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Windows 7 OEM Product Keys, Windows 8.x OEM Product Keys and Windows 10 OEM Product Keys are all accepted by Windows 10 Version 1803 Installation Media.
Multi-Edition Windows 10 Version 1803 Installation Media can be downloaded from Microsoft Using the Media Creation Tool or Direct Download Links see Windows 10 OEM Downloads and FAQs for more details.
Data Loss Warning
During the Windows Partition all Partitions will be Deleted and a Low Level Format Performed.
Back up any data from your old Windows Installation before proceeding i.e. copy all the files in the Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos folders to an external hard drive. If you cannot back up data because your old Windows Installation Cannot Boot then follow my guide Data Recovery Using Fedora. If you have large game installation files such as Steam or EA Origin see my guide Backing up and Restoring Steam Game Installation Files and Backing up and Restoring EA Game Installation Files.
Alternatively if you want to perform a proper Wipe so data is irrecoverable perform the Dell Data Wipe (UEFI BIOS) before proceeding. This is recommended if your old Windows Installation has been compromised by Malware or if you intend to sell your computer and want to keep any personal information from prying eyes.
Booting from the Bootable USB in UEFI
Power down your Dell and as you power it up press [F12].
For hardware manufactured by other OEMs you may have to press a different key. For example:
- For a Lenovo laptop you should also use [F12].
- For a HP laptop you should use [F9].
- For a Toshiba laptop you should use [F10]. Note you may need to Disable Fast Boot for the Bootable USB to display.
The first thing you want to check is that the Boot Mode is set to UEFI and Secure Boot is On. If they are press the [↓] key until you get your Bootable USB and press [Enter].
If the Boot Mode is Legacy or Secure Boot is Off you should amend your UEFI BIOS settings to Enable a UEFI Boot with Secure Boot. See my UEFI guide.
If there is no mention of Secure Boot but you have the mention of a UEFI Boot you have an early UEFI computer press the [↓] key until you get your Bootable USB and press [Enter].
If there is no mention of UEFI or Legacy you likely have an older system with a Legacy BIOS only. Press the [↓] arrow until you get to the USB Storage Device and press [Enter].
The Windows Setup: Part 1
The Windows setup will begin to load:
The next screen will give you the options to Install Windows or Repair your Computer (which you can use to launch Diskpart for example). In most cases select Install:
The Windows Setup: Part 2 The Product Key
Windows 10 OEM or Windows 8.x OEM Product Keys are embedded in the systems UEFI BIOS and will be automatically input by the Multi-Edition Windows 10 Version 1803 Installation which will chose the correct Edition of Windows 10 to Install. You will be taken straight to the license agreement screen if your key is automatically input:
Older hardware shipped with Windows 7 OEM have a COA (often found under the battery in laptops). The COA contains the Edition of Windows 7 and it’s associated unique 25 Digit Product Key. You may also have a unique 25 Digit Product Key if you have purchased a Retail License.
As the Product Key is Physically Printed on a Label and not embedded in the UEFI BIOS, Windows 10 Installation Media will not be able to automatically input it and instead ask you to manually input it:
You need to input the Windows 7 OEM (or Windows 7/8.x/10 Retail) Product Key if:
- Windows 10 has never been installed and activated before. Once your key is input the correct Edition of Windows 10 will be selected and activate when you are online.
You can save time and skip inputting the Product Key if:
Windows 10 has previously been installed and activated.
- In such a case your System’s Hardware Profile has been submitted and stored on a Microsoft Product Activation Server.
- You may perform a keyless install of Windows 10.
- Your system will automatically contact that Microsoft Product Activation Server when online.
- The Microsoft Product Activation Server will recognise your hardware and automatically reactivate it.
You must select the Correct Edition of Windows 10 for your system to Reactivate.
- If your OEM License was for Windows 7 Pro or Windows 7 Ultimate opt to install Windows 10 Pro.
- If your OEM License was for Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic or Windows 7 Home Premium opt to install Windows 10 Home.
The Windows 10 Version 1803 Installation Media Created from the Media Creation Tool have the following Editions of Windows covering all OEM Licenses:
The Windows 10 Version 1803 Installation Media Created from tDirect Download Links have the following Editions of Windows covering all OEM Licenses and some Additional Editions mainly targeted towards large corporations/academic research institutions:
Select your Edition of Windows 10 and select next.
