[Windows 10 Tip #2] - Installing Windows 10 (FREE)
This is the second article in a weekly series that explores Windows 10 at a leisurely, low-stress pace. Our first goal was to set up Windows 10 in a dual-boot configuration with Windows 7, so that a user could experiment with Windows 10 without putting all of his/her eggs in that basket. The idea is to reduce anxiety and hesitancy about trying Windows 10, and to prepare everyone for its inevitable takeover of the desktop. Let's jump right in today...
Installing Windows 10 for Free
Last week, I created a new partition on my primary hard drive to hold Windows 10. (If you missed that article, see [Windows 10 Tip #1] - Dual Boot Setup.) This week, I’m going to install Windows 10 on that partition. Along the way, I will explain the options presented to users during installation and my recommended choices.
Let me be clear: this procedure will not give you an "activated" copy of Windows 10. But that doesn’t matter for our purpose of getting acquainted with Windows 10. A copy of Win 10 installed the way I am about to describe is perfectly legal, and you can use it indefinitely; it doesn’t expire and lock up at the end of a trial period. However, there are a couple of limitations for unactivated copies of Windows 10:
You will see a watermark in the lower right corner of the desktop that bugs you to activate Win 10. You can’t do any Personalization, e.g., change wallpaper, accent colors, lock screen, themes, etc. All of these options are on the Personalization tab in Settings, but they are greyed-out and don’t work. You can’t use services that require a Microsoft account, such as syncing files across multiple devices. Other than those caveats, you will have a fully functional copy of Windows 10 by the time we’re done today, and it won’t cost a dime.
NOTE: There's one exception to the preceding paragraphs. If you have an official Windows 10 install disk, you'll be able to create a fully functional, activated Windows 10 system. When I purchased a new Dell PC in May 2016, it came with Windows 7 pre-installed, but they also provided a Windows 10 disk, in the event that I wanted to upgrade or create a dual-boot configuration. You could also purchase a Windows 10 install disk if desired.
Step 1: Create Windows 10 Installation Medium
To get started, download a copy of the Microsoft Media Creation Tool from this page. Click the blue "Download tool now" button, then run the executable file and accept the license terms. Then select “Create installation media… for another PC” and click Next. (The “other PC” is the empty partition we created last week.)
On the next screen, check the box that says, “use the recommended options for this PC” and click Next. On the next screen, select “USB flash drive,” then insert a flash drive of at least 5 GB capacity into a USB port and click Next again. On the next screen, select the USB drive and click Next again. (If you have a DVD burner and prefer to create your installation media on a DVD disc, there's an option for that also.)
The tool will take its sweet time (expect 45-60 minutes) downloading the current Windows 10 archive files, expanding them, checking for updates, and finally creating the installation media on the USB drive. While the tool works, you can use your Win 7 environment to catch up on news, play Minecraft, watch cat videos, or work on that novel.
When media creation is done, you will have a bootable USB flash drive from which to install Windows 10 on the empty partition we created last week.
Step 2: Installing Windows 10
Restart Windows with the USB flash drive inserted. If your BIOS is configured to boot first from USB, you will get the Windows 10 setup utility. If you don’t, restart again, and during restart hold down the SETUP key until the BIOS setup utility loads. (Usually, the SETUP key is F1, F2, DEL or ESC. Watch for messages that appear during startup.) Navigate to the Boot tab and change the order of boot devices so that the USB drive is first, then restart into the Win 10 setup utility.
Click “Install Now” to begin. When prompted for a product key, click on “I don’t have a product key.” On the next screen, select the edition of Win 10 to install; any of them will serve for our purposes. Accept the license terms when prompted.
IMPORTANT -- Choose “Custom: install…” to perform a clean installation without overwriting your current Windows 7 system. The next screen displays the drives available and the free space on them. The last drive in this list is the new, empty partition on which you want to install Windows 10.
Setup will get busy for 8-10 minutes, then give a 10-second countdown before restarting. Remove the USB drive before Setup restarts so that the setup will continue from the Windows 10 drive rather than restarting the Setup utility. Setup will finish in about 5-6 minutes.
Cortana, the Windows 10 virtual assistant, will greet you audibly and with on-screen text. To silence her, click on the microphone icon, second from the left at the bottom of the screen. We will fine-tune Cortana later.
Confirm your region and keyboard layout. If you're not using a wired Internet connection, select the WiFi network you will use. When prompted, enter its password. Windows will check for updates and install any it needs.
The next screen asks if you want to set up Windows for home/personal use or for use in an organization; most consumers should choose the former.
When prompted for a Microsoft account, click on “offline account.” When asked if you want to “sign in with Microsoft,” answer “no.”
Assign a username and password to this copy of Windows. When Cortana bugs you to use her again, just say, “no.”
Step 3: Privacy Settings
The next screen shows a number of privacy settings and on/off toggles. Here is how I have mine configured; you may want other options:
- Location: on
- Diagnostics: Basic
- Use advertising ID to target ads: off
- Speech recognition: off
- Tailor experience using diagnostic data: on
That’s it! You should now see a pristine Windows 10 desktop.
Let’s stop here and I'll show you how to reboot into Windows 7. Click on the Start menu icon. Click on the icon in the lower left area that looks like a broken circle with a vertical line; that’s the Power icon. Choose Restart from the options presented. When Windows restarts, choose Windows 7 from the dual-boot screen.
Next week, we’ll get acquainted with the Edge browser. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 15 Jun 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [Windows 10 Tip #2] - Installing Windows 10 (FREE) (Posted: 15 Jun 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved