How to clean-install a Windows 10 upgrade

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.

A clean install ensures that your new Win10 setup is 100 percent pristine — and as lean and clean as possible.

One of the clean-install methods described below lets you place all Win10 setup files on a self-contained, bootable DVD or flash drive. You can then tuck this setup medium away for safekeeping to use in the future, should your Win10 system ever need major repair, recovery, or reinstallation.

Note that while a clean Win10 install isn’t hard, it must be done correctly in order to preserve your system’s qualification for permanent, ongoing, free use of Win10.

This article will show you several different ways to use the free Win10 upgrade to perform a safe, completely legitimate, clean install — including via bootable DVD or flash drive.

Two steps to a completely clean Win10 setup

There are numerous details to a clean Win10 install, but the process has only two major parts.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2015-09-10:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.