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  1. #1
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    How to clean-install a Windows 10 upgrade




    TOP STORY

    How to clean-install a Windows 10 upgrade


    By Fred Langa

    The current, free, Win10 upgrade is meant to convert an existing Win7 or Win8 setup to Win10, while retaining the user files and as much of the existing settings, software, and customizations as possible. But if you know how, you also can use the upgrade to give your PC a totally fresh, from-scratch start; you'll get a clean install that can't carry over any potential problems from your current setup no errors, no misconfigurations, and no junk.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/how-to-clean-install-a-windows-10-upgrade (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    I had a system built for Win 10 last winter - my old system was 5 years old and slowing down (I later learned that it won't upgrade to Win 10, graphics driver issue that Nvidia no longer updates) I didn't want a Win 8 or 8.1 system which was all you could get in stores, so I had HP build a machine that I customized with Win 7 Pro. After a few months that system began randomly rebooting - I posted here about that, worked with HP for more than a month, sent the machine back and had a defective motherboard replaced. But SFC showed a corrupt system file, iesysprep.dll, I had to reinstall the operating system 5 times, twice from separate OEM recovery disks. In researching this issue, I found that it only happens with the "pro" version of Windows and found discussions about it going back to 2010 and Vista. Microsoft knew about it, but couldn't help, HP knew about it - there was a discussion going on WHILE they were building my machine about it. I did get one BSOD while installing, but even then a reboot brought the system up and everything worked, including IE though I don't use that as my main browser. Every time SFC showed that one corrupt file. I hoped that the Win 10 upgrade would fix that by replacing the system files, unfortunately, the upgrade didn't, still showed the corrupt file. But, after I burned an .iso to disk and booted up from the drive, a clean, lean installation, I finally got what I wanted in the first place, that corrupt file gone. Windows did a great job of activating, I tried to manually enter the product key from the upgrade but it wouldn't let me, so I skipped that step and found when the install finished that it had activated itself in the process. It was worth it to get a clean installation of the new operating system, which I actually like a lot. There were some quirks - it turns out that my free firewall, Comodo Dragon, though it said it was optimized for Win 10 was not and I found a lot of people with the same issue, I dumped that and chose another firewall and the errors stopped immediately, it is nice to look at the event viewer and see no problems! :^)

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    In the "The fast, easy, Reset clean-install method" is there any reason not to choose the option "Keep my files"?

    Also, does it really keep all my files including stuff in folders like c:\FTM?

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    With the relatively frequent release of "New Builds" of Windows 10, I suspect it would be wise to create a new Windows Installation DVD or Windows USB flash Installation file from the WMCT after each new build ...or am I wrong?
    (My Setup: Custom built: 4.00GHz Intel Core i7-6700K CPU; MSI Z170A Gaming Carbon Motherboard (Military Class III); Win 10 Pro (64 bit)-(UEFI-booted); 16GB RAM; 512GB SAMSUNG SD850 PRO SSD; 120GB SAMSUNG 840 SSD; Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; 2 X GeForceGTX 1070 8GB Graphics Card (SLI); Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2017 Premium, Norton Internet Security, VMWare Workstation12 Pro). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive). Samsung 24" Curved HD Monitor.

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    I did a bare-metal install of Win7, activated it, and then upgraded to Win10 with the "keep nothing" option.

    How much cleaner is the bare-metal install of Win10 than that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardU View Post
    I did a bare-metal install of Win7, activated it, and then upgraded to Win10 with the "keep nothing" option.

    How much cleaner is the bare-metal install of Win10 than that?
    I tried that first too, but found that just the upgrade alone, though I told it to keep nothing, did keep some things anyway, when I installed FireFox my bookmarks were there and, of course, that corrupt system file. What else it kept I'm not sure, but when I did the installation from the .iso disk, I had nothing left, when I installed FireFox, I had to recover my bookmarks, etc., from the backup I'd done. What I liked about the clean install is no bloatware as one will surely get if one purchases a new machine with Win 10 OEM on it from Best Buy or Dell or wherever. I liked that part. :^)

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    I can make the needed DVD. But the computer (running Win 10 Home on an originally 8.1 computer less than 6 months old) will not boot from the DVD. I tried the get-arounds provided in the article . Telling the computer to use the DVD drive and restart did not work either.

    The DVD with the Win 10 iso burned on it works if I run setup.exe on the DVD.

    My question is this: Can I run a clean install of Win 10 from the DVD from within my present Win 10 computer without rebooting? This sounds so simple that I am concerned that it won't work or surely the experts like Fred would have already suggested it. Does the installation process need to reboot the computer using the DVD during the process? If so that could be the thing that voids my simple scenario. Comments wanted, with thanks to all.

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    I have followed the above instructions for the media creation tool the past six weeks without success. When I try to download windows 10 onto a USB or DVD from the media creation tool, I get the download to 100%, but when it tries to verify the download I then receive a "Something happened error." This has happened on both by desktop PC and my laptop. Does anyone know how to fix this?