Accept the license agreement and select next:
The Windows Setup: Part 3 Drive Options
This step will result in data loss do not proceed unless you have all your data backed up onto an external hard drive.
If you are clean installing Windows due to a Boot Problem and cannot backup your data as Windows cannot boot the follow my guide Data Recovery using Fedora which uses a Bootable Fedora Live Linux USB which can access the HDD/SSD in many cases when Windows cannot.
This step will delete partitions and perform a low level format. With a mere format data is not wiped and can be recovered with third party utilities. If you want to perform a wipe due to a severe infection from malware/viruses or are wanting to sell your computer on then follow my guide Wiping your HDD or SSD.
Select custom install:
Select every partition on Drive 0 (or the desired Drive you wish to install Windows if you have a system with a multiple drive configuration) and systematically delete any partition.
Since Windows 10 has a proper digital distribution all previous OEM and recovery partitions are now obsolete and in any case won’t work after a clean install of Windows 10. They can safely be deleted.
Once all partitions are deleted, select Drive 0 Unallocated space and select next:
The following steps are automated. Windows will tell you its going to restart and give you a count down of 10 seconds. In these 10 seconds it is recommended to remove the Bootable USB. In some cases the Bootable USB gets put to the top of the Boot Menu and users end up in a loop restarting the clean install from scratch. After the restart Windows will spend some time getting ready:
The Windows Setup: Part 4 Region, Keyboard and Network
You will be asked to select your region, select it and select yes:
If you are already connected to a network via ethernet the Windows 10 setup will automatically search for some updates and then take you to the user accounts setup screen:
Otherwise you’ll need to connect to a wireless network and enter in your networks security key:
Windows will search Windows Update for an updated graphics driver. The screen may flash for a second while it is installed:
In 2 of the times I clean installed Windows 10 Version 1803, installation of the video driver was delayed during the User Accounts setup and led to a black screen where you could move the mouse and nothing else during the setup of user accounts… In order to proceed I had to restart the computer.
If your screen didn’t flash (as it refreshes the driver) during the network part of the install I advise waiting 5 minutes to see if this happens so you aren’t hindered in the middle of setting up your user account.
The Windows Setup: Part 5 User Accounts
You will then be asked to setup your account. Select setup for personal use then select next:
Microsoft recommend signing in with a Microsoft Account which makes it easier if you use many of their inbuilt Apps for example Mail or wish to purchase from the Microsoft Store. However they have made it relatively easy to sign in with an Offline Account unlike in previous builds where they hid the option in an obscure location.
Input your Microsoft Account Email and select next:
Input your Microsoft Account password and select next:
Windows will sign into your Microsoft Account:
If you don’t want to sign in with a Microsoft Account instead select Offline Account:
The next screen will load:
Microsoft will advertise the use of a Microsoft Account, select no to continue with an Offline Account:
The Offline Account creation screen will load:
Enter your user name and then press next:
Confirm your password and then select next:
Confirm your password and then select next:
The Windows Setup: Part 6 Services and Privacy Settings
You’ll now be taken to the Services and Privacy Options of the Setup. What you select here is entirely your own decision.
Turning on Cortana, Speech Recognition is recommended if you want to use Cortana to interact with your computer (many people don’t bother using Cortana).
Letting Microsoft Know your Location and Finding Your Device are required if you are going to use any Services like Maps.
The more diagnostic data, the easier it will be for Microsoft to gather the information they need to address any issues that need fixed with Windows 10.
Microsoft are also working quite a bit on inking and typing recognition. If you are using these services and want to help improve them you can enable this setting or alternatively disable it if you want more privacy.
Finally there is an advertising setting, which will essentially give you an advertising ID across all Windows Store Apps, Bing search results on Edge and App Suggestions on Start so Microsoft can target you with relevant adverts opposed to random adverts.
Take the time to read through these settings and customise to your own preference and then select Accept.
The Windows Setup: Part 7 End of Install
Now it is just a case of waiting for the Windows setup to complete. If your system is already a Windows 10 Edition Device and you have installed the matching Edition of Windows 10 at this stage the system should contact the Microsoft Product Activation server and reactivate in the background:
For computers that are over a year old, Microsoft likely has all the drivers inbuilt to Windows 10 or will obtain them via Windows Update. It is a good idea to leave your computer idle for 0-15 minutes immediately after installation to give Windows time to download the required drivers from Windows Update. This will be discussed in more detail below.
