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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

I decided to update these instructions and make downloadable versions available so that those who want to use them can have a copy right next to them to refer to when using them.  You can use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool either to create bootable USB media directly, or if you want to have a copy of the ISO file, to download that and use a separate utility to create the bootable USB media.  Either way will work.

 

It should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that if you have a functioning, even poorly functioning, system that you're hoping to wipe clean to get a fresh start that you should definitely do a full system image backup and a separate user data backup before following the instructions for doing a completely clean reinstallation.  It also makes sense to use a utility such as Belarc Advisor to create an inventory of the software you have installed and the license keys for same so that you have a handy list when it comes time to put them on your brand, spankin' new Windows 10.

 

These instructions are current as of this writing on September 9, 2018.
 
Doing a completely clean reinstallation of Windows 10 using the Media Creation Tool (MCT):
 
A) To create a bootable USB drive using the MCT itself:
 
 
 
B) To download the Windows 10 ISO file and use Rufus to create the bootable USB
 

Edited by britechguy, 07 September 2018 - 10:30 AM.
Added note about doing backups before starting. Updated instructions and made them downloadable

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


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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

Attached Files


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

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#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 .... 



#11 kristi4

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 12:59 PM

While I realize this is not a driver thread, I am experiencing, as well as seeing others having, so many problems with the drivers after the "upgrade". Now, I don't know if there is a way to clean install without having the drivers "updated". My bet is no. However I wonder if part of the process should or could be to make a back-up of the 8.1 or 7 drivers, reinstall after the clean install of 10 & then update through device manager? The idea being that the updates come from the manufacturer, not "generic" ones from microsoft. I don't know if this will work, however if it does, I feel it would be saving me a whole lot of headaches right now. & I will not be offended if this needs to be in some other thread or ????


Edited by kristi4, 17 March 2018 - 01:15 PM.


#12 pcpunk

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 02:12 PM

No offense here, but if you need help you should start your own personal thread/topic.  It seems that you are indeed having some driver issues?  If so then it will be better for a new thread with as much info about the situation.  Computer Model Number and Version of Windows 10.


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#13 dhagerjohns

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 11:23 AM

While I realize this is not a driver thread, I am experiencing, as well as seeing others having, so many problems with the drivers after the "upgrade". Now, I don't know if there is a way to clean install without having the drivers "updated". My bet is no. However I wonder if part of the process should or could be to make a back-up of the 8.1 or 7 drivers, reinstall after the clean install of 10 & then update through device manager? The idea being that the updates come from the manufacturer, not "generic" ones from microsoft. I don't know if this will work, however if it does, I feel it would be saving me a whole lot of headaches right now. & I will not be offended if this needs to be in some other thread or ????

Once you have your current install with the drivers all updated as you wish, and before you clean install, export the drives with this command.  Run all these commands in either Powershell as administrator or a command window as administrator.  DISM requires administrator privileges to function. 

dism /online /export-driver /destination:<path to folder to save drivers>

Then extract the iso with 7zip or WinRAR, and mount the install.wim like this

dism /mount-image /ImageFile:"<path to install.wim" /Index:<index number> /MountDir:<path to mount directory>

Now you can import your drivers.

DISM /Image:C:<path to mount directory> /Add-Driver /Driver:<path to folder of saved drivers> /recurse

Next you commit, and save your install.wim

dism /unmount-image /MountDir:<path to mount directory> /commit

After this you can either create an ISO, or if you have a thumb drive format it as fat32 for UEFI or if you have a legacy BIOS you can use NTFS.  Then just copy the files over, reboot, and select the USB drive as your boot device, and install.  Note:  If you are using fat32, this file system does not allow files larger than 4 GB, so before you copy your install.wim with all your drivers integrated, you must SPLIT the image like this

Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:"<path to install.wim"> /SWMFile:"<path to where you want to save install.swm"> /FileSize:4096

There will be at least two of these files, and you will need to replace your original install.wim with them.  Have fun!


Edited by dhagerjohns, 24 March 2018 - 11:25 AM.


#14 ccc777

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 11:11 PM

If I create an ISO on a USB, it says it will destroy all data currently on the USB (like my backup data).  So I went ahead and created the bootable USB, but can I now backup my data on the same drive?  Will that be ok after I reboot with a new Windows?


Edited by ccc777, 30 March 2018 - 11:12 PM.


#15 dhagerjohns

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 05:59 AM

If I create an ISO on a USB, it says it will destroy all data currently on the USB (like my backup data).  So I went ahead and created the bootable USB, but can I now backup my data on the same drive?  Will that be ok after I reboot with a new Windows?

Yes.  You don't need to, but it would probably be better organized just to create a new folder on that USB, and put everything you want saved into it.






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