Downloading the Windows 10 TH2 .iso and Creating a Bootable USB
- The Windows 10 Product Family
- System Information
- OEM Licensing
- A Windows 10 Edition Device
- Downloading the Windows 10 TH2 .iso
- Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive
Installing Windows 10 TH2
- Final Preparation Steps
- Booting from the Windows 10 Bootable USB
- Language Options
- The Product Key
- Drive Options
- Settings and your Account
- Installing Drivers
- Checking Product Activation
- Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro
The Windows 10 Product Family
There are several Editions of Windows 10. Product keys are not interchangeable between different Editions of Windows 10.
This guide covers the following mainstream Retail and Home Editions of Windows 10:
- Windows 10 Home
- Windows 10 Home Single Language
- Windows 10 Pro
This guide also covers the specific European commission Editions of Windows 10:
- Windows 10 HomeN
- Windows 10 ProN
This guide also covers Academic Editions:
- Windows 10 Education
- Windows 10 EducationN
The instructions in this guide do not cover Enterprise Editions:
- Windows 10 Enterprise
- Windows 10 EnterpriseN
The instructions in this guide do not cover Korean Editions:
- Windows 10 HomeKN
- Windows 10 ProKN
The instructions in this guide do not cover:
- Windows 10 Mobile see Windows Phone Device Recovery Tool
Before you even begin the Windows 10 Download you should know some details about your system. This is best done by looking at system information.
Press [Windows] and [ r ] to bring up the run command:
In the run box type in
Then press ok.
OS Name and Version
Take a note of the OS Name. This will tell you what Edition of Windows 10 you need to Download. It will also tell you the version you have currently installed:
- 10586 is TH2 (1511)
- 10240 is TH1 (1507)
This guide will instruct in Downloading the Latest Build of Windows 10 TH2.
If you are still running Windows 7 or Windows 8.x see the Windows 10 TH2 Upgrade Table to determine the correct Edition of Windows 10 to Upgrade to.
- The Windows 10 Free Upgrade was marketed to end on the 29/07/2016. This appears to be an arbitrary deadline set by Microsoft Marketing when they released the flawed "Upgrade Only" Windows 10 TH1 Installation Media.
- Due to the issues of enforcing "Upgrade Only" installs, Microsoft quickly released Windows 10 TH2. With Windows TH2 Installation Media and Windows 10 RS1 Installation Media; Windows 7 and Windows 8.x Product keys are treated as Windows 10 Keys.
- No changes appear to be made to the Microsoft Product Activation Server or installation media (31/07/2016) and the arbitrary "1 Year Free Upgrade" Marketing nonsense should be placed in the Recycle Bin. This allows Microsoft to continue with their One Windows model and helps stop a disaster in 2020 when Windows 7 reaches End of Life.
If you have a Retail or Education License then the Product Key is in your confirmation email or printed on the Retail Packaging. For convenience all Retail Upgrade Keys work as Full Keys with Windows 10 TH2 Installation Media. OEM Licenses will be explicitly discussed in a later section.
Take a note of the SMBIOS revision…
- If it is 2.7 or greater you should have a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot.
- If it is 2.6 you might have an Early UEFI System (UEFI without SecureBoot) or only a Legacy BIOS. You will need to check your BIOS Setup*.
- If it is 2.5 you will have a Legacy BIOS.
- If it is 2.4 you will have a Legacy BIOS and the processor should be checked for 64 Bit compatibility.*
- If it has an SMBIOS of 2.3 or less its below minimum system requirements for Windows 10.
For Intel processors e.g. the G640 as shown, Google search Intel Ark G640. As the instruction set is 64 Bit I am all set to run Windows 10 64 Bit.
Boot Mode and Secure Boot State
For systems with Windows 8 or Later installed you will have BIOS Mode and SecureBoot State shown. These technologies should be enabled where supported by the hardware.
This information doesn’t show if you are currently running Windows 7. For a Windows 7 install in all cases SecureBoot will be disabled (as its unsupported by Windows 7) and the UEFI Boot may also be disabled.
Without the Latest UEFI BIOS Version – Installation of Windows 10 may Fail!!!
See my dedicated guide on the UEFI BIOS which gives more detailed instructions on updating the UEFI BIOS to the latest version.
