The Complete Walkthrough: Upgrading Windows 8 to Windows 10

by Ross McKillop on November 13, 2015

This very, very detailed guide will take you every single step of the way through upgrading from Windows 8 (or 8.1) to Windows 10.

default windows 10 desktop

Here’s what you’ll need to know and/or do beforehand –

  1. Yes, it’s free. If you have a PC/laptop/tablet running Windows 8 or 8.1, Windows 10 is a free upgrade. In our opinions, it is an upgrade – it’s better than Windows 8 in almost every way (again, our opinions) :)
  2. If you haven’t already (you may have and not know it) – you’ll be downloading just under 3GB (gigabytes) of data – Windows 10 itself. So depending on your Internet speed, that may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.

    It’s also quite possible that Microsoft has already downloaded Windows 10 to your device without really “telling” you about it. Depending on when you’re reading this you may or may not have already downloaded what you need. You’ll find out quickly when you begin the installation if that’s the case.

  3. This is reversible. You can “try” Windows 10 for 30 days and if you don’t like it, go back to Windows 8/8.1. Plus, we have a guide for that. After 30 days you’re ‘stuck’ with Windows 10, though. Note: this is probably a good thing, it’s unlikely you’ll want to go back to Windows 8 after using Windows 10.
  4. After the potentially long download, you’ll need to be present “at” your computer in order to click a couple of “I Agree” buttons. Then you can ‘leave’ your computer and let Windows 10 install itself – which can take several hours – depending on the speed of your PC. This means…
  5. It’s probably best if you let the upgrade run overnight. It’s about as interesting as watching paint dry.
  6. You will not lose any of your files, folders, Apps, Wireless Network passwords/settings etc. With that said, it is always best to back up your files when upgrading from one operating system to another.

When you’re ready – let’s go!

  1. Start out by closing all open Apps/programs. Then click the “Windows button” in your system tray – that one that’s probably been nagging you to upgrade for a while now (see screenshot below).
  2. Click the Upgrade now button.

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  4. Click the OK, let’s continue button.

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  6. Windows Update will launch and “check for updates”.

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  8. Then it confirms your computer is capable of running Windows 10 – which it almost certainly is.

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  10. Now the download begins. Again, depending on the speed of your Internet connection, this can take a few minutes or a few hours. You’ll get an idea of how fast it’s going by the % complete… ‘updates’.
  11. After the download has finished, the very beginning of the installation will start.
  12. Click the Accept button after reading all of the license terms (yeah right).

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  14. Give it a moment to get ready…

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  16. Finally – click the Start the upgrade now button.
  17. At this point you can walk away – and probably should. There’s nothing interesting that’s going to happen for quite a while now.
  18. Your Windows device will reboot a couple of times on its own.
  19. Then a seemingly never-ending status window will be displayed.
  20. After the installation has completed (good morning!) you’ll be presented with a “welcome back” message…
  21. … click the Next button on that window. It doesn’t take very long from here, you’re almost done.
  22. Review the “Get going fast” options.
  23. Since this is all customizable and changeable based on your preferences, you might as well use the express settings – so select Use Express settings
  24. Then click Next.
  25. You may see a couple of cute “this won’t take long” or …
  26. … “taking care of a few things” messages. Eventually you’ll be prompted to sign in to Windows 10 (using the same information you used in Windows 8).
  27. Ta-da! Welcome to Windows 10!
  28. Give it a spin. The Get Started item in the new and very much improved “Start menu” is actually a very well done tour of Windows 10, and is worth the time to watch and try out.
  • bsjone

    Why are you trying to scare/mislead people. I’ve done over 20 upgrades from 7 and 8 and none have taken more than 90 minutes. Also, you left out the option of using the media creation tool, which is very easy.

  • http://www.simplehelp.net/ Ross McKillop

    Heya bsjone!

    I used an Asus touchscreen laptop w/ an Intel Core i3 @ 1.4GHz & 4GB of RAM. It took well over 3 hours to do the installation alone – from the time the laptop first rebooted to the Windows 10 “Welcome Back” screen. I’m certainly not lying about how long it took – I wish I was :)

    As for the media creation tool – this guide was meant for folks wanting to do the upgrade and maintain all Apps and settings, files and folders – and as easily as possible. If anything, this guide should help to reassure people that upgrading to Windows 10 is easy, which it is… UPDATE: the media creation tool no longer exists. This tutorial is still totally accurate, the comment this was in response to is now less accurate.

    As for wiping clean and doing a fresh install, I agree with you that it’s an easy to use tool. Unfortunately there are too many “other problems” that can arise – from as small as needing to find a USB stick to as large as having to change a BIOS setting, the latter being something that can get very tricky to explain in a tutorial due to the vast number of BIOS versions etc. Again, the point of this guide was to show people just how easy it is, albeit a process that can take a while. If it goes faster for them – it’ll be a great surprise! But setting expectations is important.

    Hope this helps clear things up – cheers!