How I did an easy, clean install of Windows 10

I just did a clean install of Windows 10 very easily, and I thought I’d share my method, which differs from those I’ve seen published.

I did it to a new drive, because drives are so cheap now (<$30/TB on the 4TB I just bought), but if you don’t have one, just skip the first two steps.

  1. Partition the new drive. I use portable programs for almost everything, so my boot partition is only 30GB, but please yourself. I used the free AOMEI Partition Assistant.

  2. Restore an image of your VALID, ACTIVATED Win 7 or 8 to the boot partition (you do have a recent backup image, don’t you?) I used the free AOMEI backupper. Since my boot partition is small, it just takes three minutes.

  3. Download the Win10 ISO from here:

Actually, what you download from there is a small program that you run, which will ask you what you want to download. Specify the language, version (home, pro, etc.) size (32 or 64 bit), and say you want the ISO (unless you prefer to use a thumb drive). Then hit the button and you’ll get the image (3+GB).

  1. (Optional) I copied my ISO to a USB 3 drive and used it to install, just in case the installation process overwrote my internal drive, so I wouldn’t have to download it again.

  2. Boot the VALID, ACTIVATED Win7 or Win8, (optional) attach the USB drive, click on the ISO to make it a virtual DVD (automatic in Win8, not sure about Win7, you may need the free Daemon Tools or something).

  3. Go into the virtual DVD and click setup.exe, and it will install. Took about 20 minutes from the USB3 drive, and be alert for a screen halfway thru that has you specify the language, keyboard, etc. Also, when the final product boots, it will offer to give you the Express Settings, which seem to report everything you do to Microsoft, so if you don’t want that, click on Custom Settings and turn all that stuff off.

Also, if you don’t use portable programs for almost everything, you may want to use the option to save your programs and settings, rather than doing a clean install. Me, I like clean installs.

  1. If you had a VALID, ACTIVATED windows before, and you’re connected to the net, it will automatically activate, without asking you for a serial number.

  2. When you’re happy with it, you can delete the Windows.old folder to free up several gigabytes (it’s a copy of your old Windows folder). I did it right away, since it only takes me two minutes to restore the image of my old Windows if something goes wrong.

  3. Done.