Windows 10 is no longer a free-upgrade, Windows 10 Home costs £99.99 and the Pro version will set you back £189.99. Here we’ll outline the system requirements so you can tell if your PC or laptop is powerful enough to run Windows 10 (it most likely will be). See also: Windows 10 hands-on review | Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

Updated 28 November 2016 with updated information.

Which versions of Windows can I upgrade from?

First you need to find out which version of Windows you have, open Control Panel and go to System. The precise Windows version will be listed. It doesn’t matter if it’s 32- or 64-bit.

Alternatively, click here to see which version your computer is running. 

Only the following versions are eligible for the update (previously the free-upgrade):

  • Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack 1)
  • Windows 8.1 Update
  • Windows Phone 8.1

These versions are not eligible (some merely require updating to the versions above):

  • Windows 7 RTM (this can be updated to SP1 for free)
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8 (this can be updated to 8.1 Update for free)
  • Windows 8.1 RTM (this can be updated to 8.1 Update)
  • Windows RT (the version of Windows used on the Microsoft Surface and Surface 2 – cannot be updated)
  • Windows Phone 8.0 (updates may be available from your mobile operator or Microsoft)

In terms of specific versions, the upgrade will work on a “like-to-like” basis:

Upgrade from Windows 7:

From Edition

To Edition

Windows 7 Starter

Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Home Basic

Windows 7 Home Premium

Windows 7 Professional

Windows 10 Pro

Windows 7 Ultimate

Upgrade from Windows 8:

From Edition

To Edition

Windows 8.1

Windows 10 Home

Windows 8.1 Pro

Windows10 Pro

Windows 8.1 Pro Student

Windows 8.1 Pro WMC

Windows Phone 8.1

Windows 10 Mobile

What about Windows 10 Insiders testing the preview builds?

If you haven't reserved your free copy of Windows 10 prior to 29 July 2016, there might be a slim chance that you've still got a free copy waiting for you. If you ran the preview/insider builds of Windows 10 in the past (even on a separate hard drive) you should be able to get the final version for free.

There are two options here: If you clean installed the Windows 10 preview, then you'll have the option to get off the preview/insider builds through the Settings.

If you upgraded a qualifying version of Windows 10 preview, you can get the final version straight away, by installing Windows 10 through a fresh install and using your Microsoft account or the Windows key to grant your free Windows 10 key.

Also see: Windows 10 Creators update UK release date, price and new features.

What are the system requirements for Windows 10?

Just because your computer, tablet or phone runs one of the eligible versions of Windows doesn’t guarantee it will get the update. There are some hardware and software requirements as well.

These are the minimum hardware specifications needed to run Windows 10:

  • Processor: 1GHz or faster processor
  • RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit Windows 10
  • Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit or 20GB for 64-bit
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display: 1024x600 pixels or higher (virtually all devices have this)

Also see: How to install Windows 10.

Will I lose my files and programs by upgrading to Windows 10?

Your files, settings and applications will be kept, but some settings and applications won’t be ‘migrated’ as Microsoft puts it.

For example, anti-virus software won’t be moved. Windows 10 should keep your anti-virus settings and install the latest version of your AV software after the update, assuming your subscription is current.

If it isn’t, Windows Defender will be enabled instead.

Other apps which may not be moved include those installed by your computer manufacturer, as well as those which aren’t compatible with Windows 10.

As before, you’ll get a list of any such issues before beginning the actual update, so you can choose whether or not to proceed with it. Most applications which run in Windows 7 and 8 will work fine in Windows 10, so there shouldn’t be many problems in this area.

Also see: Quick fixes for common Windows 10 problems.

Windows 10 upgrade: Which features will I lose during the update?

You will lose some apps, games and features. For a full list see Worst Windows 10 sacrifices

Windows 10 upgrade: Will I get Cortana, Windows Hello and Continuum? 

Cortana will be available on Windows 10 for the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. For speech recognition you will need a microphone of course, but for “better speech experience” you will need a ‘high fidelity microphone array’.

Windows Hello is a new way to log into the OS using facial recognition or a fingerprint. For that, you’ll need either a special infrared camera or a fingerprint reader which supports Windows Biometric Framework.

Continuum is where Windows 10 will switch between laptop and tablet modes. There will be a manual switch in all Windows 10 editions, but on some devices it will switch automatically, or be configurable to switch automatically.