No more free Windows 11! Microsoft ends activation support for Windows 7 keys

Less than a month after Microsoft announced that it would no longer allow the installation path to Windows 11 from Windows 7 or 8, it has now stopped the access of clean activation keys from older OS.

| Updated on: Oct 12 2023, 10:28 IST
Windows 11
Those with Windows 7 and 8 keys will no longer be able to upgrade to Windows 11. (Unsplash)
Windows 11
Those with Windows 7 and 8 keys will no longer be able to upgrade to Windows 11. (Unsplash)

It appears that Microsoft has begun blocking Windows 7 and Windows 8 keys from activating Windows 11. The development came less than a month after Microsoft announced that it would be ending the installation path for free Windows 11 upgrades for older OS, particularly Windows 7/8. People have taken advantage of this loophole for years, especially after 2020, when Microsoft ended the extended support for Windows 11, making the older operating systems obsolete. But as per various reports confirming the same, after today, users are unlikely to be able to get a free Windows 11 copy with a digital license by using a Windows 7 activation key.

Last month Microsoft posted on its Device Partner Center, “Microsoft's free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well. Upgrades to Windows 11 from Windows 10 are still free”.

Effectively, what this means is that anyone who tries to upgrade their system from Windows 7 or Windows 8 to Windows 11, will not be able to do so either through Microsoft offer or by pushing a download and then trying to activate it. Those who try to use a clean Windows 7 activation key to install Windows 11 will also not be able to do it. However, those who already have done this and are on the latest Microsoft OS will not be moved as they will already have a digital license and they can continue to use it.

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Microsoft closes the loophole to free Windows 11

While the announcement was made late last month, some users still reported that the Windows 7 activation keys worked for them. However, multiple reports have emerged in the last 12 hours that confirm that it is no longer the case.

A report by The Verge confirmed that while the keys still installed Windows 11, they would not be able to activate it. The installer showed an error message that said, “We can't activate Windows on this device because you don't have a valid digital license or product key”.

Windows 7 has been obsolete for quite some time with no real updates since 2015, and finally, Microsoft ceased all security updates for both 7 and 8.1 earlier this year. Similarly, Windows 10 is slated to meet the same fate on October 14, 2025, as Microsoft intends to discontinue all software support for the aging operating system.

For those who missed the free bus ride to the latest Microsoft OS and still want to upgrade, the Windows 11 Home edition will cost you Rs. 10379, and you'll have to shell out Rs. 16,515 for the Pro edition.

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First Published Date: 12 Oct, 10:24 IST