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    Hi Fred, what a timely and useful column! As we say in West Texas, I'm rasslin' with a clean install of Win10 right now. I am converting from Win7x32 to Win10x64 and want to upgrade from using BIOS/MBR to UEFI/GPT. My hardware supports UEFI/GPT but I'll be darned if I can figure out which BIOS settings to change to switch to UEFI, and boot from the USB flash drive into the UEFI environment for installation. I've changed the obvious settings ("legacy boot" to "UEFI" and "change boot sequence to USB first") and studied your article "How to solve UEFI boot and startup problems" but your BIOS differs from mine and my manufacturer does not supply detailed instructions on which settings to change. Attempting to boot from the flash drive always returns the message "Invalid partition table." This message seems absurd because I created the flash drive with the media creation tool. Suggestions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Langa View Post
    ◾ For safety’s sake, first make note of your Win10 product key. It’s easy to find using free tools such as NirSoft’s Produkey (site) or the hideously named Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder (site).

    Warning: As with all “free” apps, select Custom Installation when the setup program offers it; then deselect any unrelated or tag-along software or toolbars that you don’t want installed.
    Still pointless:

    There is no need to know your Windows 10 product key, read the following 'Understanding Product Activation in Windows 10:
    How to Activate and resolve common Product key issues in Windows 10

    (Especially since all Windows 10 Home/Pro upgrade keys are generic/identical.)

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    I upgraded my HP Pavilion laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I would like to add a SSD & put Windows 10 on it for increased speed. Will I run into problems activating Windows 10 since my original hardware configuration will have changed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pkkirch View Post
    I upgraded my HP Pavilion laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. I would like to add a SSD & put Windows 10 on it for increased speed. Will I run into problems activating Windows 10 since my original hardware configuration will have changed?
    The general consensus is that only a motherboard replacement is likely to trigger the necessity of a phone activation:

    What if something changes with your hardware?
    If it’s something major like a motherboard replacement, its hardware ID will no longer be the same. ... If you do this yourself, you will need to phone activate.
    Windows 10 Tip: Associate Your PC with Your Free Windows 10 License

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    For several weeks I've had system freezing and lockups. After doing a RESET-KEEP MY FILES the issue continued. (BTW a poster above asked if this option keeps stuff outside the User's folder. I had two folders in C:\ but they were removed.) Today I had some time, so tried to trace it. Chkdsk stopped at 13% and sat there for five hours. Testdisk reported no partition - even on a deep scan, and so couldn't repair or rewrite the partition. On another PC, the procedure above - to create a boot dvd - worked : at least until until I tried it to boot the PC. - No boot - nothing! Nada! File Explorer showed an empty dvd. Tried again with another dvd from a second system with the same result.

    Used a XP Home OEM cd to delete and recreate the partition and then deep-formatted the drive. No errors now, but how to get Win 10 back.

    Fortunately had a usb drive with build 10162, so booted and installed that. What a rigmarole, but during the process 10162 was upgraded to 10240 with all updates and no trouble with activation. I've got my Pro, permanently-activated pristine copy, back.

    Perhaps the trouble was due to my disk/partition errors. Who knows.

    One thing, though. This process is NOT for the faint-hearted.
    Last edited by irjc; 2015-09-10 at 16:01. Reason: Added "vital" info and fixed spelling.

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    Another clean-install method

    I had customized my Windows 7 so much that the Windows 10 upgrade forced me to do a clean-install.

    I had changed my "ProgramFies" directory to "E:\apps". And my APPDATA directory to "D:\_C\Users\cecil\AppData\Roaming". And "TEMP" to W:\TEMP7". And a few other things. I prefer a minimum on the C drive.

    The upgrade to Windows 10 gave one choice not grayed out: Clean install. I went ahead and it erased the "E:\apps" directory. Thank you.

    Anyway, my video card drivers did not work with Windows 10. I did not notice any "Revert to Windows 7" button. So I used drive images to restore Windows 7 after 3 days. I just hope my Windows 7 license is still healthy.

    cecil

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    My clean install of Win10 went great. I did it a few days ago but your article is real good, nonetheless. I have an HP ENVY 17 laptop that came with a 1 TB HDD and 16 GB Ram running Win8.1. Already upgraded to Win10 via the normal route. Good thing about 17" Laptops is they usually have room for a 2nd hard drive. Found a SSD online, 250 GB for $90 to fill the void. (and another $30 for the mounting hardware.) After a few tries my new SSD was up and running as K: or some such. At first I wanted to copy my old setup, but in the end decided to go for a fresh install on the new SSD. So after rebooting on my USB drive with the ISO from M$, I was able to select the partition to install on and things went smooth and fast. When asked for the Product Key, I chose the skip-till-later option twice and have not been asked for it since. After rebooting, the OS Boot Manager came up and asked which partition I wanted to boot from, I chose the new one and completed setting up my software. It was great, all the drives living and working together in harmony, all my files available for copying to the new drive, as I chose, Most of my media, safe and sound on a seperate partition of it's own on the TB HDD. I then rebooted and chose the old Win10 partition to boot from and went through it looking for stuff I forgot. Couldn't find recent installs for a few things so downloaded them to the new drive directly, but didn't run them of course. Once satisfied I had everything I needed, I rebooted into the new install and deleted the old Win10 partition and created a new one in it's place. The boot manager no longer comes up, and the lock screen appears so fast it scared me. I had to re-add my fingerprint to login but did not have to load the Mfg's fingerprint reader software. Everything is running like a champ so I have no complaints.

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