PSA: Windows 11 may still be activated with Windows 7 keys.

If your Windows 10 computer has appropriate hardware, you can get Windows 11 for free. However, in order to create a new computer or use Windows 11 in a virtual environment, you must purchase a genuine licence key. Windows 11 is available from Microsoft or authorised resellers for $199 in the US and £219 in the UK for the Pro Edition, or you can save a significant amount of money by using a key for an earlier version of Windows, such as Windows 7, 8.1, or 10.

Old licence keys for Windows 7 are still working flawlessly to activate new Windows versions seven years after the release of Windows 10. How to acquire Windows 11 for free can be accomplished with an outdated DVD containing Windows 7 or a licence sticker from a malfunctioning laptop. Such keys are also available for significantly cheaper than Windows 11’s initial list price from other people. You cannot activate Windows 11 Pro using a key for Windows 7 Home; keep in mind that editions should match.

Here’s how to use a Windows 7 key to activate Windows 11:

  1. Install the operating system locally or on a virtual machine after creating a bootable Windows 11 drive with Rufus or the Media Creation Tool.
  2. Before installation, Windows 11 will request that you submit a licence key. To proceed without a key, select “I do not have a key” (you may get an error when using a Windows 7 key on this step).
  3. Continue installing Windows 11 now.
  4. Connect your computer or virtual machine to the Internet once everything is ready, then open the Settings app.
  5. Click Change Product Code under System > Activation.
  6. Wait for Windows 11 to activate after entering your Windows 7 key.

The official virtual machines provided by Microsoft are available to users of other operating systems who want to test out what Windows 11 has to offer. They can operate for several months without activation and are freely available. Up until February 7, 2023, the current iteration of the official Microsoft virtual machines will work without asking you for a licencing key. Microsoft will then offer an updated version, providing everyone the choice to continue using Windows 11 on a virtual machine for free. The official Microsoft website offers free Windows 11 virtual computers for download.

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Christopher Woodill

About ME

Enterprise technology leader for the past 15+ years…certified PMP, Six Sigma Black Belt and TOGAF Enterprise Architect. I collaborate with companies to help align their strategic objectives with concrete implementable technology strategies. I am Vice President, Enterprise Solutions for Klick Health.

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