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If the process doesn't pan out, here's the longer process using an intermediate OS to take you the distance. I know, it seems like a pain to first upgrade to an earlier version of Windows, and it is. I went through the Windows 8 upgrade process in some detail in this article: 8 lessons learned from upgrading a dog-slow Windows XP machine to Windows 8.
But, if you have a bunch of Top Gear reruns to watch, it's not really that bad. Key among the lessons learned was making sure Windows XP was updated to SP3 before doing anything else.
This is how you get good install images for Windows 7 or Windows 8. In most cases, you're probably upgrading Windows XP 32-bit, which means you'll need the 32-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Click in, then choose Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 at the bottom of the page, and follow the directions. Don't try to install 64-bit Windows 7 or Windows 8 if you are running 32-bit Windows XP. Note that if you have a Windows 8 (rather than Windows 8.1) license key, you're fine.
An unused, sacrificial Windows 7 or Windows 8 license code. You're actually going to be upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8, and then to Windows 10.Read More For those running Windows 7 or Windows 8, the upgrade is straightforward. Microsoft has gone out of its way to make upgrading to Windows 10 easy. In my case, I had a few machines sitting in my garage that still had Windows XP on them (and one with, I kid you not, Vista).There were a few reasons I decided to do the upgrades. But I often press old machines into service for some project or another. I sometimes bump into people in my community who desperately need a computer.To get the free Windows 10 upgrade, you need to sacrifice a Windows 7 or Windows 8 license.Many of us have a bunch of licenses left over from machines we've taken out of service, so dig around.