Can I Do Windows 10 Clean Install With Free Upgrade

People who have upgraded to Windows 10 will be able to download media that can be used to clean install Windows 10 from USB or DVD. There will be no need to purchase a new copy of Windows 10. Once you upgrade W10 w/ the free upgrade offer you will able to clean reinstall Windows 10 on same device any time. Microsoft is moving aggressively with Windows 10 by prompting Windows 7 and 8.

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If you missed the Windows 10 free upgrade period that ended July 29, don’t worry. You can still get Windows 10 on your PC. In fact, Microsoft even allows you to do a clean install without requiring to enter a product key. There are certain steps to be followed before you do this, however.

Step 1: Backing Up your Data

First of all, you will need to back up everything on your system because a clean install will wipe everything out. This is possibly the biggest single task in this process. You can either backup your data to an external drive or use a cloud service, depending on how much data you actually have stored on your system.

Most cloud services are free only up to a limit, so most people prefer moving the data to an external hard drive.

Step 2: Preparing for the Download

You will also need a flash drive with about 4GB of space, depending on whether or not you want to create media for installation on other machines.

Microsoft recommends a blank flash drive or a blank DVD for this because any data you have on them will be deleted during the download process.

One more very important thing, though. You’ll need the product key for the Office suite that you currently use. You won’t need one for Windows 10, and I’ve explained that below, but you definitely need to be able to reinstall Office on your system.

Step 3: Downloading and Installing Windows 10 Free

Once you’ve got everything ready, go to…

Microsoft’s Software Downloads Page

…and download the appropriate version of the ISO file (disc image) based on whether you already have Windows Home or Pro. You also need to select the same language option as your current Windows version.

Once you download the file onto your system, external drive or USB, click on the file to run it. You may need to right-click and run it as “Administrator” depending on how your account was set up on the machine. Don’t worry, if you do it wrong the system will tell you to run it as Admin.

During the installation process, you’ll be asked to enter a product key to activate Windows 10. If you don’t have one, you can select the option ‘I don’t have a product key” and it’ll just continue to install, albeit with a few cosmetic restrictions.

What are these restrictions, and will you be able to use Windows 10 normally?

Yes, you can use a clean install of Windows 10 the way you’d use a licensed version, but the system will keep showing you notifications to activate the product. No annoying pop-ups or anything, but the settings and other system windows will have a reminder.

Once you have selected the “I don’t have a product key” option, just allow the installation to finish and you’re all done. The system should restart on its own, and you are now officially on Windows 10. Simple!

P.S. If you want to take the easy route and upgrade to Windows 10 free without the hassle of doing a clean install, please read this article linked below:

Free Windows 10 Upgrade Still Open for Some – Find Out How to Get It

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Summary :

To reinstall Windows 10 without CD, the easiest approach is to reset your Windows 10. Go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started and make your choice. Also, learn useful tips on how to prevent your files from getting erased before reinstalling Windows 10.

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Reinstalling Windows 10 Is Necessary

If your Windows 10 operating system runs into a problem, it might slow down or even stop working normally. What will you do to solve this issue?

Usually, the first thing to do is to search on the internet for a solution. If you are lucky enough, you may successfully find a solution for your issues. Nevertheless, in often times the problem may still exist even after trying all the possible methods.

In that case, the only effective solution is to reinstall Windows 10. This may be your last resort to revert your PC back to the normal working state.

However, reinstalling Windows can sacrifice your data and applications on your drive. It could also be a bit difficult, especially when there is no CD or USB.

Can I reinstall Windows 10 for free without losing data? Certainly!

In the following sections, we will teach you the process of reinstalling Windows 10 both with and without a CD or USB drive.

  • How to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB drive
  • How to reinstall Windows 10 from USB drive or with CD disc.

How to Reinstall Windows 10 Without Losing Data

In the following sections, you will learn how to reinstall Windows 10 without CD and how to reinstall Windows 10 with USB drive.

Case 1: Reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB

Quick Video Guide:

Reinstall Windows 10 While Keeping Files

Windows 10 comes with a feature called Reset This PC, using which you can either choose to keep your personal files or remove them and then reinstall Windows. Resetting is a good solution for a PC that isn't working well.

The merit of this solution is that Windows does not require any additional downloads nor installation media to initiate the setup.

Step 1: To do this, please go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery.

Step 2: Click Get started under Reset this PC section.

Note: If your system encounter issues after upgrading Windows 10, you can try a downgrade from a previous version or an earlier build instead of the OS reinstallation. Under the Recovery tab, click Get started under the respective option to revert your Windows to its previous installation.

