How to install Windows 10

Want to know how to install Windows 10? We explain how you can upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1, and how to clean install Windows 10.

By


  • Upgrade or clean install 1
  • Windows Update 2
  • Install wizard 3
  • Items for attention 4
  • Delete old Windows 5
  • Clean install 6
  • Progress 7
  • Sign in 8
  • More stories
Next Prev

Step 1 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Upgrade or clean install

If you have a genuine version of Windows 7 or 8.1 upgrading to Windows 10 is relatively simple. After the upgrade process, you won't get a licence key, but here's why Windows 10 doesn't need one.

As the free upgrade ended in July 2016, Windows 10 home now costs £99.99 and Windows 10 Pro costs £189.99 to download. There isn't a cheaper 'upgrade' version.

Here we'll explain the two options for installing it. The first is through Windows Update or by downloading the ISO file and installing Windows 10 manually. The second option we'll explain it how to clean install Windows 10 and start afresh, either on a new hard drive, or an old one. See also: Should you upgrade to Windows 10?

NOTE: Upgrading is different from a clean install. Upgrading brings all your documents, settings and most apps from your previous version of Windows. A clean install is where you start afresh with Windows 10 and transfer your documents and files from a back up, and install apps manually.

 

Next Step »

Next Prev slideshow image

If you have a genuine version of Windows 7 or 8.1 upgrading to Windows 10 is relatively simple. After the upgrade process, you won't get a licence key, but here's why Windows 10 doesn't need one.

As the free upgrade ended in July 2016, Windows 10 home now costs £99.99 and Windows 10 Pro costs £189.99 to download. There isn't a cheaper 'upgrade' version.

Here we'll explain the two options for installing it. The first is through Windows Update or by downloading the ISO file and installing Windows 10 manually. The second option we'll explain it how to clean install Windows 10 and start afresh, either on a new hard drive, or an old one. See also: Should you upgrade to Windows 10?

NOTE: Upgrading is different from a clean install. Upgrading brings all your documents, settings and most apps from your previous version of Windows. A clean install is where you start afresh with Windows 10 and transfer your documents and files from a back up, and install apps manually.

 

Step 2 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Upgrade

If you want to upgrade, you can do so through Windows Update. Alternatively, you can download Windows 10 manually using Microsoft's Media Creation tool.

The Windows Update process is similar to the regular Windows updates in that you won't have to do much except allow the upgrade to happen. Open the Control Panel and open Windows Updates.

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 8: How to install Windows 10: Install wizard

When first ugprading, the wizard will will check to make sure your system meets the minimum requirements. If it does, will show a 'Ready to install' screen explaining that your settings, files and apps will be kept.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Step 4 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Items for attention

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 5 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Delete old Windows

When Windows 10 is installed through Windows Update you will end up with a Windows.old folder containing your old OS.

You can remove this with the Windows Cleanup tool if it's taking up too much space. It will be removed automatically after a month, which is the time limit for downgrading to your old Windows if you decide you don't like Windows 10 and want to roll back.

Step 6 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Clean install

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 too.

You can download Microsoft's Media Creation tool which will create a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 on it. Hold onto this for future reinstalls, too.

You can also use the drive for upgrading an existing Windows installation simply by running Setup.exe from the drive when running Windows 7 or 8.

Advertisement. Article continues below

Step 7 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Progress

Whether upgrading or clean installing, 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. The progress of the install will be shown clearly throughout.

Step 8 of 8: How to install Windows 10: Sign in

Windows 10 will boot, ask you a few questions and then ask you to sign in with your Microsoft ID, which is optional. You can create a local account if you prefer. It's well worth reading through the initial questions and options, since opting for the defaults will mean a fair amount of personal data will be sent to Microsoft's servers. This isn't sinister. Some people think different, but most of this is done for convenience. For example, data is stored so Cortana knows about you and can be more helpful.

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. If you have any problems, see our Windows 10 troubleshooting guide and here's how to get help from Microsoft

Nintendo Switch review: Hands-on with the intuitive modular console and its disappointing games…

1995-2015: How technology has changed the world in 20 years

This abstract video touches on division in our technologic world

Best alternatives to iTunes for Mac | Best music players for macOS: Free your music from the…