Want to know how to install Windows 10? We explain how you can do it automatically, or the manual way to get a clean install from an ISO. Be sure to read this before you install Windows 10.
Step 1 of 12:
If you have a genuine version of Windows 7 or 8.1, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. You won’t get a licence key, which complicates things when it comes to installing (or reinstalling) Windows 10. Here we’ll explain the two options for installing it: through Windows Update or by downloading the ISO file and installing Windows 10 manually.
Step 2 of 12: Windows Update
A lot of people will have reserved Windows 10 and this means the upgrade will happen through Windows Update.
The process is similar to the regular Windows updates in that you won’t have to do much except allow the upgrade to happen. Your files, applications and settings will be preserved and everything should work fine when Windows 10 is installed, since even Windows 7 drivers are compatible with the new OS.
Step 3 of 12:
When Windows 10 is installed through Windows Update you will end up with a Windows.old folder on your C: drive containing your old OS. You can remove this with the Windows Cleanup tool if it’s taking up too much space.
Step 4 of 12: ISO file
For many people, Windows 10 is an opportunity to start afresh and ditch years of junk that has accumulated on their PC or laptop. A ‘clean’ install is the type we always do here at PC Advisor, and it’s what we recommend you do to.
With Windows 10 you’ll be able to download the ISO file and keep it handy for future reinstalls. However, you can’twipe your hard drive (or use a new one) and install Windows 10 from the ISO file.
Instead, you’ll need to run the EXE file once you’ve turned the ISO file into a bootable drive (or disc) and upgrade your existing Windows. When Windows 10 is installed it will activate online.
Step 5 of 12:
Once Windows 10 is activated, only then can you begin the clean install by using the Reset function in Windows 10. You’ll find it at Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC (Get Started). Follow the on-screen instructions and you should see the option to remove everything and reinstall Windows.
Before you do, ensure you’ve backed up everything, as the process will wipe your C: drive.
Step 6 of 12: How to install Windows 10 from an ISO file
Head to Microsoft’s website and look for a link to download Windows 10. There are 32- and 64-bit versions, so make sure you get the right one. Most people will need the 64-bit version. If you’re unsure, go to Control Panel > System and Security > System and look at the System type field to see which version is currently installed on the computer you’re upgrading. The 64-bit version is roughly 4GB, while the 32-bit is a bit smaller.
Step 7 of 12:
Download Rufus from rufus.akeo.ie which is the tool you’ll use to write the ISO file to a USB drive or writable DVD. You’ll need at least a 4GB USB flash drive.
Run Rufus and check your flash drive or DVD drive is correctly selected at the top. Then choose ISO image next to ‘Create a bootable disk using’ and click the little button to the right and navigate to the Windows 10 ISO you downloaded. Click Start and the tool will get to work.
Step 8 of 12:
Now you have a bootable drive, navigate to it and run setup.exe. The first screen will ask if you want to get the latest updates – it’s worth doing this.
Step 9 of 12:
Accept the licence terms and if you chose to, the installer will download the latest updates. Then, it will check to make sure your system meets the minimum requirements and if it does, will show a ‘Ready to install’ screen explaining that your settings, files and apps will be kept.
Step 10 of 12:
You may see a ‘What needs your attention’ screen explaining any reason why Windows 10 can’t be installed and what you can do about it. For us, it was just a warning that the language would be changed.
Step 11 of 12:
Click install and your PC will reboot. You’ll see a Windows logo, followed by a language selection. Keep an eye on the install as it will reboot your computer and if you don’t remove the DVD or flash drive it might try to boot from it instead of your hard drive.
Step 12 of 12:
Windows 10 will boot, ask you a few questions and then ask you to sign in with your Microsoft ID. When you finally get to the Windows 10 desktop, allow a bit of time for Windows 10 search for drivers for your hardware. The screen resolution may be wrong, but after a few minutes the correct resolution should be set.