[Windows 10 Tip #2] - Installing Windows 10 (FREE)

Category: Windows-10

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.

[See more helpful articles in my Windows 10 Tips series: Click Here.]

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.

Windows 10 Dual Boot setup

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...

Ask Your Computer or Internet Question

  (Enter your question in the box above.)

It's Guaranteed to Make You Smarter...

AskBob Updates: Boost your Internet IQ & solve computer problems.
Get your FREE Subscription!


Check out other articles in this category:

Link to this article from your site or blog. Just copy and paste from this box:

This article was posted by on 15 Jun 2017

For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.

Prev Article:
Geekly Update - 14 Jun 2017

The Top Twenty
Next Article:
[TUNES] Get Your Free Online Music

Most recent comments on "[Windows 10 Tip #2] - Installing Windows 10 (FREE)"

Posted by:

John Cole
15 Jun 2017

Installed W 10. Would like desktop similar to W 7.
I no longer have W 7. How can I set up so my desktop is similar to W 7?

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

I installed W10 shortly after it came out originally. I also installed Classic Shell. Now W10 looks and acts much like W7. I have had no trouble with 10 and I'm very happy with it.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

Excellent instructions, Bob. For those who have already upgraded to Windows 10 - You will basically follow the same instructions IF you have to re-install Windows 10!

I had to re-install Windows 10 Pro 64Bit. For some reason my computer went completely haywire. So, I had to start from scratch, meaning re-installing my Windows 7 Pr 64 Bit. Once I got Windows 7 back up and running - I then had to figure out a way to get Windows 10 back. I had gotten the FREE Upgrade version, so I didn't have a DVD. It took me awhile to know what to do.

I was on another website - The Windows Club - Good place to go to just check things out. There was an article there about re-installing Windows 10. My Windows 10 had already been activated. I tried to follow the instructions without any success. Finally, a member told me how to do it. I was making an ISO file on a blank DVD.

I did it!!! I got Windows 10 re-installed and it activated!!! I was directed to go to the same webpage that Bob has presented us. I used the "Using the tool to upgrade this PC to Windows 10" I followed the steps and I got my Windows 10 Pro back, fully activated. I then made a ISO DVD just in case this happened again.

Try using Windows 10. The first time I installed it - I hated it - That was before the November 2015 major update. After that major update I really started liking Windows 10. Yes, it is a bit different but not as much as I thought it was the first time I installed it. The 3 time I installed it, I found more things like Windows 7 than the first time. In all honesty - I really like Windows 10. I feel comfortable using it and it's not so foreign to me anymore. The one thing I still do not like about Windows 10 - Is the lose of some of my Causal Games. I know it happens with every new version of Windows - But, I still miss those games. Bummer

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

I have both Operating System on my Powerhouse computer. However, they are on separate Disk drives. My Win10 try to replace my OLD Nero Showtime with a new Showtime that expires in about 30 days. Which would force me to buy Showtime again, to view my movies. And since that Powerhouse computer has about 10TB in 4 hard drives, and is used basically to store and watch movies, I decide to keep my Win7 with the good Showtime also. So when I want to use either Operating System, I just tell the computer to boot from the hard drive that has the OS that I need to use. The only drawback is I have to boot up the different OS invariable to get the latest updates.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

I have both Operating System on my Powerhouse computer. However, they are on separate Disk drives. My Win10 try to replace my OLD Nero Showtime with a new Showtime that expires in about 30 days. Which would force me to buy Showtime again, to view my movies. And since that Powerhouse computer has about 10TB in 4 hard drives, and is used basically to store and watch movies, I decide to keep my Win7 with the good Showtime also. So when I want to use either Operating System, I just tell the computer to boot from the hard drive that has the OS that I need to use. The only drawback is I have to boot up the different OS invariable to get the latest updates.

Posted by:

John T
15 Jun 2017

Thanks Bob for the follow-up. I have a little different twist. about 18 months ago I purchased a Dell laptop that came with Windows 10 already installed. Now that the warranty is out,I noticed items not working. Such as the Windows Update, It downloads about 6 updates, then click install and after a while it says update failed! I even went to the Microsoft Update Catalog, searched the update KB# manually downloaded it and tried to install it that way. This also failed to install! Also every time I boot up I get a message "Microsoft Security Client Error code: 0x800706ba. Searched this issue and no real solutions found! So our IT Tech at work recommended I try to perform the windows 'Refresh', did this and it too failed and reverted back to prior to performing this. I did not get and DVD or thumb-drive with the laptop, so I guess either I call Dell or try to perform the Reinstall selection on the same page as the Refresh button. Win 10 is not my friend at this time!!!! Any info you can add to this forum for those of us with PC than came with Win-X?

Posted by:

Kenneth Heikkila
15 Jun 2017

John T, I don't know if this is what happened to your computer, but I just got the creator's update on my Win 10 yesterday. I looked at the update history when I saw the alert and saw that it had tried to update several time over the past weeks, but failed each previous time. I have also read that MS is fixing incompatibilities as time goes on so that (theoretically) every Win 10 computer will get the update.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

Bob, great series, can't wait to read them all. Question: If you've created the Win10 install media a while back do you need to do it again? I mean, is Microsoft updating the install media periodically, or just forcing a bunch of patches to get everything current? The download is large and I don't want to waste bandwidth repeating it if it isn't going to change anything. Thanks in advance for your reply.

