How to Clean Install Windows 10 from USB

In this post we will see how to clean install Windows 10 using a USB flash drive, on a separate partition. This process can even be used if you want to dual-boot it with another operating system. For this, you will have to first create bootable USB media from ISO for Windows 10. You will also have to create a separate partition, with at least 16 GB space, using the built-in Disk Management tool, if you plan to dual-boot it. This is one of its system requirement.

NOTE: Read this post Install Windows 10 after upgrading first.

Having done this, you will have to set your computer to boot from a USB device. Please be very careful when you change the settings here, lest it make your computer un-bootable.

To do this on my Dell laptop, I have to restart it and keep pressing the F2 key to enter the Boot Options Setup.  Here you will have to change the boot order. If your device uses Secure Boot / UEFI, you will have to change it to Legacy. This is how the default setting looked on my laptop.

bios boot options

Use the 4 arrow keys of your keyboard, navigate to the Boot tab and change the settings. Disable Secure Boot, enable Legacy option and set Boot List option to Legacy. Next move USB Storage Device to the first position and set it to be the first device to boot from. After making the changes, the setting on my Dell laptop looked as follows. It may be a bit different in your laptop.

legacy boot

Once you have done this, with your USB connected to your laptop, restart the laptop.

Note for Windows 10 users: If you upgrade to Windows 10, the new OS will take the product key and activation details from your earlier OS. These are then saved on Microsoft servers, along with your PC details. If you clean install Windows the first time, you may face activation problems. If you performed an upgrade the first time, activated Windows 10, and then clean installed Windows 10 on the same PC, then there will be no activation issues, as the OS will pull activation details from Microsoft servers. So, if your Windows 10 isn’t activated, we suggest you not perform a clean install the first time. First Upgrade the first time, Activate it and then Clean Install.

Install Windows 10 from USB

On restart, your computer will boot from the USB, and display the following screen. If you need to see the larger version of any image, please click on the images.

install Windows 10 from USB

Choose the Language to install, the Time & Currency format and the Keyboard or Input method, and click on Next. You will see the following screen. Click on Install now.

install Windows 10 from USB 2

The setup will start.

install Windows 10 from USB 3

You will be presented with the License terms. Accept it and click on Next.

install Windows 10 from USB 5

You will be asked, the type of installation you want. Do you want to upgrade your existing Windows installation and keep the files and settings, or do you want to Custom install Windows. Since we want to go in for a fresh or clean install, select Custom Install.

install Windows 10 from USB 6

Next you will be asked the Partition where you want to install Windows 10. Select your partition carefully and click Next. If you did not create a partition earlier, this setup wizard also lets you create one now.

install Windows 10 from USB 7

Windows 10 installation will start. It will copy setup files, install features, install updates if any, and finally clean up the residual installation files. Once this is done, your PC will restart.

install Windows 10 from USB 8

On restart, you will see the following screen.

install Windows 10 from USB 9

If you are dual-booting it, you will be greeted with the following screen. If Windows 10 is the only operating system on your computer, you may be taken to the log in screen directly.

install Windows 10 from USB dual boot

Windows 10 will ask you a few basic questions about your preferences, before completing the installation and taking you to the Windows 10 desktop.

windows 10

Once the installation is completed, remember to reverse the changes in the Boot Option setup.

This post will show you how to install any version of Windows from one USB flash drive.

See this post if you receive Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style while installing Windows 10. If you have any questions, feel free to visit our Windows 10 Forums.

How to directly clean install Windows 10 without upgrading first may also interest you. Windows OEM computer users always have the option to Restore Factory Image.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

29 Comments

  1. Stephen

    Hi AnandK I have on my notebook Windows 8.1 and 10 IP but on choosing an operating system windows 10 partiton dosen’t have windows logo, why?

  2. Maybe because it is still in Preview.

  3. Stephen

    and why in your screenshot you have logo?

  4. Oh you mean that logo – yes it is present. Strange, I have no idea why you don’t have it. Is the rest working fine?

  5. Stephen

    yes work all well, maybe it’s because I have set 8.1 for default OS?

  6. disqus

    Hi Andy, if I do a dual boot with seven or windows 8.1 is a serial number or activation needed or it takes what is in the computer old OS ? (in the first year time period of course).

  7. To get the free upgrade, you will have to upgrade your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. Windows 10 will use your existing OS key and activate it self.

  8. disqus

    Andy sorry to be so thick head but I’m saying to do a dual boot on a different partition, will windows 10 use the key from my old OS anyway ?

  9. Marwan Samir

    I have a problem in “choosing an operating system” section.
    it shows 3 windows 10 versions to choose from, how can I fix this?

  10. cole

    hi so i got to the part where it shows the window logo and it shows its getting ready, but then it goes to a black screen instead of showing the “installing windows” screen.

  11. Alexandre M. Carlos

    Hi!! I have a question for you: I updated my laptop from 8.1 to W10 last year. Now I was thinking about having W10 and 8.1 (again) runing on dual boot. My question is: Already having windows 10 up and runing, is it possible to install a previous version of windows (in my case, 8.1) on another partition in my laptop? Thank you!

  12. brian

    My Sons Laptop did upgrade to windows 10 Home. But after upgrading the ram from 4GB to 8GB it is looking me to re activate. Any help here.

  13. Nice article,
    Can i try this on my notebook?

  14. Eliza Lee

    I have a windows 10
    and the auto configuration nor manual is not working to get internet access. Attempted restore and reset and both failed. Does this mean OS needs to be installed for windows 10?

  15. rafael

    Hi sir, i’m using linux os and i want to install windows 10 from usb, what should i do?

  16. akescofashion

    how can i update my win7 to 10

  17. Denislav Georgiev

    Note something important, that the author is not informing the readers here:

    If you switch to Legacy in BIOS and install windows 10, then you will loose the Windows Boot Manager in UEFI, and you will have to stay in Legacy. Otherwise you have to keep UEFI in the BIOS and convert your system drive from MBR to GPT, which is faster actually…

  18. Md.Reyazuddin

    Maybe because it is still in Preview.

  19. Peter Sui

    I’d just like to confirm the following: my Mobo is an ASUS. I’m planning to do a fresh format and repartitioning of an older hard drive but my mobo only recognizes FAT32 to upgrade via USB> in terms of the media creation tool from Windows will this be the main format it will automatically format my flash to or are newer mobos excepting NTFS and will it format my flash to NTFS?

  20. Tazul Islam Murad

    how to Install Windows 10 from USB

  21. cher

    My problem is that when everything is finished downloading and it is suppose to restart to the “Getting Ready” screen, it instead reboots to the windows setup screen. Is there something I’m doing wrong?

  22. IC

    Thanks for the screenshots, much preferred over youtube; Although it is not mentioned here when to remove the USB (after the reboot). If it boots again from the USB it would bring back to square 1 of installation

  23. Rob

    Perfect instructions, worked first time. Upgraded a 500gb to a2TB hard drive and used a cleanly formatted cruzer 64gb USB to reload windows. Thankyou

  24. Chris Taylor

    If still facing issue while doing this… Contact me anytime +1-800-658-1121

  25. Nice and Clear Post with screenshots

  26. Karan Beer

    Hi ,,,
    Please rply..
    when i intalling windows 10 and files and all setup are complete to copy then system restart but after restart it start again to boot .Why its going on ?…
    please tell me what to do ????
    when should i remove bootable pendrive and when plug in …..

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