Tips pages are best viewed on laptops and desktop computers. Last updated 2016

Windows 10 Upgrade & Clean Installation


Get The Tool

This part is for getting the tool from Microsoft. You only need to create the MediaTool one time. Once you have the MediaTool upgrade/installation files onto the flash drive, you can use that same flash drive on any computer in the future that you need to upgrade or do a clean installtion.

To get started with either an upgrade or a clean installation, you first need to get the MediaCreationTool from Microsoft.
Note 1: This tool is NOT just for creating the installation files onto a USB for a clean installing of windows. It is ALSO for actually upgrading your current computer WITHOUT losing any of your files. (Trust me...I've had to do this procedure for 1 of 4 computers I've worked on. Two were complete installations, 1 upgraded fine with the taskbar link, and the 4th needed this tool)
Go to Microsoft's MediaCreationTool and click on the link for Download Tool Now.
Save the file to your computer. (Downloads folder is a nice place). You will need a blank USB flash drive. Microsoft states a minimium size of 3GB, but my flash drive used almost 6GB when the installation files were installed on the flash drive. I'd get an 8GB drive...just to be safe.

Open the folder where your file was saved and run the file you just downloaded called MediaCreationTool
When it starts, you’ll see Getting things ready, then you have to click on Accept, then you’ll see getting things Ready again.
You will see 2 options there. One is to upgrade the current PC and the other for creatinging for another PC. You want the 2nd option for “Create installation media for another PC”.
Choose the USB option, then continue with the creating the media tool on your flash drive.
When the creation tool is finished, you’ll Finish & Dismount...
You’ll get a notice that you’ll need your Windows 10 Product Key. This can be either a valid Win10 key (that came with the computer) or the previous valid Win7 key (that came with the computer or your retail Windows version).
Note 2: You can only use your previous Windows 7/8 key until July 29, 2016. After that you will need the Windows 10 key.
You can remove the USB drive. This USB is what you will use to upgrade, or clean install with a format, any future computer, be it Windows Professional or Home, 32Bit or 64Bit.

Burn To Disc option:
If you need to create the installation files on a disc, follow these directions. You still need to have the MediaCreationTool, so download it if you haven't already. Then run the tool.
In this scenario, instead of choosing the USB option, you'll choose the ISO option and follow the directions. This will download the ISO to your computer.
Once the ISO download is complete, open a File Explorer and go to the folder where you save the ISO. Hightlight the ISO file. On the menu bar, click on Share, then click on Burn to Disc. Burn the ISO to disc as you normally burn discs.


Now label the flash drive (or DVD) WIN 10, and keep it safe.


Installing Upgrade Forcefully (when it just won't upgrade on it's own)

Windows 10 can run into issues when trying to upgrade a computer. If you're one of these, read on (assuming that the computer CAN be upgraded)

You've tried clicking on Upgrade Now, and it just sits there on your screen saying "Starting Download". And the circles just keep going round and round. A) You've tried turning off the computer and turning it back on and trying again. Nope...didn't work
B) You've already tried leaving it overnight. Nope...still didn't work.
C) You've tried to delete all the files in the windows\softwaredistrbution\downloads folder. Nope...and it STILL didn't work.
It's time for the "tool"

Note: If, after trying the media tool as directed below, and it STILL won't upgrade, your computer probably has so many corrupted operating system files that an upgrade just isn't possible. In this case you will need to backup all your files (pictures, email messages, email accounts, email contacts, documents....and everything else) and do a clean install. I know one computer that had gotten failed updates for 9 months. In THAT case, the operating system was so currupted that NO upgrades were working...not even the Medial Tool would work.

Close ALL the programs you can.
Now comes the upgrade.
Download the MediaCreationTool with the link shown above, and save it to your computer (in the Downloads folder is a good place). You don't need to follow all the directions above if you don't need/want to have the installation files put on a flash drive. To Upgrade a computer, all you need to do is just download the file & run it.
Once download is complete, go to the Download folder and run the file MediaCreationTool
The blue dialog box will show text that states: "License Terms". Click on Accept.
Keep the dot in the circle for Upgrade The PC Now
This will take some time, and you'll now see the % of download progress
It will go through several steps to verify, creating media, cleanup, getting updates...and several other messages

When the time comes, you'll have to click on the 'Accept' button then you'll see more messages
When you get to the message 'Ready to Install', it'll show "Install Windows 10", and it will have "Keep personal files and apps" already checked
Make sure the dots STAYS in that circle.
Then click on Next
For curious purposes, if you click on Choose what to keep, you'll have: Keep personal Files and apps (which is what the previous screen showed), Keep personal files only (programs will be deleted, but you're files will be safe), and Nothing (basically clean install)
So....just click on Install (unless you DO want to remove all programs and their settings)


