Is Windows 10 Free: How To Install Without A Product Key?

Windows 11 is going strong, but most PC users still rely on Windows 10 for their systems. If you are also planning to install it due to an upgrade or downgrade, we’ll help you. This guide will help you determine if Windows 10 is free to download and how to install it without a Product Key.

Microsoft allows users to run their widely used operating system without paying. However, users must pay for a license to access the OS fully. However, there aren’t major limitations that’ll force you to put a load on your wallet. You can still use it without a license, product key, or subscription.

Is Windows 10 Free To Use For Everyone?

Yes, Windows 10 is free for everyone, as Microsoft allows anyone to download and install it without a product key. It works normally without any issues, and you can even activate it once you are ready to pay. You can upgrade to the next Windows version without paying again when you have a license.

Microsoft encourages as many people as they can to use their OS. This is to make people access Windows Store and OneDrive cloud services. These generate the majority of the revenue for the company. By offering the core OS for free, they can make people spend on other amenities.

Windows 10 is Free

You may encounter some minor limitations when you use Windows 10 without a license. They won’t hinder your work or any important activity. So, it’s possible to use the Home version of Windows 10 without paying for it. If you are a professional, then the story is a bit different.

Is Windows 10 Pro Free Or Paid?

Windows 10 Pro (also called Windows 10 Professional) can be upgraded from older OS versions such as Windows 7 and 8. However, if you are looking for a fresh installation, you’ll have to purchase the license costing $199.

Only users with a valid Windows 8 or 7 license can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. You are not eligible for a free upgrade if you didn’t activate the previous versions or used a cracked one. You can also go to Windows 10 Home to Pro for a nominal fee with an activated license.

How to Download & Install Windows 10 for Free?

Downloading and installing Windows 10 on your or any other computer is fairly simple. You must head to Microsoft’s website and download the latest file. After that, you have to install it and complete the setup to use the OS.

Here’s a step-wise and detailed breakdown of the complete process:

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Step-1: Go to and download the Windows 10 Installation Media tool. If you visit the site on any device running an OS other than Windows, you can download the Windows 10 ISO file directly.

Download installation tool

Step-2: After downloading the tool, open the file and let it run. Go through the EULA (End User License Agreement) and accept it.

Step-3: After that, you can install Windows 10 on your PC or create an installation media with a USB, DVD, etc., for another PC. Choose the option that you want to use.

Windows 10 setup

Step-4: If you’ve created an installation media with a USB drive, insert it into another computer where you want to install Windows 10. Turn on the computer and choose the boot option as the USB flash drive.

Step-5: When the computer enters Windows Setup, go through the on-screen instructions and click on “Install Now.”

Step-6: Next, you’ll be asked to enter a Product Key. However, it’s not necessary to install Windows 10, and you can continue without entering it. Just click on the “I don’t have a product key” option present below.

I dont have a windows product key

Step-7: Complete the final setup, and you’re all set to use Windows 10.

That’s it. Remember that you’ll find some limitations when using Windows 10 without activating it. You will also see an “Activate Windows” watermark on the bottom right section of the screen.

What Are The Limitations Of Not Activating Windows 10?

There are certain limitations that you’ll have to face when you are using a non-activated copy of Windows 10. However, they won’t hinder your work much, unlike Windows XP days when Microsoft used Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) to disable access to your PC.

The most common drawback of using a free Windows 10 version is that you’ll see a “Windows isn’t activated. Activate Windows now” link at the bottom of the Settings app now and then. You can also click on it to activate your Windows 10 version or ignore it.

One key limitation that Microsoft imposes on the free version of Windows 10 users is that they can’t change the desktop wallpaper and the background screen in the Settings app. You’ll find a “You need to activate Windows before you can personalize your PC” while trying to do so.

Activate Windows Key

However, you can bypass it through the Explorer and Photos apps. For instance, right-click an image in File Explorer and choose the “Set as desktop background/ wallpaper” option. You can do the same with any picture in the Photos app too.

Another drawback of using the free version of Windows 10 is that the updates may discontinue in the future. You can’t upgrade to Windows 11, either. When this happens, some apps and features may also stop working. You won’t get any customer support from Microsoft when you don’t have an activated copy.

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Can you Upgrade To Windows 10 For Free?

Yes, Microsoft still allows users to update to Windows 10 for free. Initially, the company allowed licensed Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users to upgrade to 10 for free till July 29, 2016. However almost seven years have passed, but Microsoft isn’t preventing users from upgrading to Windows 10.

If you are still using an older Windows version, you can head to the official website and click the “Update Now” button to install Windows 10 without paying anything. Even if you don’t have a licensed Windows version, you can still install the OS for free as Microsoft allows installations without a product key.

Update Now

Technically, it’s possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. You don’t have to pay Microsoft. However, if you’d like to receive future updates and features, you can buy a license key from the official platform or any third-party source and activate your copy of Windows 10.

How Much Does Windows 10 License Cost?

Windows 10 Home license costs $139, while Windows 10 Pro costs $199.99. However, Microsoft ended selling both versions’ licenses on January 31, 2023. The support with security updates to protect your PC from viruses, spyware, and other malware will continue till October 14, 2025.

You can now purchase the license for Windows 11, the latest version, at the same price from the Microsoft website. This way, your PC will run on the newest Windows version with years of support, upgrades, and features.

Windows 11 Home

However, if your computer doesn’t meet the minimal technical specifications to run Windows 11 and you want to stick to Windows 10, you can purchase a license from third-party sources. Various retailers offer it for even lower prices. Cyber Month would be the right time to buy from them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can you get Windows 10 for free?

A: Yes, you can get Windows 10 for free and install it on your PC. Microsoft doesn’t need users to buy a license key to download the OS; users can use it without activating it. However, there will be certain limitations, and you won’t get free upgrades to future versions.

Q: How much does Windows 10 cost?

A: Windows 10 Home version costs $139, while Windows 10 Pro costs $199.99. However, Microsoft has stopped selling these versions’ licenses and is now selling Windows 11 licenses at the same price. You can get a Windows 10 license from third-party sellers at similar prices if you want to purchase it.

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Q: How much GB is Windows 10?

A: Windows 10 installation usually takes around 20 GB of free storage for a 64-bit operating system. If you want to create an installation media, you’ll need at least 8 GB of free storage on your USB flash drive or DVD.

Q: Can you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 for free?

A: Yes, you can upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 for free if you are a licensed user with an activated operating system version. However, if you didn’t activate Windows 10, you can still download and install Windows 11 from Microsoft’s website for free without activating it, if your PC meets the minimum system requirements.

Final Take:

Microsoft offered Windows 10 for free to get as many consumers as possible for their operating system. This helped them to generate revenue from other sources like the Microsoft Store, OneDrive, and others. They are using the same model for Windows 11. So, both Windows 10 and 11 are available to use for free.

If you want to use them, you can head to the Microsoft website and download the ISO/ installation tool without paying anything. When you want to activate it, you can buy a license and use the product key to get an activated version of the OS. That’s all for this guide. Feel free to ask in the comments if you have any doubts or queries about Windows.

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