Microsoft Shuts Down the Windows 7 to Windows 11 Pipeline

Microsoft Shuts Down the Windows 7 to Windows 11 Pipeline

Does it go to 11? Well, no, not if you’re trying to get access to Microsoft’s latest version of its Windows OS using the age-old Windows 7 backdoor.

Microsoft finally ended the years-long deal that allowed those with Windows 7 and Windows 8 keys to access Windows 11 for free by first upgrading through Windows 10. Last month, Microsoft put out an update on its device partner center to say that the 7 to 11 installation path was kaput, but users had confirmed that until now, the older OS keys still worked to access the company’s latest operating system. That’s now over with.

Last month, Neowin tried to access the latest version of the Windows 11 beta Canary build with a Windows 7 key but was unsuccessful. At the time, those keys were able to activate the Windows 11 version 22H2, but on Wednesday, The Verge confirmed that those keys no longer activated the older OS version as well. The key could install the OS, but it doesn’t let users activate the product with it.

The free upgrade program was first introduced back in 2015 with Windows 10, and even the old Windows pirates were invited to upgrade their software. Microsoft promised users could upgrade for free for one year, but that quietly turned into two years thanks to a few loopholes with Microsoft’s Accessibility Site. Two years became three, and on and on. Now eight years later, Microsoft finally did away with the 7 to 11 pipeline.

Windows 7 has long been defunct, and Microsoft finally stopped offering any and all security updates for both 7 and 8.1 earlier this year. Windows 10 will similarly go the way of the Dodo on Oct. 14, 2025 as Microsoft plans to end all software support for the old OS. However, wise Windows users have been able to bypass the $US130 Windows 11 Home base price by acquiring a Windows 7 key and using that to upgrade their machines.

You can still upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11 for free, though many who haven’t made the switch might simply be trying to avoid 11’s more notorious “features.” Last September’s update was its most significant for the OS, especially with File Explorer tabs and the Focus Session feature. However, Microsoft’s massive push to put an AI chatbot into every nook and cranny on the OS has been a fair bit overwhelming.

It doesn’t exactly bode well for Windows 12, despite the usual rule of thumb that every other version of Windows is better than the last (as was the case with Windows Vista and 7, or Windows 8 and 10). There are some loose rumors saying we could see a new version of Microsoft’s OS in 2024. With nothing concrete to work off of, we can only speculate the next version of Windows will be all-in on AI. Perhaps the company will still let users jump from 10 to 12 and leave 11 behind, or maybe it finally learned its lesson.

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