People are taking advantage of the free upgrade at a blistering pace, and Microsoft doesn’t want to melt its servers. Because of that, the company’s rolling out upgrade prompts slowly—so slowly, in fact, that Microsoft recently warned would-be-upgraders that they may be waiting for a few weeks.
Fortunately, there’s a way to skip ahead in line if you’re impatient.
The secret sauce lies in Microsoft’s new Windows 10 Media Creation tool, which allows you to burn the operating system’s install media to a DVD or USB drive with at least 4GB of storage space. (It lets you create Windows 10 ISO files, too, though you’ll want to do an upgrade-in-place first to avoid potential license authentication issues.)
To find out which version of Windows 10 you need, open File Explorer on your current system, right click on My Computer or This PC, and select Properties. The info will reveal whether you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, which you’ll want to match when you’re configuring the Media Creation tool. If you’re running a Pro or Ultimate version of Windows 7 or 8, you’ll want to select Windows 10 Pro; users of Home, Starter, or standard versions of those operating systems can only upgrade to Windows 10 Home. If you have Windows Media Center installed, it will be uninstalled during this process because it’s not supported in Windows 10.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.