Note if this is your sole computer do not save changes to your UEFI BIOS settings until you have finished making the Bootable USB.
Original Equipment Manufacturer Licensing
Most systems from Dell, HP, Lenovo etc. come with some version of Windows preinstalled. This is known as an OEM license. Dell, HP, Lenovo is the OEM and you are the End User. OEM licenses are designed to be supported by OEMs on their hardware and as a result OEM licenses are non-transferable. OEM licenses are not meant to be sold to End Users without accompanying hardware.
If you have the following stickers you have a Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Single Language Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Edition. This type of license has a system locked preinstallation product key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. You don't need to know this key as it will automatically be input by the Windows 10 or Windows 10 Single Language .iso respectively.
If you have the following stickers you have a Windows 10 Pro Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Edition. This type of license has a system locked preinstallation product key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. You don't need to know this key as it will automatically be input by the Windows 10 Pro .iso.
If you have a Windows 7 Code of Authenticity COA affixed to your system then you have a Windows 7 OEM License and your key has to be manually input. The COA contains your Edition of Windows 7 and 25 Digit OEM Product Key. Hint: take a picture of it so its handy for your initial Windows 10 Install.
To prevent the COA from fading the COA is likely residing in the battery compartment of Laptops and inside the computer cover of Desktops. Use your smartphone to take a picture of it before installation.
If your system is built by a much smaller company it will have a Commerical OEM System Builder License of Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. Hint: take a picture of it so its handy for your initial Windows 10 Install.
If the key on your COA is faded or is for Windows Vista or Windows XP then I advise taking the Unofficial 10130 Insider Preview Upgrade Path to get Windows 10 Pro for Free.
Windows 10 Edition Device
During the initial installation of Windows 10 Edition (this can be an upgrade install from an eligible license or alternatively an initial clean install with a Windows 7/8.x/10 key with internet connection) your systems hardware profile is stored with a Microsoft Product Activation server and given the green light for Product Activation. With this green light your system becomes a Windows 10 Edition Device.
A Windows 10 Edition Device will automatically reactivate when online when Windows 10 Edition (of any build #) is clean installed.
You may change components e.g. CPU, RAM, Graphics Card, Hard Drive, wireless card and PCIe cards of a Windows 10 Edition Device but you may not change the motherboard.
Downloading a Windows 10 TH2 .iso
Some of the Windows 10 .isos are multiple Edition .isos:
- The Windows 10 .iso contains Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro.
- The Windows 10N .iso contains Windows 10 HomeN and Windows 10 ProN.
There are two official means of Downloading Windows 10. This is by the Microsoft Techbench website and by the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is a .exe and only runs on Windows 7 or later and is normally recommended as it checks the .iso downloaded reducing the chances of a failed installation due to a corrupt download.
There are two Media Creation Tools:
- Windows 10 Media Creation Tool for OEM and Retail Licenses (Direct Link here)
- Windows 10 Media Creation Tool for Academic Licenses (Direct Link here)
The Techbench Website is Available here:
If you aren't running Windows 7 or later you will need to use the Techbench Downloads see Create a Windows 10 Bootable USB using Linux. The user interface of Techbench gets updated from time to time to remove access to downloads for older Windows 10 builds. These are still stored on Microsoft's servers and can be accessed via Jan's Techbench Tool. Education .isos don't show on Techbench however Jan's Techbench Tool will give you these links which may be useful as the Academic Media Creation Tool doesn't allow you to switch architecture or Language.
The rest of this step will instruct only with the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. If you used the Techbench link instead continue here.
Scroll down until you get to Download Tool Now.
The Windows 10 TH2 Media Creation Tool is 18,016 KB in size. Counter-intuitively the Academic Media Creation Tool is named Media Creation Tool Retail and the Retail and OEM Media Creation Tool is called Media Creation Tool:
If you right click the Media Creation Tool and select properties:
Then navigate to the Details tab it will tell you the version:
Launch the tool and accept the user account control.
Then accept the License Agreement screen:
The Academic Media Creation Tool will ask for a Product Key here and then lock you to a Language and Architecture.
For the OEM and Retail Media Creation Tool select Create Installation Media for Another PC.
