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HomeWINDOWSHow to get Windows 11 and Windows 10 free (or under $20)

How to get Windows 11 and Windows 10 free (or under $20)

Microsoft asks you to pay $139 to get a new Windows licence.


Although you can spend thousands of dollars on components to build a computer from scratch, it will not boot without an operating-system (OS). Linux is an option but it can be expensive if you don’t know what to do. Microsoft charges $139 per Windows 10 or 11 Home license (opens new tab), and $199 for Windows 10 or 11 Pro (opens new tab).

This is a huge injustice to PC builders as large OEMs like Dell and Lenovo will likely only pay a fraction of the cost to install Windows on prebuilt systems. However, these costs are not public. There are several ways to get Windows 10 and 11 free of charge or for $18(opens new tab) depending on which flavor you prefer, what you have, and what caveats or restrictions you accept.

How to Get Windows 10 and 11 for Free

You can Download Windows 10 (opens new tab) and Download Windows 11 (opens new tab) free of charge from It is best to only download it from Microsoft. Microsoft provides a free media creator tool that grabs the latest code from Internet. It can then burn it to a USB Flash drive, or output a Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISO File you can use to write to a drive.

After that, you can start the installation process by booting from your media. Microsoft will ask you to enter your Windows 10 or 11 product code during installation. You can skip this step if you don’t possess a key by clicking “I don’t have a Product Key”. However, there are some drawbacks to using an inactive copy of Windows. We’ll discuss them below.

We’ll show you how to save money on Windows, and also compare them. Method 5 is for those who need a product code but don’t have one from an existing copy or build. This method involves buying a low-cost key marketplace.

1. Upgrade to a Prior Windows Version Free

You can upgrade a previous version of Windows for free if it is already installed. Windows 7 and 8 will update to Windows 10, and Windows 10 to 11 if your computer meets Windows 11’s strict system requirements. These requirements include TPM 2.0 support and at least 4GB RAM. Windows 10 also requires at least 64GB storage space. You can skip Windows 11’s RAM and TPM requirements , but we do not recommend it.

You can upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge if you’re still using Windows 7/8. You can upgrade to Windows 10, 7, 8, or 10.

2. Get a free Windows 7 or 8 key from another PC.

You can use an older, non-OEM copy of Windows 7 or 10, if you don’t have the original product key. There are many ways to locate the product key on an old computer. However, Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder is the most convenient.

It is possible that the OEM key may not work with a newer model of a product key that comes from a prebuilt computer. It is possible to test it and get Windows 10 or 11 free of charge if it works.

If you’re upgrading your PC, or replacing other internal components, follow Microsoft’s instructions for activating Windows 10/11 after changing the hardware (opens in new window). You should not use Windows on an older computer after upgrading, as that key will be already in use.

3. Windows 10 and 11 are not activated.

You can choose not to enter a product key during installation and continue using an unactivated version. The good news? You only have two major disadvantages to not activating Windows 10 and 11. The first is that Windows 10 or 11 is not activated. This watermark is embarrassing for anyone looking at you.

Unactivated Windows 10 and 11 have the second disadvantage of not being able to use personalization options like changing your wallpaper, mouse pointer, or desktop theme. If you have a Microsoft account and that computer syncs with your Windows, the wallpaper will be displayed on your unactivated Windows.

Microsoft blocks your personalization options if Windows 10 is not activated or you receive it for free.


If you need help with Windows, Microsoft cannot provide tech support. Is that really possible?

Unactivated Windows, aside from these inconveniences should work fine and get automatic updates. Although we have heard of people who used unactivated Windows for many years, it was not always an issue. However, Microsoft may limit future functionality.

4. Microsoft Teacher or Student Discount

You may be eligible to receive Windows 11 Education free of charge if you are enrolled in college. Microsoft offers students at certain universities and high school the opportunity to receive Windows 11 Education for free. It’s not clear if this is still possible. Windows 11 Education has more features than Windows 11 Home, and most of the same features and functions as Windows 11 Pro.

Teachers may still be eligible to purchase Windows 11 Education at $14.99. Find out if your school is eligible and get your free Windows 11 key .

5. Get a Windows 10 or 11 key for $20+ from a third-party seller

There are third-party sellers who offer Windows 10 and 11 keys starting at $20. Kinguin, a well-known key marketplace, was offering Windows 10 Home for starting at $18.22 (opens new tab). and Windows 11 Home starting at $31.62 (opens new tab). Windows 10 Pro cost $20.90 (opens new tab) while Windows 11 Pro cost $34.30 (opens new tab). These OEM keys cannot be used on other computers after they have been activated on the first computer.

