Windows 10 free activation from Windows 7 without having to install Windows 10

We currently have 300 computers on Windows 7 and would like to activate them for the free version of Windows 10 without having to install the Windows 10 free upgrade, because we would like to format them and do a clean install of Windows 10. Is this possible to do?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Unfortunately you have to install Windows 10 upgrade first and then get the license key after the upgrade FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL PC which you can then use to reinstall the software from scratch ON THE SAME computer.  This is for the WIndows 10 free upgrades.  With that many systems you probably should look at Enterprise licensing, however I understand that costs a bit.

To my knowledge with out Open Licensing (which doesn't qualify for the free upgrade anyway) there is no way to accomplish what you are trying to do.
Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
doing a clean install is not an upgrade, therefore that is not possible

also, the upgrade does not apply to enterprise versions of windows; you need software assurance to get windows 10 upgrades but it isn't part of the free offer

you should review the FAQ
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am not sure if you qualify for the free upgrade (as pointed out above), but be CERTAIN no one reserves. Reserving could lead to problems.

And if you do qualify and want to do a clean / fresh install, you have to do as above and that will be individually.

Finally beware older Windows 7 systems as the upgrade may not work successfully. Systems need to be very new so that video, network and other drivers are available.
IT Pros Agree: AI and Machine Learning Key

We’d all like to think our company’s data is well protected, but when you ask IT professionals they admit the data probably is not as safe as it could be.

Microsoft states and I have found this to be true that Windows 10 runs great even on light hardware.  I have old systems with XP on them that I have tested on and they run fantastic.  As far as drivers go, Microsoft stated they designed WIndows 10 to use drivers all the way back to VIsta.  

You also don't have to download from the internet to each of the 300 systems, you can use Microsoft's downloader tool to create a ISO you can burn to a disc or a USB drive that you can then insert into a booted Windows 7,8,8.1 system and do the upgrade.  Upgrade is pretty straight forward and usually no babysitting required.  You could just allow the extra hour to hour and half to do the upgrade and then get the key and then wipe and reload.  Just document which key goes with which system.

What version of Windows are you running anyway - I guess that would be pertinent question to ask to start with.  Is it OEM, Retail or Open Lincensing?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have a ThinkPad T61p that I upgraded and documented here in an article. The Wi-Fi card would not work and no driver is available from Lenovo, Intel or Microsoft. Similarly the Video is so old no one has a driver. So it is not all roses by any stretch.
CityInfoSysAuthor Commented:
We are using Windows 7 Pro x64 that is from a MAK code key. Bas2754, why is it necessary to "Just document which key goes with which system"?
If you are using a MAK key then you are using open licensing which does not qualify for the free upgrade.  That free upgrade is for retail pro and home as well as OEM pro and home.
To add to my last comment if you have software assurance on your 300 licenses then you can upgrade.  Now if all 300 have windows OEM licenses for 7 or 8 pro and you want to reload each with the OEM version of windows and then upgrade each one you could.  If you do that then each system would have a unique key tied to that system which is why you would have to document each on in case you had to reinstall windows 10 to a new or formatted drive.
On the phone with Partner support right now.  Going to get an answer straight from MS on this one.  WIndows Enterprise VL does not qualify, however there is disagreement in what I have since found on whether Windows 7 Pro qualifies if it is VL and MAK.  I will know shortly.  Stay tuned.
Ok.  The licensing center is closed so will call first thing in the morning to confirm.  The rep I spoke to consulted the people she has and was unable to answer the question and said I needed to talk to the VL specialists.  So apparently this is a very fuzzy question.  

The other thing I asked to know is if they do qualify, do they all get the same Key since they are upgrading from a MAK key or does that mean all 300 systems would have individual keys,  Soon as I have the specific answer I will post back in the morning.
OK found it finally - whew...

On this page:

We find the following Blurb:
If you don’t see the Get Windows 10  app on your PC, it might be because:
1. Your device isn’t up-to-date with at least Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update.
2. Windows Update is turned off or is not set to received updates automatically.
3. You’ve blocked or uninstalled the necessary Windows Update functionality.
4. Your device is not running genuine Windows.
5. Your computer is part of a Windows Domain
6. Microsoft has not determined your device capable of running Windows 10 even though it meets the minimum system requirements.
7.You are running a volume license client: Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 8.1 Enterprise (only retail store bought or preinstalled OEM licenses) get the upgrade offer.

I will still confirm with Microsoft tomorrow but I believe this is the answer, but you could reload the systems with an OEM version of whatever came on them if they were 7 Pro or 8 Pro using the correct OEM key from each individual system.  Then you could upgrade each one to Windows 10 Pro, but you do need to notate the license key for each one elsewise you would have to repeat the process if you every had to reload the system.  With the key you can reload straight to 10.  Now doing this does NOT give you the same imaging rights and such that you have with Volume licensing.

I hope this helps explain everything.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows 10

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.