Windows 10 - Upgrading, Custom Install & System Reset


Hi everyone, i am a member of several online forums, mainly video and computer related ones, and i noticed in my travels thru these Forums that there has been a lot of discussion (and confusion) surrounding the new Windows 10 Operating System, and how it is supposed to work, so i have written my own User Guide dedicated specifically for those who wish to upgrade from their current version of Windows 7, or Windows 8.1

The Guide will be broken up into 3 different segments (see list below) and i will try to make it as simple as i can for the benefit of those who may not know how to go about doing this Upgrade, and without all the technical jargon thrown in, and i will also be adding a link to a set of images in my Dropbox Account showing each step of these 3 processes for those who are interested in viewing them (as crude as they might be)

(1) covering the actual Upgrade to Windows 10
(2) running a Custom Installation of Windows 10 after the Upgrade was completed
(3) running a Windows 10 system Reset from within the Windows 10 Recovery console

I will then leave this information here for anyone who might be interested in reading it, and/or adding their own thoughts and/or comments relating to these 3 particular processes covered in this Topic.

Windows 10 is available free of charge to anyone who has a computer or laptop running a legitimate/licensed version either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, and it must first be done as an Upgrade from your current Windows Desktop, which then puts in place a permanent Activation code in the Microsoft Activation server for your specific machine, and once the initial Upgrade has been completed, your machine will automatically be Activated, and this Activation will become permanent on that machine any time you want to re-install Windows 10 into the future, and you will never be required to have a valid Serial Key to type in at any time.

The free upgrade is currently available at any time up until July 2016, so you do not have to Upgrade now, you can do it any time before that date.

If you are running Windows 7 Home Premium or the basic Windows 8.1 then you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 Home, if you are using Windows 7 Pro and Ultimate, or Windows 8.1 Pro, you need to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

My first Upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 10 Home was carried out on my 2009 Dell 1735 laptop on Aug 27th, and i am using this laptop to test drive Windows 10 for a few months before deciding if i will apply the upgrade to my own Dell 2330 Desktop pc (my main editing computer as well) which is currently running 8.1, which i am very happy with right now, and once i think i am happy with how 10 runs, i will make the move to upgrade my own Dell 2330 editing pc, but i am not upgrading yet if all my Apps will not work properly.

Another point that i want to make is that there has been a lot of talk recently about Windows 10 being unstable and not running properly, and in many cases these issues are Driver Related problems, mainly with Audio and Graphics, and there is talk that Microsoft has also built a lot of Security stuff into Windows 10 that they have deliberately left turned on by default, with the intention of gathering certain information from your system, and some are actually referring to this as Spyware, but i think this is taking it a bit too far, however when you Upgrade to Windows 10, or do a custom installation at any time in the future, there is a Settings screen where you can select Xpress Setup OR Custom Setup, and in my Guides, you will notice that i hace suggested that you always select the Custom Settings, so you can Disable some of these security settings before your installation finishes.

There is also a lot of other Security settings deeper within Windows 10 that most people would never know was there, so there is now a Small Free Application called O&O ShutUp10 that you can Download and run from your Windows 10 Desktop, and then go thru this App and turn these other settings off as well, just as a precaution, and i will be including a Section in this Thread dedicated to the use of the Shut Up 10 Application.

I know that all this Security stuff may seem a bit daunting to many of you, but please do not make too many assumptions and just decide not to upgrade, because that would be a real shame, but if you are somewhat concerned, then please leave your Upgrade for a few months until Microsoft have fixed some of the known bugs, and that there is more info out there regarding the security problems.

OK, so if anyone has any Questions relating to this Topic, please feel free to ask.



Part 1. The Windows 10 Upgrade path.

Here is the Link to my step by step Images taken during the Upgrade process.

Please Note: you do not require any Serial Key to Activate your Windows 10 Upgrade (nor will you need one for custom installations either)

The first step is to download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft.

From there, you downloaded the Windows 10 version that is compatible with your current Win 7 or 8.1 System version, and you are given the option to download it as a stand alone ISO file on my Hdd, or you can elect to create a USB stick or burn it to a DVD.

For my own purposes i chose the download as an ISO file, and from the ISO, i then created a bootable DVD as well as a bootable USB Stick for use later on to do custom installations with, however most others will just need to download Windows 10 and save it to a 4gb (or bigger) USB stick as most computers and laptops now days will boot from USB.

Once you have the Windows 10 media on USB, you plug that into the laptop or computer and initiate the Upgrade from the Windows 7 or 8.1 Desktop by pointing to the Setup file inside the USB stick, and started the upgrade from there.

The first step in the process was downloading some updates to begin, then after prep was completed, you are asked what type of upgrade path you wish to use out of a list of 3 options.