Do not select Upgrade Now
The tool is supposed to automatically select the correct language, architecture and edition. You may wish to check this in particular if you are running Windows 7 with English (UK). For Windows 7 English (UK) and English (US) weren't separate languages and Windows 10 unfortunately assumes that any English Windows 7 install requires a Windows 10 (US) iso.
If you have a "Single Language" key note that it is not actually locked to a "Single Language". You may clean install Windows 10 Single Language in any Language that you wish however once you install Windows 10 you will not be able to change Language again unless you perform a new Clean Install.
Uncheck use Recommend options for this PC if you are needing another Edition (for another PC or it has made the wrong selection):
Now you may select these in accordance to your own preference if it is for installation on another PC.
You may select 64 Bit or 32 Bit architecture or an .iso that contains both, 64 Bit is recommended in almost all cases:
When ready select Next.
Although the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool can create a FAT32 Bootable USB Flash Drive directly I prefer to download the .iso file and save it to an external hard drive. This way it is easy to remake a bootable USB should something go wrong when attempting to create the first one for instance files not copying across completely:
Select your location for the download e.g. in my case a Software Folder called Microsoft. Name your .iso accordingly and select Save:
It will take a while to download:
When done select Finish:
Ignore the message about burning the .iso to a DVD. DVDs are obsolete and a USB flash drive should be used. Its faster to make the USB, install Windows from the USB and also a FAT32 formated USB is accepted by a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot. A DVD may be rejected in many cases.
English File Sizes
Sizes are listed for the TH2 build 10586 .isos.
The English 64 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x64 3,202,688 KB
- Windows 10N x64 3,016,192 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x64 3,163,968 KB
The English 32 Bit UK .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x86 2,499,968 KB
- Windows 10N x86 2,347,776 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x86 2,476,800 KB
The English 64 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x64 3,198,720 KB
- Windows 10N x64 3,009,600 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x64 3,198,720 KB
The English 32 Bit US .isos I downloaded were the following size:
- Windows 10 x86 2,514,624 KB
- Windows 10N x86 2,343,808 KB
- Windows 10 Single Language x86 2,486,656 KB
As you can see the size appears to be different for Languages and Editions.
Creating a Bootable USB Flash Drive
With this .iso you may use Rufus to create a bootable USB:
Rufus does not need to be installed and can be run directly by double clicking on the application.
Accept the User Account Control Prompt:
The order that you use Rufus is important failure to perform the steps in the order listed may lead to an incorrectly created Bootable USB
1. Select the USB Device:
2. Load the .iso:
Press the button to load the .iso:
Select the .iso and select open:
3. Check the Checksums (optional).
Rufus has the option to check the checksums.
4. Rename the volume label (optional).
I like to include the build number and the architecture in my volume Label.
e.g. I use labels like:
5. Select the Partition Scheme and then Target System Type.
- If you have a system with a SMBIOS version of 2.7 or later or a SMBIOS version of 2.6 that has support for a UEFI Boot select the GPT Partition scheme. The File System has to be FAT32 in order to pass SecureBoot. This will only work with 64 Bit Windows 10.
- If you have a system with a SMBIOS version of 2.4 or 2.5 or a SMBIOS version of 2.6 that doesn't support a UEFI Boot select the MBR Partition scheme. The File System will be NTFS formatted.
6. Click Start
Wait until Rufus says READY then you can close it an use your Bootable USB.
Last Preparation Steps
The rest of this guide will take you through "A Clean Installation" which is the best way to install Windows without any performance losses. A Clean Installation will result in the loss of data.
It is assumed that you have backed up all your personal data in the (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos folders) to an external hard drive and/or cloud storage.
If you want to backup your entire previous Windows Installation as system image see my guide Backing up your Windows Installation using Macrium Reflect.
Clean Installing Windows from Windows 10 Installation Media only FORMATS the system Drive it does not WIPE it. If you are wanting to sell your computer on 2nd hand or are suffering from a nasty Malware infection you should WIPE your system drive. See my guide Cleaning up a Drive: SSD and HDD.
If you are clean installing Windows 10 because the OS won't boot and you cannot Recover your Data follow my guide Data Recovery using Fedora.
