There is nothing like a clean install of Windows! A clean install can help you fix various annoying issues and also makes your PC run like a new one again. The procedure to perform a clean install of Windows 10 is not very different from previous Windows versions. You just need to prepare the bootable media, boot from it, and then follow easy on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
But if you’re not sure, follow the below mentioned directions to do a clean install of Windows 10 on your PC.
IMPORTANT: If this is the first time you’re installing Windows 10 on your PC, it’s a good idea to make sure that your PC is compatible with Windows 10. Generally, most PCs that can run Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 can run Windows 10 without issues.
WARNING: We recommend all your data to an external drive before following our guide to clean install Windows 10. All data on your system drive, which is usually “C” will be deleted while formatting your drive.
Guide to clean install Windows 10
Step 1: If you have Windows 10 ISO 64-bit or 32-bit, you need to prepare bootable USB or bootable DVD. Our how to install Windows 10 from USB, how to create Windows 10 UEFI bootable USB, or how to create Windows 10 bootable DVD guides should help you on that.
And if you want to install Windows 10 directly from ISO file, check out our how to install Windows 10 from ISO image guide to install Windows 10 without preparing any bootable media.
Step 2: Plug-in the bootable USB or insert bootable DVD into the optical drive and restart your PC. Make appropriate changes under BIOS/UEFI to allow booting from bootable DVD or USB.
Step 3: When you see Press any key to boot from DVD or USB message on your screen, press Enter key or any other key. The setup will begin copying some files.
And if your PC is refusing to boot from USB, please check out Fix: Unable to boot from USB guide.
Step 4: On this screen, select your language, time and currency format, and then input method before clicking the Next button.
Step 5: You’ll see the following scree with Install now button. Click Install now button to continue.
Step 6: Next, you’ll be asked to enter your Windows 10 product key. Enter the 25-character product key and then click Next button. Alternatively, if you can’t find the product key right now, simply click Skip button to enter the product key after installing Windows 10.
If you have entered the product key, the setup will not show the following screen where you need to select the edition of Windows 10 that you want to install and have the product key for.
Step 7: On the license agreement screen, read the license, check I accept the license terms option, and then click Next button.
Step 8: Here, you’ll get two options:
# Upgrade: install Windows and keep files, settings, and applications
# Custom: install Windows only (advanced)
Since we want to clean install Windows 10, click the second option titled Custom: install Windows only (advanced) option.
Step 9: Next is the drive selection screen where you need select a partition to install Windows 10. If there is a version of Windows already running on your PC and you want to remove that installation to accommodate space for the new Windows 10, you need to format the current system drive (where a version of Windows is already installed).
To format a drive, select the drive and then click Format option. Note that formatting will delete all data from the drive. So be sure to select the correct drive to prevent data loss.
If, you have just installed a new hard drive or solid state drive (SSD) and the drive is not partitioned yet, you will see the drive as unallocated space. Select the drive, click New button, allocate at least 20 GB (we have left only 18 GB as it’s a test PC), and then click Apply button.
If you see a dialog box with “To ensure that all Windows features work correctly, Windows might create additional partitions for system files” message, click OK button. In most cases, the setup creates a 100 MB partition for system files.
Step 10: Select the drive where you want to install Windows 10 and then click Next button to begin the actual installation. This might take up to an hour depending your system configuration and bootable media. Usually, the installation will be done in 15 to 25 minutes.
Your system might reboot twice or thrice during the installation. When your system reboots, don’t respond to Press any key to boot from CD or DVD or USB message.
Step 11: Once the installation is done, you’ll see the following screen. Click Customize settings located at the lower bottom to continue further.
Step 12: Here, you’ll see a number of settings. You can turn on or off various privacy and other settings here. We have turned off the following options:
# Personalize your speech, typing, and inking input by sending contacts and calendar details, along with other associated input data to Microsoft.
# Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform.
# Let apps use your advertising ID for experiences across apps.
Step 13: Once again, you will see a bunch of settings. There are two settings that you might want to turn off:
# Automatically connect to suggested open hotspots option.
# Automatically connect to networks shared by your contacts
Click Next button.
Step 14: You’ll then see “Who owns this PC?” screen. Here, click on the appropriate option and click Next button.
We are clicking the “I own it” option.
Click Next button.
Step 15: On this screen, you’ll be asked to enter your Microsoft account ID (your Hotmail, Outlook.com or MSN email) and password. Type Microsoft account ID and password before clicking Sign in button.
While it’s a good idea to sign-in using your Microsoft account (there are many benefits), you can create a local account by clicking Skip this step.
Step 16: If you have clicked Skip this step, you’ll see the following screen where you can create your local user account by typing your name and password.
Step 17: Next, you’ll see an option to sign-in to Windows 10 using PIN instead of password.
According to Microsoft, PIN is safer than a long password. If you want to use a PIN to sign-in to Windows 10, click PIN me button.
And if you want to use the traditional method, click Skip this step and then follow instructions in Step 17.
If you have clicked PIN Me button, you’ll see the following screen where you can create a PIN by pressing numbers between 0 to 9. The PIN need not be of just 4 characters.
Step 18: Depending on your location and language, you might see the following screen where you can configure Cortana, the digital personal assistant in Windows 10.
Click Next button to let Windows 10 begin setting up your apps and other important things. In a couple of minutes, you’ll see your Windows 10 desktop. That’s it!
If you have clicked Skip button on the product key screen (during the installation, step 6), please go through our how to activate Windows 10 guide to enter your product key and activate your Windows 10 installation.
Do let us know if you’re having any issues while clean installing Windows 10. We will try to help you.