Version Price in USD
Windows 10 Home $18.22 (opens in new window)
Windows 10 Home (Online activation) $32.16 (opens in new window)
Windows 11 Home $31.62 (opens in new window)
Windows 10 Pro $29.90 (opens in new window)
Windows 10 Pro (Online Activation) $35.37 (opens in new window)
Windows 11 Pro $34.30 (opens in new window)


Let’s now address the elephant in this room. Although we cannot verify the authenticity of all websites, it is likely that sites selling cheap Windows 10 and 11 keys will offer legitimate codes. Kinguin has over three dozen merchants selling Windows keys around the world. Mark Jordan, Kinguin’s vice president of communications, explained to Tom’s Hardware that Kinguin’s traders acquire codes from wholesalers with surplus Windows copies they don’t use.

It’s not a grey market. Jordan stated that it would be similar to buying Nike, Adidas, Puma, or Nike at a discounter store like TJ Maxx. It’s legal to buy it from us. It’s just another market.

After you make a purchase, you will be emailed the product key. This key can be used to activate an existing copy of Windows or during the Windows installation process. These keys cannot be activated using Microsoft’s phone activation services in certain cases. We recommend paying extra for keys specifically marked “online activation” keys. This is because it is not anonymous.

We purchased a Windows 10 Home Key from Kinguin recently to activate a copy Windows 10 on a new-built computer. According to the instructions, we would need to call Microsoft’s activation number in order to activate the key. However, Windows refused to accept the key the first time that we tried to use it. We tried calling the number, but were put on hold for several minutes.

We assumed activating by phone would be an automatic process, where we simply entered the key and received an approval code. But instead, a live representative asked us for our Microsoft account ID. Although these keys are legitimate and should not be misused, we felt uncomfortable sharing personal information so we hang up and tried again.

Jordan claims that Kinguin’s merchants sold “several hundred thousands” keys. They are not just one-time sellers listing codes they don’t want. Kinguin employees randomly purchase keys “every now, and then” as part of fraud protection. Jordan said that although it is rare for customers to receive a key that has been resold by Kinguin, they would be able to get one free of charge if they did.

Jordan stated that if there is ever a problem with an activated key or similar, our customer service team will help you get a replacement key.

6. Amazon Offer: Windows 10 and 11 Discounts

You might not feel comfortable buying from key markets like Kinguin. Instead, you could opt to buy a slightly discounted boxed or downloadable version of Windows from Amazon and Newegg. Both sites host a variety of third-party sellers, whose product keys might or not be legitimate.

It looks like Windows 10 Home can be purchased for $98 via a USB flash drive from Amazon. If you take a closer look at the name of the seller, you’ll notice it isn’t Microsoft or Amazon. It’s a third-party called UNILOVO. There are many complaints about the key not working in user reviews. Microsoft is listed as the seller, so it’s likely that Windows 11 Home can be purchased on a Flash drive at $139.

7. Microsoft Windows: $139 – $199 is the best and most cost-effective way to obtain Windows. Windows 10 Home (opens in a new tab) and Windows 11 Home are both available. You can also get Windows 10 Pro (opens in a new tab) and Windows 11 Pro for $199 . These can be downloaded or stored on USB drives.

Which is the best way to get Windows 10 or 11?

  Upgrade from Windows 7, 8, or 10 Do Not Activate Windows Students Discount Purchase a Cheap Key from a Third Party Purchase a Key from Microsoft
Price No cost No cost Windows 10 Education Free $18+ Home: $139, Pro: $199
Pros Access to all personalization options; Microsoft Support access; Free No cost All personalization options available; Microsoft support access; Equivalent Windows 10 Enterprise; Free Microsoft Support Access; All personalization options available Access to all personalization options; Microsoft Support access; Refunds
Cons None Desktop watermark; Personalization options limited; Can’t use Microsoft Support An eligible school must be enrolled. You may lose your key. In this case, you will need to contact customer service Expensive


You can transfer an old Windows key from a previous build to get Windows 10 or Windows 11 for no cost. You will need to decide if you are comfortable using an unactivated Windows 10 or 11 version. This limits your customization options and has a ugly watermark that renders you ineligible for Microsoft Support.

Many people would argue that it is unethical to download Windows without purchasing or having a product key. Microsoft has made the process simpler over different Windows versions and reduced the restrictions and nagging that can occur when you don’t activate. This loophole is not being closed by Microsoft, likely because the company is more concerned with driving user numbers. Even Microsoft partners and vendors are known for using watermarks in their press presentations.

You can save a lot by buying a Windows 10 or 11 key from a low-cost seller like Kinguin (opens in new window) . However, there is always the possibility that your key will not work so you will need to rely on customer support. Online activation is recommended so that you don’t have the burden of explaining yourself to Microsoft operators and giving out any personal information.

Microsoft’s MSRP price for Windows 10 and 11 is too high. It’s difficult to recommend them. A key can be purchased from these third-party websites for $100 to save you money. This is money that you can use to buy the fastest SSDs , a AAA game, or one of the best graphics card .



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