3 Ways to Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11 without Losing Data

Can I upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7 for free? Of course you can! You will know the basic system requirements for Windows 11 first and learn three simple ways to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11 without losing data.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Should I upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11?

Windows 11 has been released for some time by Microsoft, coming with a new UI (User Interface)  and many innovative features which is more suitable for the current working environment. It attracts a number of users to upgrade to Windows 11 no matter they are using Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, or Windows 10.

Windows 11 upgrade seems urgent especially for Windows 7 users because Microsoft officially states that it won't provide the service for Windows 7. Therefore, if you are running on Windows 7, you are easily exposed to the risk of virus attack and malware infection without the official security. Due to this, the best way to keep your computer safe is to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11, the newest Windows operating system.


Can I upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7 for free?

If you are still running on Windows 7 computer, there are different ways you can use to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 for free. This is what we are going to talk about in the latter content. But in order to make sure your Windows can run smoothly and normally after upgrading, the most important thing you need to pay much more attention to is to check if Windows 11 will work on your computer. Let's have a look first.

Check whether you can upgrade to Windows 11

Since Windows 11 is a breakthrough in technology to ensure users' data security and work efficiency, Microsoft puts forward that Windows 11 needs stricter requirements so that you can run it normally. Otherwise, you will encounter some tricky and tough problems while using Windows 11 OS. So you need to check whether your computer meets the following basic system requirements for Windows 11.

* A 64-bit processor with a frequency of 1GHz.
* 4GB or greater RAM.
* 64 GB or larger storage.
* UEFI boot mode and Secure Boot.
* TPM version 2.0.
* Compatible with DirectX 12 or later/ WDDM 2.0 driver.
* High definition (720) display.

How to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11?

As mentioned before, Windows 7 is not supported by Microsoft any more, so it is unable to be upgraded directly from Windows Update. Besides, official statement shows that upgrading to Windows 11 is only free for Windows 10 users and this update won't cause data loss. So how to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11 without losing data? Here comes the resolution: we can upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 first, and then upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11. The step-by-step guide is below:

Part 1. Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10

Just in case of data loss caused by improper operation, please back up your important data in advance.

Step 1. Open Microsoft's official site for Windows 10 download.

Step 2. Run the media creation tool by clicking "Download now" under "Create Windows 10 installation media".

Step 3. Select "Upgrade this PC now".


Step 4. Follow the prompts to finish the upgrade.

Step 5. Once the upgrade is complete, go to Settings > Upgrade& Security > Activation, and you will see a digital license for Windows 10.

Part 2. Upgrade Windows 10 to Windows 11

As we discussed before, Windows 11 requires stricter configuration to ensure security and stable performance. Most of the requirements are easy to meet, but the biggest challenge is that Windows 11 only supports UEFI boot mode, which must work with a GPT disk. That is to say, if you are running on an MBR disk, which is not for Windows 11 partition scheme, you must convert MBR to GPT first, and then change BIOS to UEFI to make sure the workable combination of UEFI and GPT.

Step 1. Convert MBR to GPT

Windows built-in tools like DiskPart and Disk Management are not recommended here to convert MBR to GPT because it requires to delete all partitions on your disk beforehand, which will certainly cause data loss. Therefore, a powerful and safe partition manager named AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is brought to your sight. This software can directly convert system disk or data disk between MBR and GPT with the data remaining on the disk. Besides, whether you are using Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP or Vista, it is totally compatible.

Note: Please check your computer can boot from UEFI before converting, or you will fail to run your computer normally. If your motherboard does not support UEFI and you still want to use Windows 11 OS, you can also create a Windows 11 bootable USB to make it.

Now, come to download the demo version to see how to convert system disk from MBR to GPT:

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the disk you want to use to store OS and choose "Convert to GPT".  


Step 2. Click "OK" to confirm your operation.   


Step 3. Click "Apply" to commit the operation.


Step 2. Change Legacy BIOS to UEFI

After that, you have successfully converted the MBR system disk to GPT. Now, you need to change BIOS to UEFI. Please do as the follows:

1. After restarting the computer, when a picture appears on the screen, enter the BIOS Setup menu by pressing some specific keys(usually Del for desktops and F2 for laptops).