"And their off !!". You're PC will restart several times in the process

Now it's "Welcome to Window 10!...click on Next
CLICK ON CUSTOMIZE SETTINGS (in the lower left corner)
Personally, I turn off ALL of the features on the 1st page....you may need to scroll down to ensure you see all 5 items
On the 2nd page turn off ALL listed except ‘Send full error and diagnostic information to Microsoft.’ Leave that one turned on.
Then I turn off all on page 3 also. Then click on Next
'Meet Cortana', well, that's a personal thing if you want. "Microsoft collect and uses information including your location and location history, contacts, voice input, searching history, calendar details, content and communication history from messages and apps....". That's a quote from the page you'll see. If you're interested, just click on Use Cortana. Otherwise, in the lower left corner, click ok Not Now
Choose your apps, if desired by clicking in the lower left corner for "Let me choose my default apps"
I chose 'Choose your apps' so I could bypass Microsoft Edge and use Internet Explorer instead. Just remove the check for Microsoft Edge then click on Next
Several messages will display on the screen for about 5 minutes.
Installation is now complete with the upgrade and all your programs, settings and files are saved in the upgrade.

Next? Do some customizing (see link at the top of this page)


Clean Installation of Windows 10

These instructions are assuming you've already downloaded the 'tool' (from the link above) and created the installation on a USB (or DVD) as directed at the top of this page.
MANDATORY: You MUST write down the Windows product key and any other product key codes you want. Use ProductKey Finder to get it. (The link is about 3/4 down the page. Use the link for 'Download ProduKey (In Zip file)'. That link is to download the free standalone program will help you out...without any installation. DO NOT use the product key sticker on the bottom/back of the computer as it may cause a headache. (Trust me...I had to call Microsoft because of it)
First the BIOS has to be set for booting from the USB as the first option
Restart computer and press F2 to get to the Bios. (Other F keys may be F1, F10 or F12). Change the Boot sequence to USB first
Note: If you do not have USB as a bootable option, you will have to run the MediaCreationTool again and choose the DVD option instead of the USB.
And then set the BIOS to DVD drive first (if it isn't already)

A) Determine if you have Windows Home or Pro (Windows 8/8.1 is automatically Home version unless it states Professional. This information will be stated when you right click on This PC/Properties, then look in the first section called 'Windows Edition'
B) Determine if you have 32bit or 64 bit

Insert the USB drive with WIN10 and Restart the computer
Or...insert the DVD and restart.
If you are not given the option to "Press any key to boot from CD", then try again and press F12 (or the ESC key) get to the Boot Options. In there you will choose the Boot from CD/DVD option. OR....you can try going into the Setup (F2), move the DVD down, then back up again for boot sequence. THEN try to restart the computer.

Choose 32Bit (or 64bit, depending on what you want), then click NEXT (for keyboard layout, English, etc)
Click on Install Now (formatting the drive will come shortly)
Put a check in the box for 'I Accept', then click on Next
On a computer that was previously Windows 7 (8, or 8.1) and still has the system partitions intact or was prevously upgraded to Windows 10:
In the dialog box for Activate Windows, press “I don’t have a product key” (installation will find it automatically later)
If you changed your hard drive and previously had Win10, click on "I don't have a product key" also.
On a computer that was NOT previously Windows 7 (8, or 8.1) OR Windows was installed from a boxed retail disc, but still installing before July 2016 In the dialog box for Activate Windows, enter the Win7 or Win8 or Win10 Product Key found from ProductKey Finder
Choose Windows 10 Pro (if you had Win7 or Win8 Pro before....you won’t get this if you put in your product key from the ProductKey Finger)
NEXT
I accept , NEXT
Click Custom: Install (to completely wipe your C: drive (where windows was installed before...the system partition(s) will not be harmed)
Click on the Primary partition (or the biggest one...that will be the one that Windows was installed on before)
Note 1: If you have (like me) an HP computer and you get a messages that states: "The partitions on the disk selected for installation are not in the recommended order. For additional information about installing to GPT disks....", choose No. The reason is because if you DO continue, windows WILL install, but future problems may arise. For example when files get saved, updates are done, certain programs get installed, etc, then due to the partitions being in the wrong order, files may not go where they are suppose to and you will have a big mess to contend with. Your best choice is to delete all partitions EXCEPT the largest one (your largest primary partition). This will remove recovery partitions and give you pretty much a clean slate. After you delete all extra partitions, click on the large primary drive and Format. then continue as noted below by clicking on Next.
Note 2: If you want to use 2 partitions (one for the OS & Programs, and one for your files), you will need to use a partitioning program like EaseUS , a free version program to partition the drive AFTER windows is installed
Click on Format and OK to entirely format that partition and delete all traces of files on the C:\
If you don’t format that C:\ drive, you will get a folder of c:\windows.old and all of it's junk
Click NEXT
Installation begins
NOTE: When I had to replace my hard drive with a new one and reinstall windows, I had to run the setup from the USB a 2nd time as there was no System Reserved partition created the first time. Starting the WIN10 installation from the USB a second time recognized the System Reserved partition and all went fine. * * * When the computer restarts for the first time, remove the USB drive. If you missed removing it, press the ESC key and remove the USB drive as soon as the monitor goes black. The installation will continue and restart on it’s own.

Choose your Network and enter your password
CLICK ON CUSTOMIZE SETTINGS (in the lower left corner)
Personally, I turn off ALL of the features on the 1st page....you may need to scroll down to ensure you see all 5 items
On the 2nd page turn off ALL listed except ‘Send full error and diagnostic information to Microsoft.’ Leave that one turned on.
Then I turn off all on page 3 also. Then click on Next
Click on I Own It, then NEXT
To keep Microsoft accounts offline and not log in all the time, click on Skip This Step
OR, you may get the dialog box that states: "Sign in to your Microsoft Account" and you do NOT have the option to 'Skip This Step', then click on Create a new account (don't worry, you won't be creating one). Click on Next. Then at the bottom, click on the link for "Sign in without a Microsoft Account'.
Who’s going to use this PC ? Type in your user name and password (if desired)
Click on NEXT
Several messages will display on the screen for about 5 minutes.
Installation is now complete

Restart your computer and change the BIOS back to CD/DVD drive first and Hard Drive second. If you don't and you leave a flash drive plugged in, you'll get an error every time you restart the computer

Open a File Explorer
Right click on This PC / Properties / Change settings for the computer name.
For Computer Description, type in Desktop (or Laptop, Personal Laptop... or whatever you want)
Click on the button for Change
Rename the computer to Worktop (Desktop or Laptop...or whatever name you want)
Click on OK, OK, Close, Restart Now

Click on File Manager / Network
At the top click on the yellow bar where it says “Click to Change”
Click on Turn on network discovery and file sharing” and then Choose No
If desired to map a network drive, open File Explorer, right click on This PC / Map Network Drive.
Click on Browse and go find the Desktop F: drive (or whatever drive you want)
Click on OK, then change the Drive letter to F: (or whatever letter you want)
Click on Finish, then close the File Explorer

Click on “I’m Cortana. Ask me anything” on the taskbar
Click on Not Interested, then “I’m Sure”
In the search box type Internet Explorer and open it
Use Recommended Settings / OK
Close ONE tab
Right click on the taskbar on the IE icon and choose Pin to taskbar
Right click on the Edge icon on the taskbar and select Unpin from taskbar. Unpin the Store icon also.
Right click on a blank area of the taskbar, choose Search / Hidden
Click on the Notifications icon, then Click on the Smart Screen notification in the list / change to the 2nd option for “warm before...”, then click on OK

For laptops, I HIGHLY recommend that you install Alps Touch Pad for Windows 10 (so you can control the Tap-To-Click aspect). Previous version of the touch pad program won't work

Optional: Install drivers from original computer disks if it’s not an original Win10 computer. You only need necessary drivers such as Webcam, chipset drivers, etc). You may not need to, so check out the system and ensure that all is working ok.


General Customizing

These are customizing settings that I utilize each time I reformat the computer. They are here for my personal reference. Feel free to use them
A) Partition the hard drive with EaseUS Partition program free version, if needed.
B) Notifications: Click on the Smart Screen notification in the list and change to the 2nd option for “warn before...”
C) Pin Internet Explorer to the and UNpin Microsoft Edge
D) Single Click of mouse: File Explorer / View / Options /
E) Install newest version of Ccleaner and disable desired startup defaults
F) Classic Shell Start Menu (right click on Start / Setting)
     change Start button picture to one in the My Pictures folder (when I find the right one)
G) Start Class Shell Explorer Settings
     Enable Horizontal scroll in an explorer:
     General Behaviour: Uncheck Highlight newly installed
     Toolbar Big Buttons
H) Search bar remove on taskbar. Right click on the taskbar, choose Search / Hidden
I) Notification Area customized: Right click on Task Bar / Properties / Customize
     Click on “Select which icons appear on the taskbar". From here you can turn on or off selected items
J) Hide Camera Roll and Saved Pictures folders
     Create new folders in the Users\Tracy\Local folder and call them Camera Roll and Saved Pictures
     Right click on the original Camera Roll folder and chance location to Users\... folder. Repeat for Saved Pictures folder
K) Remove OneDrive icon by going to the registry and edit the following key:
     HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}
     Double click on: System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree
     Change the value from 1 to a 0
L) Use CCleaner and disable all unwanted StartUp items

More first timer stuff reminders
X Copy FONTS folder from flash drive to new computer. Install all fonts but do NOT overwrite any of them
Y Email:
     After exporting contacts/email/account, install WLM on new computer
     Click on the Menu icon (middle button on the right) / show Menu bar
     Disconnect WiFi/Internet
     Then import the account, then contacts, then email
Z Install Rollback on Desktop & Laptop....NOT on the Worktop (Worktop gets OopsBackup)