YOU CANNOT CLEAN INSTALL INITIALLY OTHERWISE YOU PASS UP YOUR FREE UPGRADE
UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10 VIA WINDOWS UPDATE OR BEGINNING THE WINDOWS 10 SETUP WITHIN THE WINDOWS 10 DESKTOP. THIS WILL REGISTER YOUR DEVICE AS A WINDOWS 10 DEVICE AND YOU MAY THEN CREATE A RECOVERY DRIVE AND CLEAN INSTALL.
From my extensive testing of the new Microsoft Product Testing introduced into Microsoft Windows 10 RTM I can tell you the following:
Direct clean installation from Windows 10 Installation Media, skipping product key twice or using the generic key leads to an unactivated product.
Using the .iso to upgrade from the Windows Desktop will only allow activated versions of Windows to release the license agreement screen. This only allows Activated versions of Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Insider 10130.
For Windows Insiders Windows 10130 is then updated to Windows 10162 via Windows Update and this is updated via Windows Update to Windows 10240 (RTM) .
Once the initial upgrade to Windows 10240 is complete the device is registered to Microsoft as a Windows 10 Device.
Once a device is registered, you may create a Recovery Drive and Clean Install.
The Recovery Drive may be used on other devices but you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation issues if the device isn't initially upgraded via Windows Update and Registered as a Windows 10 10240 RTM device.
The product activation is tied to the device. You can reinstall using a different Microsoft Account or Local Account and the device will activate.
You may change minor hardware such as a SSD/HDD and clean install. I changed from a SSD to HDD for a quick test and Microsoft Product Activation was applied.
It seems Windows Insiders with Build 10130 will be passed as eligible to reach Windows 10 RTM even those who lacked a Windows 7/8.1 Base license. Those who look to join the Windows 10 Insider program after the Windows 10130 .isos have been removed will not be able to install and activate Windows 10 Insider 10240 RTM.
Windows 10 Build 10240 should be offered via Windows Update for Windows Insiders follow the instructions here:
Windows Insiders may leave the Windows Insider Program once on Windows 10 RTM as demonstrated.
There is no expiry date. no watermark on the desktop and it says Windows 10 Pro in System. The EULA does not mention prerelease software.
After the Windows 10 Upgrade via the Store you may use the inbuilt features to create a Recovery Drive which can be used to clean install Windows 10 Build 10240. The Recovery Drive can be used to install Windows 10 Pro RTM on another Device so appears to be generic Windows Installation Media Locked to an Edition but if the device has never been updated to Windows 10240 via Windows Update you will encounter Microsoft Product Activation Issues and be prompted to buy Windows 10. I tested a Recovery Drive created on a Windows 10 Build 10240 VM on a Latitude D820 with Windows 10162 and encountered the Microsoft Product Activation issues. See here for details:
It seems like Windows Insiders will be offered Windows 10 product keys possibly through an updated Microsoft Store and when Windows 10 RTM comes out, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users will be offered product keys via the Get Windows 10 App.
Note I also tested the ability to move documents, pictures, music and videos to another drive it seems to not work correctly:
An easy way to save documents, music, pictures and videos to a secondary Data HDD by default.
They also let you move Apps whether they mean only Metro Apps or other Applications I'm not sure yet. I'll need to test it. Unfortunately theres no option to move the downloads folder, hopefully this will come soon.
Select Start and then select the button at the top to expand the start menu. Select settings.
If you have Windows Updates enabled for your Windows 7 or 8.1 installation you will get the following notification in your notification area.
Notes for testing: Test an Enterprise or Volume License to see if this notification is given (these are not eligible for free upgrades). At current Windows 10 Insiders at build 10130 are not given such a notification.
It will give you the following information on the free upgrade to Windows 10.
You can enter the details of your email address (Microsoft Account) to reserve your free upgrade.
