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How to perform a clean installation of Windows 10

In this video tutorial, you can see how a clean installation of Windows 10 is done. Make sure you read the Important Notes, to prevent any mishaps during or after your installation.

For this example, we performed an installation on a virtual machine. Your experience and steps might differ slightly, but for the most part, we hope this video covers all of your concerns.


  • Check the manufacturer’s website of your computer, to ensure all the required hardware drivers are available for Windows 10 before proceeding.
  • Before formatting your computer, make sure you backup all your data. This process is for clean installation, so it will delete everything. Make sure you have your product key at hand, if purchased separately (not usually needed if it came with the computer, or you might find the sticker on the front or back of the PC “tower” or at the bottom of the laptop.
  • Also before proceeding, make sure you have the network card driver (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) on hand on a separate disc or USB drive. Windows 10 has most of the Internet related device drivers included in the OS, but there are exceptions, and you will need the Internet to install any missing drivers. Procedures on how to install drivers can be found in a separate video on our channel or website.
  • Make a list of what apps you want installed on your computer and make sure you have the license or product key, as well as the installation media (downloads or discs) for them.
  • Don’t connect any other hard drive or thumb drive before or while installing Windows, to avoid choosing the wrong hard drive for the installation.
  • Your computer will restart many times and might take a considerable amount of time for the installation to finish. To ensure successful installation, if you are working on a laptop, make sure you have the power cord connected at all times, so that you don’t run out of battery while installing.
  • You will need to set the Boot device priority to the installation media in BIOS settings. Check the manufacturer’s website for how to get to the BIOS (usually Del, F2, F10 or F12 keys during startup), and how to find the Boot Manager page. Make sure your installation media is inserted (DVD) or connected (USB drive) to the computer before entering BIOS. You might see something like “press any button to boot from the CD/DVD media” as a confirmation that you have adjusted the BIOS boot up settings successfully. If you are installing Windows on a Virtual machine, make sure your ISO file is selected as the first boot device in the Virtual Machine settings.


  1. Boot from your DVD, USB installation media or from your Recovery Partition.
  2. Choose your Language, Regional settings (Time, Date, Currency), Keyboard type and click Next.
  3. Click Install Now.
  4. If you are not reinstalling Windows from a computer where it is already activated, you will need to provide the Windows 10 product key for activation. Type your product key and click Next or click the I don't have a product key link to activate later.
  5. If you haven't entered the product key in the previous step, then you will need to select the correct operating system version you have purchased. Click Next after you have done so.
  6. Enable the I accept the license terms and click Next.
  7. Click Upgrade to keep your programs and files, or Custom for a clean installation. This option will delete everything. Click Next.
  8. Now you will be asked where to install Windows. Make sure you select the correct drive and partition. If a partition already has something on it, you should click Delete or Format to wipe the partition before continuing. No need to create a new partition or format it if on a new drive or partition, as Windows installation will take care of the rest. Click Next. This will take some time, and your computer will restart automatically.
  9. Cortana will now assist you with the rest of the setup process. Select your region and click Yes.
  10. Select your desired keyboard layout, and click Yes. You also have the option to add a second layout. You can click Skip if you are done or want to set more up at a later date.
  11. If your WiFi card is recognized by Windows, it will scan and give you a list of available WiFi networks. Select yours and provide credentials to connect to the Internet. If you don't see any available network, or you want to setup Internet later, click Skip for now.
  12. If you are connected to the Internet, you can provide an Outlook account credentials, otherwise provide a username and password for the offline user account. You can always change it later. Provide a hint for the password.
  13. Then you will be asked if you want to enable Cortana as your assistant. Click Yes or No.
  14. Here you enable or disable any privacy settings, such as Location, Speech Recognition. Tweak as desired and click Accept. You can disable / enable these options later in Control Panel.
  15. This might take some time. After setup is complete, it's recommended that you install any missing device drivers before installing the rest of the software. You can use the Device Manager and the manufacturer's website or installation media.
  16. If you have purchased a Windows 10 product key separately and you haven't provided it at the beginning of the installation, you have to activate your Windows 10 license. On the Windows search bar, type Activation and click on the Activation tool.
  17. Here you can check if your computer is already activated. If not, you can go to the Store to purchase a new license, or provide a product key with either the Change product key or Troubleshoot options. Remember you need an Internet connection for the activation.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. You are solely responsible for verifying the information as being appropriate for your personal use.

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