Checking Product Activation
Go to Start and select Settings:
If the bottom of Settings isn’t watermarked it is activated.
Otherwise if it isn’t activated select the link at the bottom:
In some cases you can select Troubleshoot and it will tell you to sign in with a Microsoft Account and try to link your activation from your Account. Alternatively you can change your Product Key:
In this case I will input the 25 digit Windows 7 OEM product key printed on systems COA and then select next. For laptops the Windows 7 COA may be found shielded in the battery compartment. This screen will also accept 25 digit product keys from Windows 7, 8.x and 10 Retail Licenses. Once you have input your 25 digit product key select next:
The installation media should then accept the Windows 7 OEM key:
Once the installation media accepts the OEM Product Key it should allow you to press Activate:
The Windows 7 OEM Product Key alongside your system’s hardware profile will be sent to the Microsoft Product Activation Server. Once the Server Accepts there you will get Windows has been Activated:
Customising the Taskbar and Start Menu
By default Windows 10 look’s like this:
Even on a “Windows 10 Pro” Install, a default Windows 10 looks like an advertisement centre and has often unwanted Apps such as Bubble With 3 Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga,Disney Magic Kingdom, March of Empires: War of Lords, Microsoft Solitaire (which can all safely be uninstalled). Cortana occupies ~1/3 of the Taskbar and Apps such as the Store and Mail are pinned to the Taskbar.
Right click any unwanted pinned items on your Taskbar and select “unpin from taskbar”:
If you want to shrink or hide Cortana, right click the Taskbar and select Cortana, then “Show Cortana Icon” or “Hidden” respectively:
This will clear up room on your Taskbar:
If you don’t want the Microsoft Edge Desktop Shortcut or any other Desktop shortcuts, drag them to the Recycle Bin:
Now left click the Start Button and if you don’t want any of the default installed Apps such as the Games, Right Click them and select Uninstall. Apps that a Core part of Windows such as the Microsoft Store cannot be Uninstalled:
If you right click a Tile on the Start Menu you will then be given a context menu and have the options to Unpin it or Resize it:
If you want to position items on Start, left click the icon (and keep the left click held down), then drag into place:
The Start Menu is now substantially cleaned up:
Now one can change some of the Start Menu settings by going to Settings:
One can change their Desktop Background:
One can change the Colour of the Taskbar and Start Menu as well as Title Bars:
One can also easily change their Lock Screen Background:
One can change other Settings to do with the Start Menu. For instance one can remove Suggestions on Start:
One can also Enable a Full Start Screen:
Once you have all your Apps installed you can pin all the Apps you want to your Start Menu and Arrange them as desired:
Power Options and Windows Update
If you want your computer to run uninterrupted you’ll need to change both the Power Settings and Windows Update. To get to Power Options, right click the start button and select Power Options:
Change the Screen and Sleep settings:
For a Desktop computer, that I use all the time I normally have both these set to Never:
Now go to Home:
The select Update & Security:
Here you will have the option to Change Active Hours, Windows will not interrupt you or automatically restart your computer within these active hours. Unfortunately Microsoft made these settings only applicable for a maximum time of 18 hours:
Set your upper and lower time:
Select Advanced Options:
Some of these settings will not be available in the Home Single Language and Home Editions of Windows 10. Enable Give me Updated for Other Microsoft Products when I Update Windows and Enable Additional Reminders about Restarting:
If you really don’t want your computer to restart, select the option to Pause the Updates (for approximately a month):
You can later disable this setting and search for Updates at a time of your convenience:
Microsoft .Net Framework
Some older programs require the Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 (includes 2.0 and 3.0) to be Enabled (unfortunately it is not Enabled by default).
The easiest way is to Enable this using Windows Powershell. Select Windows Explorer:
Check the drive letter of your Bootable USB, in my case it is Drive D:
Open up Notepad and copy the following:
Dism /online /enable-feature /featurename:NetFX3 /All /Source:D:\sources\sxs /LimitAccess
If your Bootable USB is not D: then change D: to the drive letter of your Bootable USB.
