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Doing a Completely Clean Install of Windows 10


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#1 britechguy

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:11 PM

What follows was correct in January 2018, when it was written.  I anticipate it should remain correct into the foreseeable future, but depending on what Microsoft might do with the Media Creation Tool or changes made by Rufus certain aspects of these instructions could become obsolete.

 

 

Doing a Completely Clean Install of Windows 10

 

1. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (MCT).  Run it and choose the option to download media for another computer.  The MCT defaults the language and architecture to match that of the machine running the tool.  If you need to change either one for your target machine then uncheck the checkbox that controls this and tweak the dropdown for language and/or architecture [32-bit or 64-bit] appropriately.  When you arrive at the dialog that prompts for what you want to download, elect to download the ISO file rather than to create a USB flash drive.   I say this because if the flash drive creation fails for any reason you lose access to the ISO that was downloaded behind the scenes to create it.  If you download the ISO file then if the creation of the bootable media fails you have it right there to try again. 

 

2. Use Rufus (or a similar utility of your choosing) to burn the ISO to a flash drive to create bootable media.  The steps that follow presume you’re using Rufus.  Attach your flash drive and run Rufus. In the first dropdown box:

          A) If you know your machine is newer hardware that uses UEFI as opposed to BIOS, select GPT partition scheme for UEFI.  If the machine originally came with Windows 8 or Windows 10 this is definitely the choice to make.

          B) If you know your machine is older and uses BIOS, or are uncertain as to whether you have BIOS or UEFI, select MBR partition scheme for UEFI or BIOS.  Virtually all machines that came with Windows 7 (and earlier Windows) were produced with BIOS and use MBR partitioning.  

 

Leave the other checkboxes checked or unchecked with their defaults.

 

3.  Find the Create a bootable disc using checkbox and make sure that the option ISO image is selected from the dropdown next to it.  Just beyond that dropdown is the Click to select an image . . . button.  Activate it and you will be presented with the standard Windows browse dialog that lets you locate and select your ISO file from wherever you saved it.

 

4. Activate the Start button.  The ISO image will now be burned to the flash drive as bootable.

 

5. Boot your system from the USB flash drive. [Since I don’t know what UEFI or BIOS you’re using it’s up to you to find out how to change the boot device order on your machine to put the USB drive first in the boot order].  When you get to the screen that asks for language,  press Shift + F10 (or the Context Menu key if your keyboard has it) to open a Command Prompt or PowerShell (it doesn't matter which comes up). Type the following commands:

                               diskpart   (you will most likely get a UAC dialog, to which you should, of course, respond "Yes")

                               list disk

select disk X    Where X is the disk number on which you wish to install Windows 10.      This is usually 0.  Make sure you have the correct number as the next step will

     wipe the disk of all partitions.

                                clean                 Purges the disk of all existing partitions

convert gpt     Initializes the disk as GPT required for booting on a UEFI motherboard.   If you get an error ignore it.  If and only if you know you have a legacy system that

  uses BIOS, use convert mbr instead of convert gpt.

                               exit (to close diskpart)

                               exit (to close Command Prompt/PowerShell)

The install will now continue; answer any prompts appropriately. When you get to the screen asking on which disk you wish install Windows, activate the Next button. The Windows 10 installer will automatically partition and format the drive using the format you previously specified in the convert command above.


Edited by britechguy, 15 January 2018 - 10:14 AM.
Made minor changes regarding start of diskpart and need for two exit commands

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#2 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:21 PM

This should be a sticky.


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#3 iMacg3

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:34 PM

This should be a sticky.


I agree, this will be useful for many people. This should definitely be a sticky.
Regards, iMacg3

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#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 03:49 PM

This should definitely be a pinned topic considering the number of times I posted instructions for a clean install. A simple link to the pinned topic would be nice when replying to the OP.



#5 britechguy

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 06:09 PM

John,

 

          Just FYI, I keep my own personal file of URLs, formatted as click-through links in BBCODE (which this forum uses), to cut and paste for precisely this purpose.  Those topics are most often not pinned topics, either, but ones that come up again and again and again.  I have attached a portion of that file because if you attempt to put the actual BBCODE in a post it converts to the click through links.

 

           I do not believe in posting, as typed text, the same information I've posted before or that others have posted before that stands on its own.  For those who search for answers using forums search reposting the same thing over and over again results in many more search results coming back to plow through.   I'm a "one and done" person when I can be, and refer people back to the topic where the "one" was done.

 

Brian

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Edited by britechguy, 09 January 2018 - 06:09 PM.

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (my website address is in my profile) Windows 10 Home, 64-bit, Version 1709, Build 16299

       

    Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.  If you’re alive, it isn’t.
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#6 dhagerjohns

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:28 AM

When I use usb to install Windows clean, I just copy the files over to the usb drive.  If you boot uefi it should be formatted fat32, but I have a legacy bios so it doesn't matter.  Anyway, I then boot from disk, and install to my main drive which is an SSD.  I usually have another install on it, I just let it put it in Windows.old.  I clean that off after I am sure I haven't missed anything important which I need to copy.  Since I am a Windows Insider, I clean install pretty often.  :)



#7 pcpunk

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 06:17 PM

Anyway, I then boot from disk

Would you care to elaborate on your procedure, at the point above. 


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#8 dhagerjohns

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 09:59 AM

 

Anyway, I then boot from disk

Would you care to elaborate on your procedure, at the point above. 

 

Meant to say I boot from the thumb drive (usb.)



#9 pcpunk

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 11:28 AM

:thumbup2:


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#10 Blue_Two

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:49 AM

Great, thanks. I reinstalled Win10 on my Winbook TW700 tablet per instructions, no issues. I had to find the drivers and then install them manually, but everything seems to work now. I really wanted to go back to 8.1, but that apparently is not possible on this tablet.  WIn 10 will not update on this tablet due to space, so I need to reinstall the OS periodically for the most recent version. Now if I could just find a way to turn off automatic update .... 






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