this by doing the following. You will need to upgrade your installation to Windows 10 Home. You then upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional, using the generic license key, VK7JG-NPHTM-C97JM-9MPGT-3V66T. Once you are upgrade to Windows 10 Professional, navigate to Settings > Update & security > Activation > Change the product key and enter your Windows 8.1 Professional license key.

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How to upgrade to Windows 10 pro from Windows 7 Home

Technically you will have to "lie" and use the "free upgrade" even after it has expired. The free upgrade offer is only being extended to users who are using assistance programs currently. You would have to indicate that this applies to you, since you have the intention of upgrading to Windows 10 Professional using a key that was already used to install Windows 10 Professional, I see no reason to at least attempt the upgrade. Of course once you upgrade the installation from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional, you will have reached the point where you cannot return to Windows 7 Home.

The user who asked the original question submitted the following response couple days later so I suggest you give this a try.

All done and working as advertised!

  • Marking as answer as it it fully explains my options. I'll give things a go when I have a chance and report back my findings. Thanks. – user565955 Nov 30 '16 at 22:42
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Normally speaking this is not possible, because you go from a home to pro version which means you will have to do a clean install. Windows 10 home can be upgraded to a pro version but requires a different key. To see the entire procedure, please refer to Ramhounds answer.

If you had a windows 7 pro version, then it would be possible.

EDIT: Ramhound shows an upgrade path that does work. It is a unique case due to how windows 10 works and completely overlooked this possibility.

  • Ok, that's what I was looking for. Just needed confirmation that was the case. – user565955 Nov 30 '16 at 21:18
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If you successfully upgraded that same machine from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, your activation on that device is a digital license. As a result, when/if you need to perform an "upgrade" on that same machine, you can skip the screens that request a product key input and it will still automatically activate. Here is a good reference from Microsoft themselves:

Activation in Windows 10

enter image description here

  • You're missing an important detail here, he wants to go from a home to pro version, which simply is not possible. – LPChip Nov 30 '16 at 21:15
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    @LPChip , good call. I was so focused on assuring him that the activation would work, I overlooked that part. – Run5k Nov 30 '16 at 21:20

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