Copy the line from notepad:
Right click the Start Button and select Windows Powershell (Admin):
Accept the User Account Control:
Windows Powershell (Admin) will now open:
Right click and the line you copied will be pasted. Press [Enter]
Microsoft .Net Framework 3.5 (includes .Net 2.0 and 3.0) will be enabled:
Once done type exit and press [Enter]. This will close Windows Powershell (admin):
Windows 10 will either have most system drivers inbuilt or obtain them from Windows Update automatically. The inbuilt driver support and the collection of drivers on Windows Update is one of the major improvements of Windows 10 over older Windows versions. In the vast majority of cases (unless your computer model is brand new and leading edge) every component of your computer will have a driver after leaving Windows 10 idle for 15 minutes after installation. This will give basic functionality and in some cases full functionality. There are a few common drivers which should be installed after Windows Installation for optimal performance, I list more details later:
- Intel Storage Controllers
- Dell Touchpad Drivers
- Dell Quickset/Dell ControlPoint
- Dell Wireless Card
- Problem Devices
- UEFI/BIOS Updates
Here is a demonstration of Windows 10 Version 1607 installed offline and acquiring all the system drivers automatically when connected online. Version 1803 will have even more native support.
1. Intel Rapid Storage Technology Applications – Under SATA Drives and/or CPU
The Intel Storage Controller driver that Windows 10 installs is a generic version and this may cause 100 % Disk Usage and sluggish overall performance.
If using an Intel system right click the start button and select Device Manager. Under IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers look for an entry called Standard SATA AHCI Controller. Right click it select properties, then select Details and change the property to hardware IDs:
Hint press [Ctrl] and [ f ] on this page and search for your hardware ID e.g. 1E02 as the GIF shows meaning I should use driver version 22.214.171.1248.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology is available to download from Intel download the version that matches your hardware ID.
126.96.36.1991 (6-7th generation)
Intel® 200 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A282)
7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A102)
Intel® 100 Series/C230 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_A103)
6th Generation Intel® Core™ Processor Family Platform I/O SATA AHCI/RAID Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9D03)
188.8.131.521 (4th-5th generation)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8D02)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C82)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C83)
Intel(R) 9 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C82)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_9C02)
Intel(R) 8 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C03)
Intel(R) 8 Series/C220 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_8C02)
184.108.40.2068 (3rd generation)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)
Intel(R) 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E02)
220.127.116.111 (1st-3rd generation)
Intel(R) 7 Series Chipset Family SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1E03)
Intel(R) Mobile Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C03)
Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1C02)
Intel(R) 5 Series 4 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B29)
Intel(R) 5 Series 6 Port SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B2F)
Intel(R) 5 Series/3400 Series SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3B22)
18.104.22.1683 (1st-2nd Generation)
Intel(R) ICH10R SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A22)
Intel(R) ICH10D/DO SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_3A02)
Intel(R) ICH9M-E/M SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_2929)
Intel(R) C600 Series Chipset SATA AHCI Controller (PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_1D02)
2. Laptop Touchpad
Older Dell Systems (<2016 Hardware) should have the best Touchpad Driver available installed. In many cases the best driver is taken from newer hardware and is not the driver designed for the Touchpad as a consequence the driver has to be manually installed ia the Device Manager. For more details see my popular guide Dell Touchpad Drivers.
With newer (>2016 Hardware) there is a future push for Microsoft to natively support new Touchpads, so called “Precision Touchpads" which should alleviate any OEM driver issues.
3. Dell Quickset/ControlPoint
There may also be some applications such as Dell Quickset/Dell ControlPoint specific to your OEM which may help with regards to specific features such as the function keys. Note that most these applications are designed for Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 but work equally as well for Windows 10.
4. Wireless Card
In most cases Windows 10 will install the latest driver for the Dell Wireless Card natively. You can compare the version Windows 10 installed compared to that offered by Dell. For older systems (<2016 hardware) confer with my popular Dell Wireless Cards guide which lists the drivers via Hardware IDs.
5. Problem Devices
If you have a Device where Windows couldn’t find a driver automatically you can examine it in more detail via the Device Manager for more details see my guide Checking Hardware IDs using the Device Manager.
6. UEFI BIOS Update
UEFI BIOS updates are also only offered by the OEM so its worth checking the OEM for some such updates c.f. my UEFI guide which covers updating the UEFI BIOS.