How to Upgrade From Windows 10 Home to Pro

If you need more power, here's how to upgrade

Once you've decided you need to upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro, you have two methods to do so. One is to do a fresh install of Pro, while the other is to install Pro on top of Windows 10 Home. We'll focus on this second method here because your computer likely came installed with Home.

Person browsing the Microsoft Store for WIndows 10 Pro Upgrade
Maddy Price / Lifewire

If you don't know which version of Windows you have, you can find it easily whether you're using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, or XP.

However, if you installed Home manually, for example on a PC you built yourself, you have the option to move the Home license elsewhere and install the Pro version in its place.

Our FAQ on product keys will tell you everything you need to know about moving Windows licenses between machines.

Upgrade Windows 10 Home to Pro via the Windows Store

If you haven't paid anything for the upgrade yet, and no one has handed you a copy of Pro, the most straightforward way to upgrade is using the Windows Store. In order to upgrade, take the following steps:

  1. First, make sure your PC doesn't have any pending updates.

    Screenshot of Updates Available in Windows 10
  2. Next, select the Start Menu, then select Settings.

    Windows 10 Start > Settings
  3. Select Update & Security.

    Windows 10 Update & Security
  4. Select Activation on the left-hand menu.

    Windows 10 Activation
  5. Select Go to the Store.

    Activation > Go to the Store
  6. This will lead you to the Windows Store. To purchase the upgrade, you can select Buy.

    Buy Windows 10 Pro button
  7. Log in with your Microsoft account, then enter your payment method. Windows will upgrade in no time flat.

Upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Pro via a License Key/Digital License

If you do have a copy of Windows 10 Pro, or maybe you found a retail copy of the upgrade for less than Microsoft charges, you'll have a product key (alternately called a license key) that enables Windows 10 Pro. You'll need it to replace your current license key. To do so:

If you've received a full copy of Windows Pro instead of an upgrade copy, you should be able to move that Home license to a new machine. You can do this if you installed Home yourself, but not to a copy of Home that came pre-installed on your PC. When you buy a new PC, you typically get a cheaper copy of Windows than if you bought it at retail, but it's bound to that particular PC.

  1. Make sure you're up to date on any Windows Updates.

  2. Navigate again to Start Menu > Settings > Updates and Security > Activation.

    Windows 10 Activation
  3. Under Activation, select Change product key. The Product Key window will open.

  4. Enter the 25-digit Windows Pro Product Key.

    Enter a product key
  5. Select Next. If your key is correct, the upgrade will start, and you'll soon get a message that Windows has been upgraded.

How to Transfer Your Windows 10 Pro Upgrade

Since you had a full operating system before this upgrade, you can remove it from its current machine and use it on another. You're effectively reinstalling your original license, which will make the upgrade available again. If you need to do this:

  1. Look at the bottom of your Windows laptop, or on the top/side of a desktop tower. There might be a sticker there showing your original Windows product key; alternatively, it might be in the manuals and other material that came in your PC's box.

  2. Enter the key in the Change product key dialog as noted above, and you'll effectively "downgrade" to your old Home license.

    Screenshot of Product Key window
  3. Your upgrade license should now be freed up to be installed on another machine.

Try to do this while you're online, so Microsoft can register that you removed the Pro upgrade.