How to Upgrade to Windows 11 for Free in 2024

How to Upgrade to Windows 11 for Free in 2024

Overview of Upgrading to Windows 11

With the release of Windows 11 in late 2021, many Windows 10 users are interested in upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system. Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will provide users with a fresh new interface and useful new features.

The good news is that Microsoft is allowing free upgrades to Windows 11 through 2023. This means you can upgrade your eligible Windows 10 PC or laptop to Windows 11 at no cost for the next couple of years.

However, starting in 2024, the free upgrade offer will expire. At that point, you will likely need to purchase a full Windows 11 license if you want to clean install or upgrade an existing Windows 10 machine to Windows 11.

Fortunately, there are a few different methods you can use to upgrade to Windows 11 for free even after the promotional upgrade period ends in 2024.

Determine If Your PC Meets Minimum System Requirements

Before upgrading, you need to make sure your PC or laptop meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster, with at least 2 cores on a compatible 64-bit processor
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
  • Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: 720p display larger than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel

You can download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app to scan your device and verify compatibility with Windows 11.

If your current PC does not meet the minimum requirements, you may need to upgrade certain components like RAM or your processor to be able to upgrade to Windows 11.

Back Up Your Data

Before installing a major Windows upgrade like Windows 11, it’s always a good idea to back up your files and data. This provides a safety net in case anything goes wrong during the upgrade process.

You have a few options for backing up your data:

  • Back up to an external hard drive – Simply copy important folders like Documents, Pictures, Music, etc. to an external USB hard drive.

  • Use cloud backup – Services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive allow you to back up files to the cloud.

  • Use backup software – Products like Acronis True Image or Macrium Reflect can make full system image backups.

Be sure to store your backups in a safe place in case you need to restore your system back to Windows 10.

Check for Windows 11 Compatible Drivers

Before installing Windows 11, you should also check that your hardware devices and peripherals have up-to-date drivers that are compatible with Windows 11. This includes things like:

  • Graphics card drivers
  • Printer drivers
  • Network adapter drivers
  • USB peripherals
  • External monitors or accessories

Check the support sites for your specific hardware to find Windows 11 compatible drivers. Installing these ahead of time will prevent potential issues after upgrading.

Use Assistive Technology Upgrade Method

Now let’s look at some methods to upgrade to Windows 11 for free even after 2024.

One little known technique is to use Microsoft’s assistive technology upgrade path. This upgrade path does not impose any hardware restrictions and will allow you to upgrade to Windows 11 for free after 2024.

Here are the steps to use this method:

  1. Go to Settings > Ease of Access > More Options in Windows 10.
  2. Enable an assistive technology like Magnifier or Narrator and save the setting.
  3. Go to Windows Update and click Check for Updates.
  4. You should now see the option to upgrade to Windows 11.
  5. Install Windows 11 normally via Windows Update.
  6. After the upgrade, you can turn off the assistive technology if you want.

The key is enabling an assistive technology before checking for the Windows 11 update. This triggers the special upgrade path for assistive technology users that has no end date.

Use Windows 10 Product Key

If you have an existing Windows 10 product key, you may be able to reuse this key to activate Windows 11 on a new device or clean install after 2024.

Microsoft has not issued any definitive statements on this, but many users have reported successfully activating fresh Windows 11 installs with a Windows 10 product key.

Before attempting this method, make sure your Windows 10 key is a retail license (not OEM system builder license). Retail keys are more likely to carry over to Windows 11.

To use a Windows 10 key for Windows 11:

  1. Download a Windows 11 ISO and create installer media.
  2. Clean install Windows 11 on your PC.
  3. Skip product key entry during setup.
  4. Once in Windows 11, go to Settings > System > Activation.
  5. Select Change product key and enter your Windows 10 key.
  6. This should activate your Windows 11 install.

Again, this method is not guaranteed to work forever, but it is worth trying if you have a qualifying Windows 10 key you want to reuse.

Install Windows 11 in a Virtual Machine

Another way you may be able to use Windows 11 for free after 2024 is by installing it in a virtual machine (VM).

Tools like VirtualBox or VMware Workstation Player allow you to install Windows or other operating systems as virtual machines. This means Windows 11 can run as an app inside your existing host operating system.

To use this method:

  1. Download and install virtualization software like VirtualBox.
  2. Create a new virtual machine for Windows 11.
  3. Mount your Windows 11 ISO to the virtual machine.
  4. Complete the Windows 11 setup within the VM.
  5. Use Windows 11 as desired in the virtualized environment.

Running Windows 11 as a VM lets you access the latest features and apps while keeping your current main OS. Just be aware that performance may suffer compared to a native installation.


While the free upgrade offer for Windows 11 will expire in 2023, there are still a few methods you can use to upgrade to Windows 11 at no cost in 2024 and beyond:

  • Utilize the assistive technology upgrade path
  • Attempt to reuse a qualifying Windows 10 product key
  • Install Windows 11 in a virtual machine

Be sure to fully back up your system and check for driver compatibility before attempting any major OS upgrade. With some preparation, you can have Windows 11 running on your devices even after the promotional upgrade period ends.



Signup our newsletter to get update information, news, insight or promotions.

Latest Post