Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 11

Some users are wondering how to install Windows 11 on Windows 7 on their computer. Yes, you can upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 while keeping your files, but there are some nuances.

Why do users want to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11? There are good reasons for this, for example, support for the Windows 7 operating system has been discontinued, so the user is thinking about moving to a more modern system.

Some of the software eventually stops working in the operating system, so in this case it also makes sense to install Windows 11 on Windows 7.

In any case, you have several ways to install Windows 11 on a computer running Windows 7. In this guide, you will find instructions that will install Windows 11 using the upgrade method on Windows 7, which can be performed on any computer with an operating system. 64-bit system.

How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11: possible ways to upgrade

Before performing an upgrade, you need to consider some points that affect the process and user actions in order to get a positive result.

If desired, the user can upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11 for free. The Windows 7 activation key when upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 11 is stored on the device. Therefore, the system will be activated after re installation.

All update methods require the following conditions to be met:

  • The current OS version must be installed on the computer – Windows 7 64-bit.
  • The operating system must be activated.

Windows 7 64-bit is required because Windows 11 does not have 32-bit systems. Upgrading the system to another with different bit depths will not work.

In addition, you need to keep in mind that Windows 11 has strict system requirements that prevent you from updating or clean installing the system on your computer. The device must meet the specified parameters. Check your PC before performing OS upgrade operations.

You can use several methods to update your operating system to a new version:

  • Official – saving all data and installed programs.
  • Unofficial – with saving only user data located on the system drive.

If you need to save all data, settings and programs, you can do this in two steps:

  1. You need to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows first
  2. Then you need to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows

Upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is supported on all PCs. If your Windows 10 PC doesn’t meet the requirements for Windows 11, there are several unofficial ways you can update your system.

All other methods assume that you can upgrade the OS from “seven” to “ten” without using an intermediate system. In this case, you can save only user data located on the system drive “C:”: folders “Documents”, “Desktop”, “Pictures”, “Videos”, “Downloads”. If there are other disks (partitions, volumes) on the computer, they will not be affected during the update process.

A computer that meets the Windows 11 system requirements can be upgraded to this OS immediately without losing user files using an ISO file, but this will require a complete re installation. This means that your programs and settings will not be transferred to the new system. This is the unofficial way to upgrade to Windows 11.

There are quite a few such computers, because most devices do not meet the requirements for their hardware. Therefore, in this article we will show another method suitable for any PC and bypassing the device hardware check. Also keep in mind that not every computer will pull the job in Windows 11.

We recommend that you uninstall any software that might interfere with the Windows 11 upgrade, including antivirus, security tools, and outdated third-party software. It’s also best to disconnect any hardware connected to your computer, including printers, phones, cameras, external hard drives, and other USB peripherals, to avoid problems.

To be on the safe side, create a backup copy of Windows 7. In this case, you can return to this system if Windows 11 is not suitable for your computer.

Preparing to upgrade to Windows 11

We will use the spoof method: using the Windows 10 setup program, we will install Windows 11 on an unsupported computer. The fact is that the Windows 11 setup program does not check the PC hardware for compliance with certain requirements.

We will remove the file containing the Windows 10 OS from the ISO image, replacing it with the file containing the Windows 11 OS. In this case, during the system update, the installer will perform the standard steps for installing Windows 10 on the computer, but will actually install Windows 11 This method will bypass the system requirements check.

To perform all the necessary actions, we need to download two ISO files with operating systems:

  • Windows ISO file
  • Windows 11 ISO file.

Windows images can be downloaded from the official Microsoft website, or you can use another method to get them.

Downloading Windows 10 on a PC is done in the following way:

  1. Open the official Windows 10 download page in your browser: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 .
  2. Click on the “Download tool now” button.


  1. Run the “MediaCreationToolXXXX.exe” file.
  2. First, preparation is performed, and then in the window that opens, accept the terms of the license agreement.
  3. In the Media Creation Tool application window, a window will open asking “What do you want to do?”, in which you need to select “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file).


