It is a well-known fact that Windows 11 is a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, provided that their PCs meet the minimum hardware requirements. As a result, Windows 10 users can upgrade to Windows 11 without losing data and installed programs. But what about Windows 7?
Check if your Windows 7 PC can run Windows 11 first
If you are considering upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 11, the first thing you need to make sure is that your PC can run Windows 11. In addition to a recent 64-bit processor (8th gen or later) and 4 GB of RAM, your PC must also have Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 to install Windows 11.
If your PC does not meet these stringent requirements, we recommend you upgrade to Windows 10 as it will be supported till October 14, 2025.
Tip: Your can run Windows 7 programs on Windows 11 as well.
Can I upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 without data loss?
If you are lucky enough to meet the requirements for Windows 11, you will be glad to know that you can upgrade to Windows 11 for free. However, remember that Windows 11 is not a direct upgrade for Windows 7 users, meaning that you cannot upgrade directly from your current Windows 7 installation to Windows 11. Instead, you need to perform a clean install of Windows 11. However, an easy workaround allows you to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 for free without losing data and installed applications.
All you need to do is upgrade your Windows 7 installation to Windows 10 first. Yes, if you are wondering, Microsoft is still unofficially allowing free upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Once Windows 10 is up and running on your PC and is activated (see how to check the activation status in Windows 10), upgrade your Windows 10 installation to Windows 11. This workaround applies to users running 64-bit Windows 7 only.
Users running 32-bit type of Windows 7 cannot use this workaround to keep their data and installed programs. Because Windows 11 32-bit is not available and 32-bit to 64-bit upgrade is not supported, you will have to perform a clean install of Windows 11. As you might already know, while doing a clean install, you lose installed programs and data (which you can back up).
Steps to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 for free
Step 1: Back up important data from your Windows 7 PC before doing anything else.
Step 2: Upgrade your Windows 7 PC to Windows 10 using the Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant or Media Creation Tool.
Step 3: Once upgraded to Windows 10, make sure that your Windows 10 copy is activated. If possible, sign in with a Microsoft account (migrate the local account to Microsoft account) to link your Windows 10 license to your Microsoft account.
If your Windows type is 32-bit (check if you are running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows 10), you need to perform a clean install of Windows 10 64-bit or perform a clean install of Windows 11 (as Windows 11 is not available).
Step 4: Finally, upgrade your Windows 10 installation to Windows 11.