I currently run four Windows machines and wanted to upgrade yet another to Windows 10 but the installer option to keep personal files and apps was greyed out. Here’s how you can keep Windows settings, personal files and apps.

Upgrade Path

Solutions To Common Problems
How To Upgrade And Keep Personal Apps/Files
Upgrade Matrix For Windows 7,8 and Phone
Upgrading From Home Edition To Pro Edition – How?
Upgrading From 32-Bit Windows To 64-Bit – Possible?

Windows 10 Upgrade Process: Direct Upgrade Depends On Default Locale, Architecture And Version

The Windows 10 installer allows you to choose from different Windows editions, architecture and languages. In order to perform a straight-forward upgrade from Windows 7/8 to 10 you need to upgrade to the exact same version.

Upgrading To Different Versions And Editions
Upgrading Windows 8 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit? Not Possible, Clean Install Required (Same For Windows 7)
Upgrading Windows 8 Pro 64-bit (German/French/Polish) to Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit (English)? Upgrade Partially Possible, You Need The Same Language Installer To Keep Apps Too. Details Here
Upgrading Windows 8 Home 64-bit (English) to Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (English) Upgrade Indirectly Possible, First Upgrade To Windows 8 Pro Then To Windows 10 Pro

Once you understand that it’s pretty straight-forward. If you currently run Windows 8 Home but want to install Windows 10 Pro you have two choices: Either perform an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro before upgrading to Windows 10 or perform the upgrade to Windows 10 and then get an upgrade to the Pro version.

However, you cannot simply switch between 32-bit and 64-bit. A clean install would be required.

Help, I Want To Keep Personal Files And Apps But It’s Greyed Out!

Is the option “Keep personal files and apps” greyed out for you?

Keep Personal Settings Windows 10 Uprgrade.png

At the bottom of your upgrade window it may say “You can’t keep Windows settings, personal files, and apps because you’ve chosen to install Windows 10 using a different language than you’re currently using“.

The error basically says it all: You need to check your current default locale (from the first time you installed Windows). Even if you have later installed language packages, Windows will still complain.

1. Step Open an elevated command prompt

2. Step Next, enter the command dism /online /get-intl. You should get a result like this:

Windows 10 Check Default Locale Before Upgrading To Windows10.png

Basically what it tells you is the original locale when you’ve first installed Windows.

3. Step Ok, now you know your original locale. Plug in your USB device or an empty DVD into your DVD burner and start the Windows upgrade tool.

Create Installation Media For Another Pc.png

4. Step Now select the correct architecture, the correct version and the correct language. If you don’t know whether you’re on Windows 32-bit or 64-bit, you can find a guide here

Select Correct Architecture Language And Windows 10 Edition.png

5. Step So, let’s say you currently run Windows 8 Professional 64-bit, you will need to pick Windows 10 Pro, 64-bit and your original language that we determined in step 3 (in my case de-de/German)

6. Step Great! Now we have the correct upgrade and can proceed with installing Windows 10 – plug in your drive or disc and start the tool

Your Windows Usb Flash Is Ready.png

7. Step Ok, now you should no longer see a greyed out option and can perform a direct upgrade that keeps your installed apps. If you are seeing a warning message instead, it’s possible you have insufficient disk space. I wrote a little about that in another post that will be published shortly. Stay tuned.

For frequently asked questions, read on:

FAQ: Can I Upgrade Windows 8 Home to Windows 10 Pro?

Indirectly, yes. What you can do is upgrade to Windows 8 Pro with a Pro key (ISOs are available online). The upgrade disc with a proper license can also be purchased from Amazon.

Once you have that you can upgrade from Home to Pro. Then create an installation disc or USB device to upgrade directly to Windows 10 Pro.

FAQ: Can I Upgrade From Windows 7 32-bit to Windows 10 64-bit?

No, you can’t. In order to change the system architecture you need to perform a clean install of Windows 10.

A direct upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit will never be possible because of the fundamental differences in system architecture and system paths.