  1. Select the language, architecture, and edition of Windows.


  1. In the “Select media” window, activate the “ISO file” item.


  1. Choose a location to save the file on your PC.
  2. After that, the application will download the ISO file to the device.

As a result, you will receive two ISO files with 64-bit Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems.

We need a program to extract files from a Windows ISO image. In this article, we use the free 7-Zip archiver. You can use other archivers or specialized programs for working with images: WinRAR, UltraISO, AnyBurn or other applications.

Install the 7-Zip program on your computer or use the portable version of the application. The examples in this article use the portable version of the program.

Go through the following steps:

  1. Right click on the downloaded Windows ISO file
  2. From the context menu, first click “Open With” and then select “7-Zip File Manager”.


  1. Open the “sources” folder by double-clicking on it with the left mouse button.


  1. Find the “Install.wim” file.

This file contains Windows 11 OS.

  1. Click on the “Extract” button.


  1. Choose a location on your computer that is convenient for saving this file, wait until the process of extracting the “Install.wim” file from the ISO image is completed.


You can remove the Windows 11 ISO image from the PC after extracting the file we need, because we won’t need it anymore.

  1. Open the Windows 10 ISO file in 7-Zip.
  2. Select all files, and then click on the “Extract” button.


  1. In the window for choosing a save location, create a folder with any name in which you want to place all the files from the Windows ISO image
  2. Open the folder with the unpacked Windows files in Explorer
  3. Go to the “sources” folder.
  4. Right-click on the “install.esd” file, and select “Delete” from the context menu.


  1. Paste the “Install.wim” file into the “sources” folder instead of the deleted “install.esd” file.

We are ready to install Windows 11. You can use this prepared distribution folder at any time to update the operating system to a new version.

Installing Windows 11 on Windows 7

Now we will take a closer look at the process of moving to Windows 11 from Windows 7. We have all the data prepared, now we can go directly to the process of updating the system.

Do the following:

  1. Enter the folder with the distribution of Windows OS
  2. Double click on the “setup” file.


  1. In the Install Windows 10 window, click on the option to Set Windows Installer to download updates.

Ignore the installer window titles that tell us that we’re installing Windows 10. Remember, we’re actually installing Windows 11.


  1. In the Get Updates, Drivers, and Options window, set to Not Now. Also make sure that “I want to help improve Windows” is not enabled.


  1. After checking and preparing the system, in the “Applicable notices and license terms” window, click on the “Accept” button.


  1. In the “Select what you want to keep” window, select “Keep only my personal files.”


  1. Confirm using this option.


  1. After verification, the “Ready to install” window displays information that you have chosen to install Windows 11 of the corresponding edition with keeping personal files. Click on the “Install” button.


  1. The computer starts installing Windows 11 under the guise of Windows 10.


  1. During the installation of the operating system on the PC, several reboots will occur. The update process takes some time.
  2. At the end of the Windows 11 installation, the “Choose privacy options for this device” window will open, in which you need to turn off the suggested options in order to transfer less data from your computer to Microsoft.
  1. The Windows 11 desktop will open on the screen.


Check the OS activation status after upgrading from an activated Windows 7 operating system.

Do the following:

  1. Press the “Win” + “I” keys.
  2. In the “Settings” application, in the “System” tab, click on the “Activation” option.
  3. In the window, you will see the activation status of Windows 11 after the update has been completed.


As you can see, we were able to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 for free and without checking the hardware of the computer.

In other cases, you can use the method of “clean” installation of Windows 11 on a computer with Windows 7 installed using a boot able USB flash drive.

Article Conclusions

Some users want to upgrade their computers from Windows 7 to Windows 11. There are several ways that you can install Windows 11 on Windows 7 using the system update option. In this case, the user will be able to switch to another operating system while maintaining their files and license status.

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