Windows 10 clean install

Rain1

Baseband Member
Messages
22
Location
USA
Hello Everyone,

My son bought a used computer from a friend, minus the hard drive. The machine had Windows 10 previously installed, so I know Microsoft will have some signature of the systems motherboard on their servers. I'm pretty sure this will be irrelevant because we bought a new ssd and a new licensed copy of windows 10 on a thumb drive.

So I'm assuming we can just hook up the new drive and install a fresh copy of windows on the new ssd without any issues?

If so then my only question is, should if fire the system up before plugging in the new hard drive and set the bios to boot from usb, or can I hook the hard drive up first then set the bios, then plug in the usb and reboot? Ahhh! I know I'm probably over thinking this but I just want to do it right the first time and minimize any potential issues. Thanks.

Jeff
 

pete.i

Daemon Poster
Messages
642
Location
UK
If you paid for that thumb drive then you shouldn't have. Windows 10 can be got for free and used quite legitimately providing that your "new" computer has already had Windows 10 installed on it. Of course the problem is two fold. The thumb drive will possibly have an old version of Windows 10 and it also could be virused. Your "new" computer might never have had Windows 10 on it and if it had had Windows 7 then the initial install of Windows 10 will need to be registered which you cannot now do because the old hard drive has been taken out.


Anyway as I was saying you get a free, legal and up to date ISO of Windows 10 from here:-


https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10


Download the tool, you will of course need a computer to do this. The tool will start putting the installation files on to a thumb drive or DVD. It will ask if you want the installation to be on the computer you are using or a different one. Choose a different one. It will then proceed to make a bootable DVD or bootable thumb drive which will enable you to install Windows 10 on to your new computer. Before you start insert the new SSD and set the bios up, hopefully the new computer should just see the SSD, and away you go. If there is a problem with your new computer the it will be flagged up in the installation. If all is well then it will install Windows 10 and register it when you connect to the web.
 

Rain1

Baseband Member
Messages
22
Location
USA
Hello Pete and thanks for your response.

So you're saying if if I bought the thumb drive from a retail store in Microsoft packaging it might still be virused? But more importantly I think you're saying I don't need it to begin with if the system already had Windows 10 installed on it? So Microsoft keeps records of a system through Motherboards?

Like I said in my previous post, my sons friend removed his hard drive before selling it to us. He told us he was running Windows 10 on it. What's stopping him from putting that drive into a new machine he's building and using that copy of 10 as long as he has the key?
 

pete.i

Daemon Poster
Messages
642
Location
UK
Hello Pete and thanks for your response.

So you're saying if if I bought the thumb drive from a retail store in Microsoft packaging it might still be virused? But more importantly I think you're saying I don't need it to begin with if the system already had Windows 10 installed on it? So Microsoft keeps records of a system through Motherboards?

Like I said in my previous post, my sons friend removed his hard drive before selling it to us. He told us he was running Windows 10 on it. What's stopping him from putting that drive into a new machine he's building and using that copy of 10 as long as he has the key?



No you didn't actually say where you got it from in your OP only that your son had bought a used computer from a friend of his and I assumed that that was where he got the thumb drive from.


Even so you do need a bootable thumb drive or a bootable DVD to install Windows 10. What I did say was that you can make a bootable thumb drive or a bootable DVD using the Windows 10 installation tool ISO that you will find on that link I posted and it wont cost you a penny. That link will install installation media on to a thumb drive or a DVD that is up to date.


You will not need a key to install Windows 10 providing that the computer has had Windows 10 on it previously. If the computer has UEFI bios then the key will be stored in the bios and Windows 10 will pick it up from there. If the computer doesn't have UEFI bios then a valid key would have had to have been used to allow the initial installation of Windows 10. Either way you should be okay. BUT the bottom line is try it and see how it goes. Chances are it will be okay but if the installation stops for any reason then you know that it has encountered a problem. If during the installation procedure you encounter a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) there will be an error code. If you can, jot down the code and come back here.
 
Last edited:

Rain1

Baseband Member
Messages
22
Location
USA
No you didn't actually say where you got it from in your OP only that your son had bought a used computer from a friend of his and I assumed that that was where he got the thumb drive from.


