Microsoft has adjusted the activation protocols for Windows 11, ceasing the ability for users to activate new builds of the operating system with Windows 7 or Windows 8 keys. This means the conclusion of the once-available pathway for users to upgrade freely from Windows 7/8 to newer versions of the Windows operating system.
“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,” writes Microsoft in the official communication, while clarifying that transitions from Windows 10 to Windows 11 continue to be accessible without additional charges.
Impact on Users
The implications of this modification are considerable for a certain segment of Windows users. Those who have been relying on Windows 7 or 8 keys and have not yet transitioned will now be compelled to acquire a new license to make the leap to Windows 11. This shift holds financial ramifications, especially for users who had deferred the utilization of the free upgrade offer, as they are now faced with inevitable additional expenditures.
Moreover, it is crucial for users to note the disparities between the two operating systems. A subset of features that were integral to Windows 10 will not find their place in Windows 11. Additionally, the prerequisites for experiencing certain functionalities and applications in Windows 11 surpass the baseline system requirements stipulated for the operating system.
Tightening Windows 11 Upgrade Requirements
Whether you're upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, Microsoft has consistently taken a strict approach to compatibility. Microsoft has been firm on its system requirements for Windows 11, which include a TPM chip, a Secure Boot capable motherboard, and a minimum of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The company claims that these requirements are necessary to ensure a secure and reliable experience for users.
However, many users have expressed dissatisfaction with these requirements, especially since some relatively recent CPUs are not supported. Microsoft has also made some mistakes in offering Windows 11 upgrades to users with incompatible hardware, or giving false positives with its PC Health Check app.
In August, the company started tightening controls over upgrades by actively blocking installs from unsupported CPUs. Previously the company would simply not provide security/feature updates for unsupported hardware.