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

John Cole,
Install Classic Shell.

Posted by:

John T
15 Jun 2017

Kenneth Heikkila:
Thanks for the info, I am not sure if that update is my issue or not. The update failing for me is "2017-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 for x64-based Systems (KB4019472)-Error 0x800706b_ not sure the last letter missing from my picture I took of the screen. Anyhow I also tried to run the Windows Update Troubleshooter and it also error'd out, says 'A problem is preventing the troubleshooter from starting'! Well imagine that!! I do not know what Microsoft is doing to fix this but at this point I think I need to just reinstall the OS. Thanks for the reply and info

Posted by:

15 Jun 2017

Not totally about dual install. My Lenovo laptop (new as of 12/25/16) came with Win 10 pre-installed. It WILL NOT upgrade from version 1607 (Anniversary) to 1703 (Creators). This includes letting Windows download and try to install the upgrade OR using the Windows Media Tool. (Two dozen tries so far.) Now, suddenly, Windows isn't even offering me the upgrade in their updates list. They just give me the updates for version 1607. (Two other laptops, both older, had no trouble upgrading to 1703.)
Will trying a dual install (and probably botching it) do any good?

Posted by:

Bill Borne
15 Jun 2017

For John T
This may help you

Posted by:

John T
15 Jun 2017

Bill Borne:
Thanks, opened the page and read thru it.
If I recall, after all that I have tried with my issue I do remember trying this T/S.
It ran a bit then a window came up:
"An error occurred while troubleshooting:
A problem is preventing the troubleshooter from starting.
Package ID: Unknown
Path: Unknown
Error Code: 0x80070426
Source: Engine
User: my id
Context: Restricted

Posted by:

Anton Matwiejko
16 Jun 2017

I think Windows 10 is not a good system. Every second day something is different.
I had a lot less problems with my old XP

Posted by:

16 Jun 2017

Bob, the "TAKE OVER" is NOT inevitable. Switch to Linux, but do it cautiously if you're an old-timer like me.

Posted by:

John T
16 Jun 2017

Bob a question about dual booting: If my desktop PC originally had Win 7 Pro OEM and I performed the upgrade to Win 10 Pro, is my OEM Win 7 disk still ok to use to dual boot? Or is that OS disk basically trash?

Posted by:

Lynn Brown
18 Jun 2017

Bob, I did not receive my newsletter for
Friday. Is something wrong? I enjoy your
newsletter and I would like to keep it

Posted by:

David T
18 Jun 2017

John T, I think I have come across this before in an article about Dell's underhand tampering of the MS licence agreement. Full reinstall a bit drastic and may well not solve anything. However getting answers out of Dell...

Bob as an insider from way back each new version had a sell by date and if I choose not to update, Win 10 would have expired but I have just checked and found no such expiry date so I learnt something today

John T when ever I have to do a full reinstall after a full format I first reinstall Win 7 do a few upgrades then install the Win 10 Iso.

You have your licence for Win 7, so after a full re-install and 250+ updates do a backup on a separate HDD. then partition your C:\ Drive and run the install Iso, the problem I see is you have a valid product code for Win 7 and a digital certificate for 10. in other word you surrendered you product code by not reverting back to 7 in the specified time limit, please let me know how you get on and any work arround.

David T

Posted by:

Desmond Bradley
22 Jun 2017

Bob, excellent instructions. I got to "Getting files ready for installation. Ok to 12% then installation cancelled with error ox8007045D. Tried by selecting the Pro version. Same result,file missing.
At least it went to "changes made will not be saved"
Seems I can not follow along with this program unless I find the solution.

Posted by:

Howard Hadley
23 Jun 2017

John T you should be able to use the original Win 7 installation disk for a dual boot system. You may have to call the Microsoft help line to get it reactivated which takes about 10 minutes.

You only need a 4 GB USB drive for wither 32 or 64 bit ISO for Win 10. You will need a 8 GB USB drive if you want to create both versions. Installation from the USB drive is easily twice as fast as from the DVD.

Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions

*     *     (* = Required field)

    (Your email address will not be published)
(you may use HTML tags for style)

YES... spelling, punctuation, grammar and proper use of UPPER/lower case are important! Comments of a political nature are discouraged. Please limit your remarks to 3-4 paragraphs. If you want to see your comment posted, pay attention to these items.

All comments are reviewed, and may be edited or removed at the discretion of the moderator.

NOTE: Please, post comments on this article ONLY.
If you want to ask a question click here.

Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter

Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
About Us     Privacy Policy     RSS/XML

Article information: AskBobRankin -- [Windows 10 Tip #2] - Installing Windows 10 (FREE) (Posted: 15 Jun 2017)
Source: https://askbobrankin.com/windows_10_tip_2_installing_windows_10_free.html
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved