Installing Windows 10 from USB/DVD media

Are you upgrading an old computer? Maybe just wanting a fresh installation of Windows 10? Well keep reading! This guide will walk you through downloading Windows 10 to a USB or DVD and then install it.

Although this guide is complete and if followed should install correctly, technology can sometimes be unpredictable. This means that if anything were to go wrong during your installation, I will take no responsibility. If you are not sure about anything in the guide, please do further research. Make sure you have any important data backed up before continuing.

If you are installing Windows 10 on a computer that it hasn't been installed on before, check this spec guide to ensure the computer can run the operating system smoothly.

Already have a Windows 10 installation DVD or USB drive? Well you can skip to the 'Booting from installation media' section of the guide (you will only need an internet connection).

Downloading Windows 10

What you need to download Windows 10:

  • Internet connection
  • Sufficient storage space on your computer to download Windows 10 before it is mounted to your USB or DVD (will require less than 10GB)
  • 8GB or larger USB drive
  • OR
  • A Dual layer DVD (you will of course require a DVD burner with dual layer burning capabilities)

A USB drive or DVD is not required if you are upgrading directly from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10, however you will still need an internet connection.

Open the Windows download page and click the big 'Download tool now' button at the top of the page.

A file will have now been downloaded, open the file, this is the Windows 10 set up tool.

Create/set up the Windows install media

Now that you have the Windows set up tool open, accept the applicable notices and license terms.

You will now be presented with two options, to either 'Upgrade this PC now' or 'Create installation media'. If you want to upgrade the computer you are using and it's currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8 you can select the upgrade option. Otherwise select the 'Create installation media' option.

Continue reading below based on what option you have choosen (upgrade or create installation media).

Upgrading to Windows 10

Windows 10 will now begin to download to your computer and get any required updates. A screen will then show stating that Windows is ready to be installed. You can select 'change what to keep' if you are not wanting to bring all your current files over to Windows 10. Click next and your computer will now begin to upgrade to Windows 10, it will restart multiple times during the upgrade process. After Windows finishes the installation process you will now have Windows 10 on your PC. If for any reason you don't boot directly into Windows 10, read the 'Configuring Windows 10 preferences' section at the bottom of the guide.

You can also reference the links at the end of the guide if you are experiencing any problems with your your new Windows 10 installation.

Create installation media

You will see a screen asking you for some information on the type of Windows 10 you want to install. NOTE: If you are unable to change any options in this section, click on the tick box that says 'Use the recommended options for this PC'.

Select your preferred language that you would like your new copy of Windows to be installed in. Now select the Windows edition you would like installed, select the version that you have the license for. Alternatively if you don't already have a Windows 10 license key, you can select the version that you are going to purchase the license key for. Next select if the computer you are installing Windows on is 32-bit or 64-bit, if you are unsure pf the bit version you need to install, watch the video below. You can select to download both 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows onto your USB or DVD if they have at least 16GB of storage space.

Now you will be prompted to create the Windows installation media on a USB flash drive or download to an ISO file. Select the USB flash drive option if you want to install from a USB, other wise if you want to install from a DVD click on ISO file.

If you selected the USB flash drive option in the previous step you will now be presented with a screen that asks you to select your USB. Find your USB drive from the list, it may be the only drive listed. Windows will now download and mount to your selected USB drive. After the Windows set up tool has completed what it needs to do. Remove the USB and place it into the computer you are wanting to upgrade or install Windows to.

Been following the steps to install from a USB drive? Skip ahead to the 'Booting from installation media' part of the guide.

If you are burning to a DVD, you will be asked to select a path for the ISO file. Make sure you select somewhere that you will be able to access the file easily, like the desktop. After clicking save Windows 10 will now begin to download as an ISO file.

When you are notified that the ISO file has finished downloading, navigate to where you saved the file. Right click on the ISO file and click 'Burn disc image', the ISO file will be named 'Windows' by default, unless you changed this during the installation. Make sure the correct DVD burner drive is selected, and click 'Burn' at the bottom of the window. Once the DVD has been successfully burnt, place the DVD into the disc reader of the PC you are wanting to upgrade or install to.

Booting from installation media

Now you will need to boot the computer you are wanting to install Windows onto from the media we just created. Restart your computer, if you see an option along the lines of boot menu or boot options select it with its corresponding key e.g. F6. Now select your USB or DVD drive from the list and press enter.

If you are unable to see an option for boot menu or boot options watch the video below on changing your computers the boot order.

Once your computer has booted from your media you should be in the Windows installation section

Installing Windows

Configure your preferences by selecting your preferred language, time/currency format and keyboard format and click next.

Now simply click 'Install now'.

If you are prompted to input a license key, enter your license key, otherwise press skip and you can enter it later. If Windows 10 has previously been activated on this computer you can also click skip as Windows will detect your previous license.

Accept the license terms and click next.

At this point it can start to get somewhat confusing.
If you are upgrading a computer that has a previous version of windows installed and want to retain the files and programs, click the upgrade option. Your computer will now begin to upgrade.

If you are wanting to perform a fresh install, click on 'Custom: Install Windows only'. Now select the partition that you would like to install Windows on.

If you are not familiar with partitions and system formats, you can follow along with the video below.

Click next and Windows will begin the process of installing on your machine.

When installing your computer will restart several times, and the screen may look stretched or small at some points, don't worry its a normal part of the installation process.

Configuring Windows 10 preferences

If you have followed along with the guide you should now be at the final configuration screens. At the time of writing this the screen you should be on is a confirmation of the system language. Microsoft is constantly changing what screens you have to go through to finish the installation. The final configuration screens will be things like setting up a password and logging to your Microsoft account etc.. Once you have completed these steps, you will have Windows 10 installed on your computer. I am confident you will be able to follow these steps, so I will end the guide here.

Linked below are a couple of articles that show you fixes to some issues that you may be facing with your new copy of Windows 10.

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Richard Motion

I am a New Zealand based tech enthusiast with a passion for learning all things tech related. My hobbies include playing video games and watching movies. If you like what i'm doing and want to donate you can buy me a coffee at the link below.