Booting from Windows 10 TH2 Installation Media
Power down your computer. Disconnect any additional external hard drive(s) and USB storage in addition to any unnecessary USB peripherals such as printers/scanners.
Insert your Windows 10 TH2 Bootable USB.
If you haven't enabled a UEFI Boot with Secure Boot and have an SMBIOS version of 2.7 or later or enabled a UEFI Boot and have an SMBIOS of version 2.6 where a UEFI Boot is supported, see my dedicated UEFI BIOS guide which instructs on enabling these technologies and troubleshooting if you can't Boot from your Windows 10 USB Flash Drive.
Power on your Dell and quickly hold down F12 to Enter the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu. For other OEMs you may have to use alternatively keys such as [Esc] or [F1], [F12].
Press the ↓ arrow and select your Windows 10 Recovery USB Flash Drive and press [Enter]
The Windows 10 TH2 Setup Part 1: Language Options
You will be presented with a black screen.
Select, Language (this is locked to the .iso you decided to Download), Time and Currency Format and Keyboard or Input Method. In this example I select proper English…
When you have made your selection select next:
Select Install Now:
The setup will start:
The Windows 10 TH2 Setup Part 2: The Product Key
If you have an UEFI OEM SLP key it should automatically be input, dictating the Edition and taking you straight to the license agreement screen.
Unfortunately if you have an UEFI OEM SLP key and you install the wrong Edition (e.g. if you are using the Windows 10 .iso instead of the Windows 10 Single Language .iso for a Windows 10 Single Language OEM SLP key) it will take you to the input your product key screen and you won't even be informed that you have a key for a different Edition.
If the system is a Windows 10 Edition Device there is No Need to Enter the Product Key Ever Again as the Windows 10 Edition Device will Automatically Reactivate Online*. Note all systems upgraded via the Windows Insider Preview Build 10130 are Windows 10 Pro Devices. To save time simply select "I don't have a Product Key".
* This automatically reactivation won't occur if you install the wrong Edition.
If you are installing Windows 10 with a Windows 7 OEM key, Windows 7 Retail Key, Windows 8.1 Retail Key, Windows 10 Retail key, Windows 10 Education Key, Windows 7 OEM Commerical System Builder, Windows 8.1 OEM Commerical System Builder or Windows 10 OEM Commerical System Builder for the first time only (i.e. on a Device that has never had Windows 10 Edition installed and activated) you will need to enter the 25 digit product key.
If you are using one of the multi Edition .isos ensure that you select the correct Edition.
The Windows 10 TH2 Setup Part 3: Drive Options
Read the license agreement, check “I accept these terms” and then select next:
On the next screen you will be given the option to “Upgrade” or “Clean Reinstall”.
To Clean Reinstall select Custom. The following steps will result in loss of data so cancel the installation and backup your data to an external hard drive or cloud storage if you haven’t already done so. I never recommend Upgrade installs.
In the next screen you should be shown your drive(s). If you don’t and have a blank screen as shown you will need to select Load Driver… The need to load a driver for a Windows 10 Installation is however very rare as Windows 10 Installation Media is kept up to date and hence covers most hardware. For more details see Preparing and Loading Preinstallation SATA Drivers.
It is advised to delete all partitions on the drive. This includes any old Recovery Partitions which will no longer work after A Clean Windows 10 Installation or a Windows OS Upgrade. I will demonstrate a UEFI install on a 1 TB HSSD in an OptiPlex 7010. This lists the single internal SSD as Drive 0. The drive has an old Windows 10 install.
In most cases you will have a single Drive 0. Select the top partition, then select delete and then select OK at the warning. Repeat this for all partitions one by one until your system looks like this:
If you have multiple drive(s) you will see Drive 0, Drive 1 and Drive 2…. and you will need to pick the drive you wish to install Windows on. Obviously don't delete partitions on Drives you wish to remain as Data Drives.
Windows will begin to install and depending on your hardware may take some time to go through all the steps:
When its finished you will be warned about a restart. Select restart now or wait 10 seconds:
The Windows 10 TH2 Setup Part 4: Account and End of Setup
Your computer will restart and Windows will take some time to get your devices ready.
The setup will restart:
Note if you are going to sell or hand down your Windows 10 Device, you can force shut it down here and remove the Windows 10 Installation USB…. The new owner can continue with the setup.
If you are connected to an ethernet or offline the next few screens won’t show. Select your wireless network:
Input your wireless password and select next:
Select customise settings and press “next” once you’ve made your desired selection on each page or use the express settings:
Next select “I own it” for a home PC or “My organisation” for a work PC:
For “I Own It” sign in with a Microsoft Account (recommended by Microsoft so you can use all of Microsoft’s services in particular OneDrive).
Alternatively skip this step and sign in with a local account (recommended if you want to make a pseudo-Factory image with Dell Backup and Recovery without your Microsoft Account login details). A Local Account can later be converted to a Microsoft Account:
The PC will configure the last stages and install Apps (which now work as Windows):
You should now be in the Windows 10 Desktop:
Installing System Drivers
Windows 10 has many, many drivers inbuilt particularly for Intel hardware. Windows 10 gives basic functionality for most Network Integrated Controllers (NIC) and wireless cards.
For drivers Windows 10 doesn't have inbuilt it often obtains them automatically via Windows Update. Let me give an example. Here is an OptiPlex 7010 and here is a look at its Device Manager with a Windows 10 Clean Install. You can see that without doing anything after a few minutes all the system drivers are automatically installed… Pretty impressive!!!
There are some driver issues however…
Intel Management Engine Interface
One of the most common ones is the Intel Management Engine Interface driver that Windows 10 installs is old version 188.8.131.527 and this causes a back screen when coming out of sleep and an incorrect shutdown often draining the system battery. This effects almost every system that has Intel hardware and an SMBIOS version of 2.6 or later.
To check the version right click the start button and then left click Device Manager. Expand system Devices and right click Intel Management Engine Interface. Then select properties. In the dialogue box left click the driver tab. Check the version:
The latest version of Intel Management Engine Interface can be downloaded from Intel here.
First right click the download and then select extract:
You want to go to the ME_SW_MSI folder and then to the production subfolder. You then want to launch the .exe and install as normal:
You can then once again check the version installed in the Device Manager:
There have also been Touchpad issues reported since the release of Windows 8 which seem to carry through onto Windows 10. This can be resolved by a forced installation of one of the newer drivers via the Device Manager follow my guide Dell Touchpad Drivers.
Some have been reporting some instability with inbuilt wireless card drivers. For convenience I've listed Dell Wireless Cards by hardware IDs meaning I have some newer Windows 10 drivers in many cases ewer than Dell will list on your Drivers and Downloads page.See my guide Dell Wireless Cards.
You may wish to visit the Downloads.Dell.com page for your system and install Dell Quickset if listed.
I've found systems with the Intel AMT SOL/LMS, Ricoh Card Reader or Free Fall Sensor require the Windows 7/8.1 driver to be installed.
Checking the New Edition of Windows 10 and Activation Status
Right click the Start button and select system:
Check your Windows Edition at the top and ensure that Windows is activated to the bottom. Note the Product ID may change slightly from the original install but Windows should be activated…
Press [Windows] and [ r ] and type in winver:
This will bring up the Windows 10 version 1511 (Build 10586). 1511 meaning November 2015.
Windows 10 Home → Windows 10 Pro
If you have a Windows 10 Home (Windows 8 Home, Windows 8.1 Home, Windows 8.1 Home with Bing or Windows 10 Home) compatible UEFI BIOS embedded SLP key then installation media will automatically input the UEFI BIOS embedded SLP key and proceed with the installation of Windows 10 Home. This will make your system a Windows 10 Home Device…
For those who have made their system a Windows 10 Pro Device (e.g. by use of the Insider Build 10130) one will have to change the product key to the generic Pro product key. To do this right click start and select system:
Then select "Change Product Key":
Accept the UAC prompt:
Input the following Windows 10 Pro generic product key:
Alternatively use your own Windows 10 Pro Key if you've purchase it.
Then select Start Upgrade:
Continue with the Pro install
When its done Windows will restart twice and configure the update:
You will now reach the Windows 10 Pro TH2 Desktop. Right click the Start button and select System:
Windows 10 Pro TH2 will automatically reactivate on a Windows 10 Pro Device: