This step-by-step guide will show you how to make clean install of Windows 10 using a bootable USB or Windows 10 installation disc.

Windows 10, the last version of Windows desktop operating systems (OSes) is full of all the features you’ll need. Microsoft has worked very hard to develop this OS and implemented the best features of Windows series in it. Windows 10 is pretty much advanced and supports latest Universal Apps along with Continuum UI.

In this article, we’re going to share the step-by-step procedure to install Windows 10 from scratch. You will need following items to proceed with this guide:

a. Windows 10 installation disc or bootable USB created for installing Windows 10. If you’ve an ISO file, you can make bootable USB from it using the steps 1 to 4 of this article.

b. A device with Windows 10 compatibility. Here are the system requirements:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
  • RAM: 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
  • Firmware: UEFI 2.3.1, Secure boot enabled, BIOS

c. The device used in point b must have charging above 60% if its a laptop or tablet. If it’s a computer, make sure you have proper power connectivity and power cut doesn’t occurs in the middle of installation. For preventing this, you can connect the computer to UPS.

Now let us begin with the how-to part:

How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

1. Plug-in the bootable USB or Windows 10 installation DVD and boot the machine. You must see Press any key to boot from CD or DVD… message. So press any key to continue.

How To Reinstall Windows 10 Without Affecting Personal Files

2. Identify and select your language, time and currency format and keyboard input method in the below shown window. Click Next:

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

3. Now click on Install now button then:

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

Immediately, you’ll see the Setup is starting message:

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

4. Now when setup wizard starts, you’ll be asked to enter the product key. If you have the product key with you, enter it. Else, you can skip this step for now by clicking Skip option.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

5. Moving on, accept the software licensing terms and conditions from Microsoft. Check I accept the license terms and hit Next:

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

6. So now we arrive to an important stage with Which type of installation do you want screen. Since we’re making a clean install, we’ll select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option. If you select Upgrade : Install Windows and keep files, settings and applications, then you may receive Compatibility Report and thus you won’t be able to proceed further, for that refer this guide.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

7. Then you can pick the correct drive which has sufficient space to install and save your stuff later. Also its better to format the drive once onto which you’re installing, so that we can suppress errors, if any. When you’re done with your choice, click Next.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

8. As the setup is progressing, you can now see that Windows is installing. The installation may take few minutes depending upon your system’s hardware capability. We used a 4th generation i5 processor in this tutorial, and it hardly took around 5 minutes to complete the installation.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

9. Once the installation is completed, Windows will attempt to restart itself. In case if it fails to do so, you can hit the Restart now button.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

Important Advice: Sometimes users may trap themselves into restarting loop after this step. It is because, when Windows completes installation and restarts, they again see Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…. message and they hit any key. Keep in mind that you don’t have to react upon this message now, else the setup will again launch from starting. So simply ignore the message so that Windows automatically takes you to below shown screen. Alternatively, when you see Windows is starting in some seconds, immediately remove the installation media as soon as Windows closes and make sure you remove/eject media before it starts. However, ignoring the message would be great idea.

10. This is an automatic step and you don’t have to act. Windows will make the hardware and communicate with the resources to make the devices ready to use.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

11. After few seconds, another restart will bring this screen. We recommend you to choose Use Express settings option. However, you can also Customize settings to have custom preferences.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

12. In the Customize settings screen, configure you settings and click Next.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

13. Then you’ll be again asked to enter your product key if you’ve clicked Skip in step 4. If you want to do the activation later, due to absence of network connectivity etc. you can click Do this later link.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

14. Then it’s time to enter your account details and create a new user account to use this system. By default, this will be built-in administrator account.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

Next, you’ll see the screen making primary initialization for your account, so keep patience and wait for few moments.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

15. Finally, you will arrive at Desktop. In this way you’ve completed the clean install of Windows 10.

GUIDE - How To Make Clean Install Of Windows 10

Hope you enjoy Windows 10 and find it awesome!


  • Sir, in your FAQ, you said that we could store the downloaded copy of windows 10 on a USB or a DVD disc. What I would like to know is, after free windows 10 download is finished/done, where does windows store the downloaded file in my HDD and how I transfer it to a USB or convert it to an iso. Thanks and waiting for your reply.

  • In the product key section of the installation, if I skip this step, when will windows inform me to enter my product key?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Regarding your first question, atm, we have to wait for the ISO file released by Microsoft officially after the Windows 10 launch. The answer to second question is that after installation is over, when you open Settings app, there is line at bottom saying Windows is not activated. Click on that link and follow on-screen instructions to activate Windows :)

  • Hi Kapil, Great advice! Question for you:
    Do you know if it is possible to upgrade Windows 7 Pro SP1 to Windows 10 by loading 10 into a new partition on the disk, leaving the original Windows 7 installation undisturbed, thus producing a dual-boot configuration? Or would this require purchase of a Windows 10 license?
    Thank you!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ At step 7, select the drive parallel to Windows 7 to drive, it will produce dual-boot configuration.

  • Please help, my pc came with windows 8.1 home single language, but when I did clean install I used windows 10 pro. Do you think it will affect me maybe in future or when updating to the anniversary update

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ If your Windows 10 is activated with Windows 8.1 key, you’re good to go for Anniversary Update! As long as your Windows is genuine, you won’t have any issues 😊

  • The issues being that I’m not running on windows 10 pro instead of home. Can I still get the anniversary update. Thanks for your quick response.

  • Can I go back to windows 10 home, how do I go about that.

  • I mean I’m running on 10 pro instead of 10 home that my 8.1 was activated with

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Yes, you can still go ahead with Pro and get Anniversary Update. If any activation problem occur, simply run Activation troubleshooter:

  • I will be comfortable at windows 10 home so can I go back and how. Pls help thanks, why I want to go back is that my touch pad and keyboard is not working, I will love to be in home instead of pro.

  • Can get the windows 10 home iso or can I just use those dvd in the mkt.thankx

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ You can convert your Windows 10 Pro into Home edition using same steps as mentioned here: The only difference is that you have to use following key at step 3: YTMG3-N6DKC-DKB77-7M9GH-8HVX7.

  • Can I use my OEM key which was activated when I did the free upgrade before the clean install that got me into pro.. Thanks for your replies

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Yes, but you have to first use the key I mentioned to convert Pro to Home. Then you’ve to use your key to activate the Home edition.

  • Thanks for your quick response, I will get back to you if I’m done

  • Hello Sir, in back again, please I installed the windows 10 home but window did not activate . is window 10 home and windows 10 home single language the same? My pc came with window 8.1 home single language and I’m installing Windows 10 home. Is it compatible? How do I retain my license key after I upgraded to windows 10 pro but now want to go back to home. Please help

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ If you’re using Windows 10 Version 1607, you can run Activation Troubleshooter, see if that helps:

  • Hi, Kapil. Thank you so much for all of your expertise. I am not being given a prompt to boot from USB. I followed your tutorial for creating a bootable USB and have plugged it into my port. I am stuck in the automatic repair loop. What can I do to boot from the USB??

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Plug USB, start machine, press the boot device selection key (F9) and choose USB disk.

  • Hii kapil.. i still get “windows could not update the computer’s boot configuration.. can you please help me 🙏🙏

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Please refer:

  • The original version of Windows I purchased was 8.1. Then, MS insisted that I should install Windows 10. May I return to version 8.1 as to avoid so many problems?

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Yup, you can return but you need to make clean install and existing data will be lost. I recommend you to stay on Windows 10.

  • Thank you! This worked perfectly!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for your feedback!

  • Hello Kapil
    I know that this is not the right place to ask this question but I am still trying. My laptop (HP, Intel Core i5, 8GB, 1TB) has become pathetically slow – takes almost 20 to 30 mins to come to full speed. The system is physically clean – no dust on fan or heat sink. I have genuine win 10 (upgraded from win 8.1 which came originally installed with it), software which came with the laptop (Realtek software but no backup or keys), genuine MS Office, genuine Visio, couple of games from windows playstore, some freeware and videos. All the application software is on C drive, rest data is on Drive D.
    To speedup, I have been told to reinstall windows again. If I go to so called ‘specialists’ they do not have time to really troubleshoot and are ready to format the system and put pirated software in my system which I do not want. If I do this myself, does this mean I will lose my HP supplied software, MS office, Visio, other software and data?
    What is the best way to reinstall windows without losing the data? How can I get the list of software installed on my system and its keys.
    Please direct the question or post to correct location if you feel so.
    Thanks in advance for your support.
    Best regards

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Ashutosh, I can suggest you some options:

    You can perform repair upgrade to fix issues without losing your data (including the software you’ve installed):

    Or you perform Reset after which get list of programs removed:

    Or you can make a list of programs you’ve installed right now and make clean install of Windows 10 using this guide. Don’t worry about activation, if you’ve upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 during free upgrade offer. Skip the product key window at step 4 and later connect your system to Internet to get it activated automatically.

  • Dear Kapil
    Thanks for a prompt revert. Really appreciate it.
    Best Regards

  • I have a windows 7 running quite well on HP probook 4540s w/ 8 GB RAM. Is it too late to do the free upgrade to Win10? Would be grateful for advice, tips.

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Yes, free upgrade is no longer available. You need to purchase genuine Windows 10 from Microsoft Store.

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