1. Keep Person Files and Apps
2. Keep Personal Files Only
3. Nothing (basically this is a complete from scratch custom install)

I chose the "Nothing" option because i had no files in my Windows 7 SSD Windows drive, and i did not want to retain my Apps, and after that, the laptop re-started, and Setup proceeded as normal to install Windows 10, and all you have to do is follow each screen as it goes along.

During the first phase of installation, your machine will restart 2 times, then you will get to setting up the language and location, set up the WiFi connection, then select to Customize the Windows 10 Settings rather than do it later on, then skip the Microsoft Account login screen (who cares about that bit anyway) and then you have to input the PC User name (without password) and after a few moments of final setup, you should be presented with the brand new Blue Windows 10 Desktop.

Because this initial Upgrade over writes your old Windows partition, it will retain your old windows and keep it stored in a folder called "windows.old" so if you decide that you don't like Windows 10, you have 30 days to revert back to your previous windows from that folder.

The whole Upgrade process can take quite some time, as an example, on my Dell Laptop it took a painfully long 75 minutes or so to complete from launching the upgrade, probably in part due to it having to over write the old System, and having to obtain updates etc, and as soon as i got to the Win 10 Desktop, i went straight to the "Updates and Security settings" and found that the new Windows 10 was fully Activated, as it is meant to be.

Windows 10 will then complete a series of updates, and you can check your Device Manager to see if all your system device Drivers had been installed.

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Part 2. Windows 10 Custom Installation

Here is the Link to my step by step Images taken during the Custom Installation.

The 2nd part of this Thread is dedicated to carrying out a Fresh Install or Custom Installation of Windows 10 on your computer or laptop after you have completed the initial Upgrade, and because this is a completely new installation, it can be done onto your existing Windows 10 Hare Drive (which will be wiped) or onto another Hard Drive that you choose to install onto.

I should also point out that if you have more than 1 Hard drive in your laptop or computer, i always suggest that you disconnect all Drives except your Windows drive.

For the Custom Installation, plug the Windows 10 Bootable USB stick into the USB port (or you can insert the DVD into the optical drive) and then power on your computer or laptop, and select to boot from the USB Stick, then Run the Installation Setup as you would normally do with any other Custom Installation by following the on screen steps.

This time you are presented with a screen near the start to input a Windows 10 Serial Key, which you simply have to Skip as a Key is not needed, then you are presented with another screen where you have to select the Drive or Partition to install Windows 10 onto, and shortly after windows had completed the initial setup, you will again be presented with another screen to input a Windows 10 Serial Key, which you simply Skip this part again, and then you are taken thru all the final stages or Setup until you arrive at the new Windows 10 Desktop.

You can then go to the "Updates and Security settings" and you should find that the new Windows 10 Custom Installation is fully Activated, then go to your Device Manager and check to see if all Drivers were installed.

You can then start Customizing all your settings, and then let windows run a few updates, and set about installing your Apps and files.

Thats it, you now have your custom installation completed, and have it automatically activated.
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Part 3: Windows 10 Reset from the Windows 10 Recovery Console.

Here is the Link to my step by step Images taken during the Windows 10 Reset from the Recovery Console.

The 3rd part of this Thread is dedicated to carrying out a Reset of Windows 10 to Refresh it back to its original state without having to do a completely new installation, and this Reset is launched from the Windows 10 Recovery Console, and it works in almost the same way as the original Upgrade was carried out.

This time you do not need your Windows 10 USB Stick or DVD, all you need to do is go to the Windows Settings screen, choose Update & Settings, and choose Recovery.

You can choose an option to Reset by Retaining your Files (your Apps will be removed) or Remove Everything

Windows then takes you thru the process of Resetting your computer or laptop, again without any Serial Key screens or having to select your installation Drive, and then you are taken thru all the final stages of Setup until you get to the new Windows 10 Desktop.

Windows 10 should be fully Activated, with all Drivers installed, and then you just set about re-installing all your Apps and files, and then let windows run a few updates.

Finally, i fully understand that there will be many members of this forum who probably knows all this stuff already, so for them, this thread will most likely not concern them, but for those who are not so clued up on all this Windows 10 stuff, i hope you might find the this information handy.

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I am still running Windows 10 after 7 years of use, and currently have the same original first installation on my 3.5 year old Metabox laptop, all i have ever had to do is the periodic built updates that are released approx every 6 months, and those can be done from within the Windows 10 Upgrade Centre, it just up[dates to the latest build, keeping your files and programs in place, the computer will restart, and away it goes.

Windows 10 was specifically designed to not have to wipe your hard drive and do fresh installations every year or so, like you had to do with all Windows up until version 7 and 9.

The thing to remember is to clear your cookies, cache, and internet history regularly, it just helps to make things run just a bit better, just as you should delete any unwanted files or crap that you store on your hard drive.

Also, remember to backup all of your files to another hard drive, or buy an online cloud storage service like i have (IceDrive)

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