Step 3: Choose an option to continue. To reinstall Windows 10 without losing data, you should choose Keep my files.

Step 4: After the process has been prepared, a window will pop up saying that your apps will be removed. Click Next to go on.

Step 5: In Ready to reset this PC interface, click the Reset button to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or loss of personal files.

Tip:You Windows may freeze during the reset. To fix this issue, get the solutions in this post - Here Are Three Ways to Fix the Windows 10 Freezing at Reset Issue!

How to reset a computer that isn't working properly?

If the system fails to start up, how to reinstall Windows 10 from boot? Please boot your PC several times, then Windows 10 may enter the WinRE.

Note: If Windows fails to go to WinRE, you might need to use a repair disc Repair your computer to enter WinRE.

Go to Choose an option > Troubleshoot > Reset this PC. And then, continue the operation by following the wizard.

Reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB: Directly from ISO File

Microsoft comes with a media creation tool that can upgrade this PC to Windows 10 by creating an installation media or directly using the ISO file to install Windows 10.

If you don't have an installation CD or USB flash drive, how to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data? Here, we will use the Windows ISO file.

Step 1:Download the media creation tool from Microsoft.

Step 2: Get the Windows 10 ISO file.

Can i do windows 10 clean install with free upgrade download

1. Open the downloaded tool, and choose Create installation media for another PC.

Tip:If you want to reinstall Windows 10 on a PC that already has Windows 10 activated, use the Upgrade this PC now option. This way you can help reinstall Windows 10 without losing data and programs.

2. Choose language, architecture (32 or 64-bit) and edition to continue.

3. Check the ISO file option to create an installation ISO. Note that this tool requires the ISO to be burned to a DVD later.

Step 3: If you need to install Windows 10 directly from the ISO file without a USB drive or DVD, mount the ISO file. This also performs an upgrade of your current OS to Windows 10.

To mount the ISO file:

  1. Find the ISO file and right-click it, select Properties.
  2. Under the General tab, click Change, select Windows Explorer to open this file and click OK.
  3. Right-click this file and choose Mount.
  4. Double-click the ISO file to view the included files and double-click setup.exe to start Windows 10 setup.

Step 4: After the setup is ready, decide whether to download and install updates or not. Here, we suggest choosing the first option. These updates will smooth the installation by including important fixes and updated device drivers.

Step 5: The setup will check for some available updates.

Step 6: Click the Accept button in the License terms screen.

Step 7: The setup will start looking for updates and downloading them.

Step 8: After everything is ready, you will see Ready to install screen where you can click the link labeled - Change what to keep.

Step 9: Then, three options are offered. If you need to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data and apps, please check Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings.

Step 10: Then, this setup will then go back to Ready to install screen. Now click Install to begin the Windows 10 reinstallation. After finishing the reinstallation, follow the instructions to customize your settings.

Run Windows Setup from a Partition Containing the ISO File

Another way to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB is by running the Command Prompt and opening Windows setup from the partition containing an ISO file. Note that this method might erase everything on your computer.

This tutorial - Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive from tenforums gives you detailed information.

Note: Method 2 and Method 3 only work on computers that can still start up normally. If you have a non­-working computer, you should choose to reinstall Windows 10 from a USB drive or a CD disc.

Case 2: Reinstall Windows 10 with CD or USB

This method also requires the Windows media creation tool.

How to reinstall Windows 10 from boot?

  1. Connect a USB drive or DVD disc to another working PC
  2. Download a media creation tool on the working PC
  3. Run the media creation tool and select Create installation media for another PC and USB flash drive. You could directly burn the ISO file to the USB or disc.
  4. Plug the USB or disc into the non­-working computer and change the boot order, so it can boot from the USB or disc.
  5. Start a clean install by following the wizards.
Can I Do Windows 10 Clean Install With Free Upgrade
Tip: What if your USB drive isn't detected in Windows? Get the solutions from this post - Fix USB Flash Drive Not Recognized & Recover Data – How To Do.

Note that this way will erase your personal files on the non­-working computer, so you will need to first back up all the files you want to keep. Use MiniTool ShadowMaker, as mentioned above.

Can I Do Windows 10 Clean Install With Free Upgrade Software

While searching for a solution to 'reinstall Windows 10 without CD', you might find in the related search results: can I reinstall Windows 10 for free? How to reinstall Windows 10 after the free upgrade?

Actually, it is possible to free reinstall Windows 10. When you upgrade your OS to Windows 10, Windows 10 will be automatically activated online. This allows you to reinstall Windows 10 at any time without purchasing a license again.

To reinstall Windows 10 after its free upgrade, you can choose to perform a clean install from a USB drive or with CD. Just follow the guide mentioned above.

Best Method: Use a System Image to Reinstall Windows 10

A system image includes all the Windows OS files, settings, programs and personal files, so it is a good option to restore Windows to a normal state.

To ensure the best solutions for OS issues, we strongly recommend backing up your Windows OS and then perform a system image recovery to reinstall Windows 10.

To do this, the best free backup software - MiniTool ShadowMaker is helpful. Get it now to create a system image backup.

Step 1: After launching MiniTool ShadowMaker, choose local backup to start.

Step 2: Under the Backup tab, system partitions have been selected as the backup source. You only need to choose the hard drive of the non­-working PC as the destination storage path.

Step 3: Finally, click Back up Now to perform the backup operation.

If Windows ever runs into a problem, use the system image file to restore your computer to its previous state.

This will require a bootable USB drive or disc to be created using its Media Builder. After creating the image, you can then boot the crashed PC to use MiniTool ShadowMaker Bootable Edition to begin the recovery.

Related article:How Can You Make System Image Recovery in Windows 10?

If you don't have a system image backup, what should you do to restore the non-working PC?. Use the Universal Restore offered by MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition.

After getting Trial Edition to back up the system of a working PC, you can restore the system image to the hard drive of the crashed PC and then start a universal restore.

More details are in this post - How Can You Do Windows Backup Restore to Different Computer.

Important: Back up Important Files in Advance

No matter which method you use, to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data, it is recommended to back up your important files before starting a reinstallation. We suggest using the professional PC backup software for Windows 10/8/7, MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition, to back up files or folders with simple steps on the desktop or in WinPE.

When your PC is working properly, you can directly create a file backup on the desktop

Can I Do Windows 10 Clean Install With Free Upgrade Free

Step 1: Run MiniTool ShadowMaker.

Step 2: Go to the Backup window and enter the Source section.

Select the Folders and Files section, and choose the files or folders you want to back up and click OK.

Next, specify a location to save the backup image file. Using an external hard drive or USB drive as the destination path is relatively safer than the original disk.

Step 3: At last, click the 'Back up Now' button to start the file backup.

If your computer fails to boot, you can use the MiniTool ShadowMaker Bootable Edition

Just create bootable media (using CD/DVD or USB drive) with Media Builder feature on a working PC, then boot the non­-working PC from the disc or drive to get the Bootable Edition. After that, you can start backing up your important files.

PC is not booting but you want to back up files without booting to save them? This post will show you how to back up data from a computer that won’t boot.

Further Reading: Reinstall Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive

When searching for 'reinstall Windows 10 without CD', you might find some other users are also interested in Windows installation on a new hard drive.

How to do this? One method is to use the Clone Disk feature of MiniTool ShadowMaker or Copy Disk of MiniTool Partition Wizard to clone Windows 10 to a new hard drive. Or you can also reinstall Windows 10 from USB or CD.

Related article: How to Install Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive (with Pictures)

Final Words

After reading our article, you should know how to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB and how to reinstall Windows 10 from a USB drive. You should choose a method to reinstall your Windows based on your needs.

Finally, don't hesitate to tell us if you have other ways to reinstall Windows 10 or come across any questions related to our MiniTool software by leaving a comment below or contacting [email protected].

Reinstall Windows 10 Without CD FAQ:

You can reinstall Windows 10 for free. The are several methods, for example, using the Reset This PC feature, using Media Creation Tool, etc.
  1. Create a bootable USB drive and start the PC from it.
  2. On Windows Setup, click Install Now.
  3. If you have an activated copy of Windows 10, choose I don’t have a product key.
  4. Choose a system edition, accept license terms, choose to install Windows only and follow the on-screen instructions to finish a clean install.
  5. For more items, go to Windows 10 Reset VS Clean Install VS Fresh Start, Details Are Here!
According to Microsoft, it is allowed to reinstall the same Windows edition on the same computer without entering a product key if Windows 10 has been activated on the PC. If a prompt asks you to enter the key when you reinstall Windows 10, skip this step.
In Windows 10, there is a built-in tool that can wipe your PC and restore it to a factory-fresh state. Navigate to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. Then, select Get started under Reset this PC. You can keep your personal files or remove everything based on your actual needs.