2. Select UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode in the Boot tab, and change Legacy to UEFI. Then save the changes and exit.


Till now, you have prepared everything before you can upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 11.

Step 3. Upgrade to Windows 11 from "Check for Updates"

Now, just go to Settings> Update & Security > Windows Update, and then click "Check for Updates". Follow the prompts and complete the upgrade. When finish, you can enjoy the Windows 11 operating system.


Other two options for upgrading to Windows 11

However, some users still prefer to directly upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11. Is it possible for this? Of course! Here are another two options you can apply.

Option 1. Clean install Windows 11 on Windows 7 computer for OS upgrade

Clean install Windows 11 seems like replacing the current Windows 7 operating system with the new Windows 11 OS, which means all the files, programs, and settings on the original Windows 7 will be removed completely. So please make a backup in advance and then follow the guide to achieve the upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 7.

Part 1. Create Windows 11 installation media

Step 1. Prepare a USB that is at least larger than 8GB.

Step 2. Connect the USB with the PC. Download the Windows 11 media creation tool to make a bootable USB.


Step 3. Run the tool, select the language and Windows 11 edition and click “Next”.


Step 4. Choose USB flash drive option and select “Next”.


Step 5. Install Windows 11 on the USB and remove your USB. Now, you can use it to install Windows 11 on your Windows 7 computer.

Part 2. Perform clean installation

Step 1. Insert the USB to Windows 7 computer and restart it. When entering the BIOS/UEFI interface, move the USB to the first in the boot sequence list.

Step 2. Save and exit BIOS/UEFI and restart the computer again, now your computer will boot from the USB.

Step 3. Then you will see the Windows 11 installation interface. Select the correct parameters and click “Next”.


Step 4. Click the “Install now” .


Step 5. Now, please enter your product key. If not, please click “I don’t have a product key” to skip it.


Step 6. In the new window, select “Custom: Install Windows only(advanced)”.


Follow the instructions to finish the rest of the settings. After completing all the steps, Windows 11 has been installed on your PC.

Option 2. Migrate Windows 11 OS to your Windows 7 computer

If you or your friends have a computer with Windows 11 installed on it, it's not a bad idea to migrate Windows 11 OS to your Windows 7 computer. What needs to focus on is that this way will migrate all settings of Windows 11 computer to the old one so you need to modify some settings you don't like after migration.

This method can also be completed by AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, which allows to migrate OS not only from MBR disk to MBR SSD/HDD, but also from MBR disk to GPT SSD/HHD and vice versa. Let's see the details:

Step 1. Take out the system disk from the Win7 PC (we'll call it the destination disk in the next part) and connect it to the Win11 PC. Ensure both hard disks can be detected.

Step 2. Install and open AOMEI software on a Win11 PC and select "Clone"> "Migrate OS" on the top panel. In the popup window, hit "Next" to proceed.


Step 3. Select an unallocated space on the destination disk and click on "Next". (If there's no unallocated space on the destination drive, tick "I want to delete all partitions on the disk 2 to migrate system to the disk". This will erase all of your data on the disk.)


Step 4. Resize the partition as you want or keep the default settings. Then, click "Next".


Step 5. Read the note and then click on “Finish” to return to the main console.


Step 6. Click "Apply" on the toolbar to commit the pending operation. Now, the Windows 11 has been migrated successfully.


Step 7. Put the system disk back to your Windows 7 computer and restart. Then, read on and learn to change the boot order to make the new PC boot from the hard disk where Windows 11 was migrated. You will notice that Windows 7 upgrade to Windows 11 successfully.



Now, you have known three methods to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 11 from this page. It's unnecessary for you to try them one by one, just choose the best one according to your installation situation and personal preference. Here, we highly recommend the first method to you to keep your data always safe.

When you successfully use the Windows 11 operating system, AOMEI software can help you manage your partitions better such as moving folders from C drive to D drive, converting dynamic disk to basic, cleaning up disk to get better performance,  and erasing SSD in a secure way.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.