How to make a clean Windows 10 Installation

How to make a clean Windows 10 Installation

A fresh and clean Windows 10 Installation is for most people the way to go and I would in 99% suggest to do so. But – there could be circumstances when an upgrade to Windows 10 is the better choice.

If you are unsure if you either should do a clean Windows Installation or maybe go with an upgrade, check out our How to make a Windows Upgrade to see what suits you best.

There are plenty of reasons for a clean Install, though. Of course the most obvious is if you got a new Harddrive with just nothing on it, but there are other scenarios as well. Did you ever checked the huge amount of bloatware a PC comes with these days? Most of the preinstalled software you’ll never use but often it’s not even possible to uninstall it completely.

If you already running an older version of Windows you may consider upgrading because you’re afraid of the hassle of a fresh install, but think again. Most of the time its not necessary to drag all those old files to the new OS and once you set it up again you know it was totally worth it.

If you already have Windows 10 installed and want to do a (quick) new Installation

If you already using Windows 10, because you did the free upgrade that Microsoft offered, there is an option to reset Windows to its default settings, so you don’t need to go through the Installation process again.

But be aware that this will not help you if you have a preinstalled Windows 10 on a new PC. It will recover the bloatware as well.

To reset your Windows 10 PC, go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery and click on “Get started” under Reset this PC. Select “Remove everything.” Remember to backup all your files before this process because it will wipe all your data of course.

Install Windows 10 from Scatch

If neither the upgrade nor the reset function is what you are looking for, than the classic method of performing a clean new install is the way to go.

You’ll need:

  • PC to download the files and create the boot device
  • Flash Drive (min. 4 GB) or DVD
  • valid Windows 10 License Key
  • administrativ rights

Let’s get into it!

Downloading Windows 10

1First of all download the media creation tool from Microsoft by clicking “Download tool now”.

With this tool you could upgrade the PC you are downloading to but you can also download the installation files to copy them on your Flash Drive or burn on DVD, to perform a clean install on a different PC.

2Run the tool by double clicking on it and accept the terms. On the “What do you want to do?” page, select “Create installation media for another PC”, and proceed with Next.

Microsoft Windows 10 Installation create media
select "Create installation media for another PC"

3Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) for the Windows 10 version you want to download and you got the key for. If you are unsure if you got 32 or 64 bit, your installation media can include both. If you can, go for the 64 bit.

4Select if you want to use a USB flash drive (recommend) or if you want to save an ISO file which you can burn on DVD.

Remember that the USB flash drive has at least 4 GB of free space and that all data on the flash drive will be deleted, so make sure its nothing on it.

Install Windows 10

After your installation device (USB or DVD) is prepared, you need to boot from that media on the PC you want to install Windows at.

If your PC starts regularly even with the USB drive inserted, you need to change a BIOS setting to change the boot order. You can also try to hit the F11 or F12 key to access the temporary boot menu and change the order there.

Once you are booting from your media device the installation is pretty straight forward. When you see the Activation screen insert your Windows 10 key. If you don’t have one, but you have a valid 7, 8, or 8.1 key, enter it here instead.

Even if you don’t provide a key during the installation process, you can later go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation.

Activate Windows 10 Installation process
If you want to enter the key later, click "I don't have a product key"

Go to the setup process until you see the “Which type of installation do you want?” menu. Make sure you choose “Custom: Windows Install only” here, otherwise you would start an upgrade.

Custom Windows 10 Installation
select "Custom: Windows Install only"

After the Windows Installation is done the PC will reboot and you can log into your new, cleanly installed Windows 10 system.

Make sure you got an Internet connection and the Windows should activate itself automatically.

To make sure the activation was successful, go to Start > Settings >Update & Security >Activation and verify the status is correct.

Windows 10 Activation
check if Windows is activated

If you have an active Internet connection but Windows is not activated, you can try to force the activation process. Open the command prompt with Windows-Key + X > command prompt (admin) and type in following and hit enter.

slmgr.vbs /ato

Enjoy your fresh and clean Windows 10 Install!

  1. […] Keep in mind that you only can upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. If you are still running Windows XP, you need (and should) make a fresh Win 10 Install. […]

  2. […] talk about who can upgrade to Windows 10. Be sure to check our Upgrade Windows 10 Tutorial and our Windows 10 Clean Install Tutorial to find the best way to get Windows 10 up and […]

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