How to make a clean installation of Windows 10 easily – The Windows 10 upgrade process drags old files, settings, and programs from the previous Windows system to the new system. Microsoft allows you to get a completely new system by performing a fresh installation. This is especially useful if you have purchased a new Windows 10 PC and it contains UK media coverage software installed by the manufacturer you don’t want. Alternatively, you may need to perform a fresh installation on a computer that does not have an existing Windows system after installing a new hard drive.
Of course, you will miss pre-installed apps, such as the free DVD player included with many PCs. However, you can always install VLC to play DVDs or use one of the more comprehensive Windows Media Center alternatives.
Previously, Microsoft forced users to upgrade to Windows 10 before they could reboot and install a new one – it was very complicated and time consuming. Now things get easier because you can activate Windows 10 with the Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 keys.
Option 1: Create installation media and install Windows from scratch
The classic way to perform a fresh install is still the preferred option for Windows 10. You only need to download and create the installation media on your DVD or flash drive and install it from there.
Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. This tool will download the correct Windows 10 installation files for your system and help you create an installation DVD or flash drive. Start it and select the “Create installation media for another PC” option to create the installation media.
Be sure to select the correct type of installation media for your copy of Windows 10 that has been licensed by PC – Windows 10 Home or Professional. (If “Windows 10” is the only option, you can use it safely, it will detect the version you want and choose your language and choose whether you need a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.
Most people will want 64 Bit version, but you can create installation media that contains both, and when you use it to install Windows on your computer, the installer will automatically select the most appropriate version.
Install Windows 10 from the installation media just like any other operating system. Plug in the USB drive or DVD to restart the computer and boot from the device. This may require you to change the settings in the BIOS, access the boot menu, or use the “Use device” option in the advanced boot options on modern Windows 8 or 10 devices that include UEFI firmware instead of the legacy BIOS. After the Windows installer starts, select “Install Now”.
Next, you’ll see the activation screen. What you do here depends on your situation:
- If you’ve never installed and activated Windows 10 on this computer before, you’ll see the activation screen. Enter your Windows 10 key here. If you don’t have one, but you have a valid 7, 8, or 8.1 key, enter it here instead.
- If you’ve ever installed and activated Windows 10 on this computer before, click “I don’t have a product key”. Windows will automatically activate once it’s installed.
The second case is because Windows 10 activates the PC. When you first install and activate Windows 10 on your system, the installer confirms that you have installed the Genuine Windows system and registered your hardware with Microsoft’s servers. After that, you no longer have to enter the key on the same PC – the next time you install Windows 10 on that computer, Microsoft will recognize your hardware, confirm that it is registered, and activate it automatically.
You will usually go through the setup process until you see the “What type of installation do you want?” screen. Select the “Custom” option to ensure that you perform a fresh installation instead of an upgrade installation.
Partition the system drive as needed. If you only have one Windows partition, you can tell the installer to overwrite it. If you have many partitions, you can remove them all and tell Windows 10 to install itself in unallocated space.
After logging in to the newly installed Windows 10 system, it should be activated automatically when connected to the Internet.
To make sure it is activated correctly, open the Start menu and click Settings. Click the Update & Security button and go to the Activation tab.
Confirm that you see “Windows activated” here. Also note the version of Windows 10 you have installed – Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro. Most people will receive a Home Edition from a 7 or 8 free upgrade, but if you have previously installed Windows 7 or 8 Professional, you will get Windows 10 Pro.
If we reinstall Windows 10 Pro on your computer, it will be activated immediately. However, if Microsoft’s activation server is overloaded, system activation may take some time. If it is not activated, you may see information here that can help you activate.
Some people report having to restart multiple times while others wait. If it does not happen automatically after completing the above steps, the following command can be forced to activate. First, right-click the Start button or press the Windows key + X and select Command Prompt (Administrator) to open the Administrator Command Prompt. Enter the following command and press Enter:
Many people report that this command must be run multiple times. If you see an error message, try rebooting and running it again, wait and run it again, or just wait and let Windows activate automatically. Microsoft’s servers may be overloaded when you try to activate.
Option 2: Perform a reset and delete everything
If you have upgraded to Windows 10 and want a fresh install, there is an easier way. You can use the Reset feature to reset your Windows 10 system to a new state. If you have Windows 10 installed yourself, this should give you a Fresh Windows system right away.
However, there are some caveats: this method does not apply to all situations. For example, if you purchased a computer that came with Windows 10, this might bring back the British media coverage that came with your Windows 10 PC. (There is a workaround, but we haven’t tested it ourselves.)
In addition, some people report that it will not fix some system corruption issues, in which case you would like to use the Option One above to perform a truly clean installation.
To reset your Windows 10 PC, open the Settings app, select Updates & Security, select Recovery, and then click the Get Started button under Reset this PC. Select “Delete all content.” This will erase all files, so make sure to back up.
Microsoft’s free upgrade offer depends on the hardware of your PC, so if you replace the hardware in your PC, it may not activate properly.
You may need to call Microsoft and complete the phone activation process to explain what happened if you changed the hardware of your PC after taking advantage of this offer. The Telephone Support Line can provide you with an activation code that allows you to activate Windows 10 even if it does not automatically activate. However, you may need to provide additional information.
Technically, a free Windows 10 upgrade (and an OEM copy of Windows and a pre-installed copy of Windows 10) should not be transferred to a separate PC. But usually, the phone activation process will let you do this anyway, so it’s worth a try.