Even so you do need a bootable thumb drive or a bootable DVD to install Windows 10. What I did say was that you can make a bootable thumb drive or a bootable DVD using the Windows 10 installation tool ISO that you will find on that link I posted and it wont cost you a penny. That link will install installation media on to a thumb drive or a DVD that is up to date.


You will not need a key to install Windows 10 providing that the computer has had Windows 10 on it previously. If the computer has UEFI bios then the key will be stored in the bios and Windows 10 will pick it up from there. If the computer doesn't have UEFI bios then a valid key would have had to have been used to allow the initial installation of Windows 10. Either way you should be okay. BUT the bottom line is try it and see how it goes. Chances are it will be okay but if the installation stops for any reason then you know that it has encountered a problem. If during the installation procedure you encounter a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) there will be an error code. If you can, jot down the code and come back here.
I'm sorry I was not clear about the Windows 10 thumb drive in my OP. I bought at Frys just before Xmas.

Ok, so I pressed my “teenaged” son for more info about this computer and the OS. Turns out this kid somehow installed an “unauthorized” copy of Windows 10 on it. I told my son if that's the case then he probably wasn't able to get updates, but the kid told my son it was updating just fine.

Ok so I don't want my son on a machine that's running a pirated copy of Windows so instead of trying to return the thumb drive I'll just do a new install? Not sure what the best way is to proceed?
 

AMD_man

Fully Optimized
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1,699
Location
Argentina
Best way is to go to the site that Pete posted.

Download the ISO using the tool and then use Rufus to create a bootable drive with the ISO you just downloaded.

(I know the tool "can" create a bootable drive, but it has failed to me in the past, not without wasting precious hours, so I recommend you download it and then use Rufus.)

Note: you'll need another computer to do what I said above.

Note 2: I would recommend that you reset BIOS settings to default in case the previous owner changed something you don't want changed.
 

Rain1

Baseband Member
Messages
22
Location
USA
I'm sorry I'm so ignorant about this, and I just want to be sure I understand. You're saying I should just download and install the OS from Microsoft and see if everything checks out first? And if so maybe Frys will take back the Windows 10 bootable thumb drive I purchased.

My concern is this kid that owned the machine may have obtained an illegal copy of Windows. But the again if it registers and updates without issues then I shouldn't worry about it?
 

pete.i

Daemon Poster
Messages
642
Location
UK
I'm sorry I'm so ignorant about this, and I just want to be sure I understand. You're saying I should just download and install the OS from Microsoft and see if everything checks out first? And if so maybe Frys will take back the Windows 10 bootable thumb drive I purchased.

My concern is this kid that owned the machine may have obtained an illegal copy of Windows. But the again if it registers and updates without issues then I shouldn't worry about it?

Yep just do a clean install either using the thumb drive you bought or one that you have made using the link I provided. It will either all go okay and Windows 10 will register or it wont. Personally I think it will all be okay.
 

AMD_man

Fully Optimized
Messages
1,699
Location
Argentina
I'm sorry I'm so ignorant about this, and I just want to be sure I understand. You're saying I should just download and install the OS from Microsoft and see if everything checks out first? And if so maybe Frys will take back the Windows 10 bootable thumb drive I purchased.

My concern is this kid that owned the machine may have obtained an illegal copy of Windows. But the again if it registers and updates without issues then I shouldn't worry about it?
If he owned an illegal copy the worst that could happen is that your Windows won't activate and you'll need to buy a key.

Please also note that the version that you install has to be the same as the one that was previously installed for it to be able to use the digital license, so unless you need any of the features of Windows 10 Pro, I would install the Home version and be done with it.
 

Rain1

Baseband Member
Messages
22
Location
USA
Thanks for the response, and thanks to everyone else who helped me out on this. I think I'll try activating the machine as is, and see what happens. If it activates great, if not then I have a licensed copy ready to go.

Would anyone care to weigh-in on the likelihood I can return the thumb drive to Fry's Electronics if I never opened the package? Thanks
 
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