This guide explains how to install Windows 10 on your computer, whether it is a blank PC without an operating system or a PC on which an operating system like Windows is already installed.
The procedure works on all PCs : whether it is a computer that you have assembled yourself or a branded PC (Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, Dell, etc.), the procedure is the same!
To install Windows 10 on a computer, here are the 5 steps to follow:
1. Buy a Windows 10 license:
- Windows 10 Home at $ 119.00 (microsoft.com).
- Windows 10 Professional at $ 199.00 (microsoft.com).
Note: if you have a branded PC with Windows 10 pre-installed, you already have a Windows 10 license (OEM type). It is located in the motherboard of the computer (to be more precise, a Windows 10 product key is present in the UEFI firmware of the motherboard).
3. Create your own installation media (DVD or USB key) for Windows 10 using free tools provided by Microsoft.
4. Start your computer from Windows 10 installation media.
5. Install Windows 10 on the computer’s HDD or SSD.
6. Configure Windows 10.
Windows 7 or 8.1 users: Do you have a PC with Windows 7 or 8.1 installed ? Follow this guide to learn how to update Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10.
Reinstall Windows 10: Do you have a PC with Windows 10 installed ? Follow this guide for how to reinstall Windows 10 properly.
- A Windows 10 product key:
- you have a branded PC with Windows 10 pre-installed : your product key is on your motherboard, it will be automatically read by the Windows 10 installer.
- you already have a Windows 10, 8.1 or 7 product key : you will use this key when installing Windows 10. A Windows 8.1 or 7 product key is used to activate Windows 10.
- you have a blank PC and no Windows license: you must purchase a Windows 10 license from the Microsoft Store.
Note: if you do not have a product key, you can still install Windows 10 but it will not be activated and some features will be missing.
- A computer with a powerful enough configuration to run Windows 10. Here is the recommended configuration for Windows 10:
- Processor (CPU): 2 or more cores.
- RAM: 4 GB or more.
- Storage: 256 GB SSD or 128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD.
- A Windows 10 product key:
- A USB stick of 8 GB minimum
Windows 10 installation
Step 1: Create a Windows 10 installation USB key
To create your Windows 10 installation USB key, you have two options:
- Use the media creation tool. This Microsoft-supplied tool takes care of everything: it downloads the installation files for the latest version of Windows 10 and copies them to your USB key. That’s it, your W10 USB stick is ready! It is the simplest method and the one to be preferred for beginners.
- Use Rufus software: this software allows you to create a Windows installation USB stick from an ISO image. You will need to download Windows 10 ISO before you can use it. The advantage of this method is that you can create and recreate installation USB sticks without having to redownload Windows 10 installation files each time (around 8 GB) as is the case with the tool media creation. This is the recommended method for those with a low speed internet connection and for those who regularly create/recreate Windows installation USB sticks.
Step 2: start your PC from the USB stick
Have you created your Windows 10 installation USB key ? Perfect !
Now the goal is to launch the Windows 10 installer located on the USB key. To do this, you must boot your computer from the Windows 10 USB key instead of booting from the system disk as usual.
To start your computer from the USB key, you must open the start menu by pressing a key on your keyboard (F11, F12, Esc …) immediately after turning on the computer. This key is different depending on the brand of your motherboard of your computer.
Step 3: install Windows 10
After selecting your Windows 10 USB drive from the start menu, follow these instructions:
1- Press any key on your keyboard to start the Windows 10 installer.
2- Select your language preferences then click Next.
3- Click the Install Now button.
4- In the “Activate Windows”, depending on your situation:
- you have a branded PC with Windows 10 pre-installed: you do not have this window. The installer automatically reads the Windows 10 product key from the computer’s motherboard.
- you have a Windows 10, 8.1 or 7 product key: enter your product key.
- your PC has a Windows 10 digital license obtained after upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10. Click on “I do not have a Product Key“: Windows 10 will activate automatically after installation is complete.
5- If you clicked “I don’t have a Product Key,” select the Windows 10 edition to install.
6- Accept the terms of the license agreement.
7- Select Custom: install Windows only (advanced).
8- At the “Where do you want to install Windows?” “, Depending on your situation:
- your disk is blank: select the unallocated space then click Next.
- your disc contains an old installation of Windows:
- you want to keep a copy of the old Windows in the C:\Windows.old folder: select the partition of type Primary then click on Next.
- you want to erase the old Windows: select the partition of type Primary > Format> OK then click Next.
9- Wait while Windows 10 is installed.
10- Once Windows 10 installation is complete, your computer will restart. Make sure that it starts from the system disk (the one on which you installed Windows 10) and not from the Windows 10 installation USB key.
11- Go to Windows 10 setup !
Step 4: set up Windows 10
Windows 10 offers many features and services that require your consent in order to be used. Indeed, the majority collects a lot of personal data, so be careful to activate an attractive feature!
Let’s go, let’s configure Windows 10:
1- Choose your region and the keyboard layout.
2- Select “Set up for personal use“.
3- Choose whether you prefer to use a local account or a Microsoft account. A Microsoft account provides access to more services and features, such as installing apps through the Microsoft Store. If you are sensitive to the respect of your private life, prefer a local account.
4- If you have chosen a local account:
- Click Offline Account at the bottom left.
- Confirm the use of a local account by clicking on No.
- Enter the name of your user account.
- Choose a password for your account.
- Answer three security questions so you can reset your password if you forget it.
5- If you have chosen a Microsoft account:
- Enter the email address for your Microsoft account and then click Next. If you don’t have an account, click on Create an account and let yourself be guided.
- Enter your Microsoft account password.
- Click on Create PIN. This code replaces the password of your user account so that you can connect to your Windows 10 session more quickly. This code will only work on your computer and nowhere else.
- Enter a confidential code consisting only of numbers. To be able to use letters and symbols, select the Include letters and symbols check box.
6- Activity history: allows Microsoft to recover the things you do on your PC: the applications and services you use, the files you open and the websites you visit. The Activity History is essential to be able to use the Chronology feature (which allows you to resume a past activity from any Windows 10 PC).
- If you want to use the Timeline functionality: click Yes.
- If you are not interested and want to protect your privacy: click No.
7- Cortana: This is the digital assistant for Windows 10. Its purpose is to help you do your daily tasks faster. It helps you create reminders, follow teams, and manage your calendar …
- If you want to use Cortana, click Accept.
- If you are not interested, click on Refuse.
8- Android, OneDrive, Office 365 : If you find these options interesting, configure them according to your preferences, if not don’t configure.
9- Confidentiality: unless you have a specific need, it is recommended to refuse all of the following functions that collect personal data.
- Online speech recognition: Do not use online voice recognition (recommended).
- Location: No (recommended).
- Locate my device: No (recommended).
- Diagnostic data: Basic (recommended).
- Handwriting: No (recommended).
- Personalized experiences: No (recommended).
- Advertising ID: No (recommended).
10- After clicking on Accept button, Wait while the system is set up.
Here, Windows 10 has been installed on your PC !