Looking around there are rumours that Windows 10 will be released/forced through Windows Update. This concept is beginning to form some concern on the Dell community especially with the Windows 7 OEM userbase. Forcing the update this way will likely cause a small to large fraction of systems to become non-bootable. It will also break the functionality of most Windows 7 OEM Recovery Partitions. A larger fraction of systems will have reduced performance as its an upgrade.
Since Microsoft have broke the Digital River .isos and replaced them with a miserable non-functional Microsoft Software Recovery Tool which deliberately rejects the OEM license. OEM users will not be able to Reinstall Windows 7 to perform a Double Reinstall to get to Windows 10. Moreover it will be increasing difficult to procure installation from OEMs such as Dell (as Microsoft will stop OEMs from being able to provide installation media) and the bulk of these systems will be outwith the warranty period. It is also a huge waste of time enforcing a double installation both for Dell and the end customer. Users should not have to contact Dell to get Windows 7 installation media just to be able to download >200 updates and then download Windows 10.
I am sceptical Microsoft will enforce something highly flawed like this as they forced the "free" update to Windows 8.1 via the Microsoft Store. It took them a two years to make a working downloader for Windows 8 which could be used with the OEM license; the Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool. This tool still has flaws but a tool of at least its capability should have been made available on Windows 8.0 Release Date. This tool still does not support Windows 8.1 with Bing. These users will be stuck in the same scenario should Microsoft enforce a double installation.
Scenario 2: "A Key for a Key"
If users have to input their 25 digit Windows 7 product key from their COA. In theory this would work.
In practice however if this is the only method of installation for the free upgrade then there is a problem for a large fraction of the Windows 7 OEM userbase. Microsoft provided OEMs such as Dell with COAs of terrible print quality. This didn't matter for Windows 7 OEM as OEM installation media input a generic Dell OEM SLP key.
I got a new Dell Inspiron 7347 and I upgraded my XPS 8300 to have 4 USB 3.0 ports. I also purchased a StarTech USB 3.0 HD Video Capture Device. This has allowed me to record the Dell UEFI BIOS:
Download Windows 8.1 .iso
Testing with a UEFI BIOS with SecureBoot enabled and with the Dell UEFI BIOS SLP key.
Creation of Recovery Media with Dell Backup and Recovery:
Both these videos are very similar. They instruct in upgrading to the latest version of Dell Backup and Recovery, making the recovery media and checking that it boots in a UEFI BIOS with Secure Boot enabled. They also play around a bit in Disk Management to help users understand whats going on.
This is a test from a 500 GB SHDD to a 250 GB SSD and worked incredibly well. A similar test with a Factory USB Flash Drive worked just as well. The process was identical so I won't make a second video on that. I may however make one restoring from the factory internal partition which I tested with the SSD.
This tool is designed to work with only Retail licenses and in my testing it doesn't even work with these. They have deliberately forced the input of a product key deliberately blocking out the Windows 7 OEM userbase. This has done a huge disservice to the Windows 7 userbase. In particular as many people will need to Reinstall their Windows 7 OEM licenses in order to qualify for their free upgrade to Windows 10 and it takes some time to procure installation media from OEMs. The .isos should be available without entry of a product key for the first year of Windows 10 release, so the OEM userbase can safely migrate.
Windows Vista can essentially be thought of as End of Life albeit 2 years prematurely.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 2,600,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 112 days for that many people to see it.
I'm sure "No we don't have any plans to make ISO images available outside of MSDN/Technet subscriptions" by Brandon LeBlanc on 18 October 2013 was amongst the worst promotional material for any Microsoft product.
I'd been arguing the case for the need for the .iso downloads since 2010 on Dell IdeaStorm. It only got worse with Windows 8.0 and with Windows 8.1 I'd never such an awful deployment of a service pack by forcing it through a buggy store. The number of issues with the update made a number of workarounds previously documented here very popular. Unsurprisingly there was a large user backlash and endless frustration over this stupid decision. I'm thankful to all users who left negative feedback here and elsewhere even if it resulted with my ban on Microsoft Answers, SevenForums and EightForums.
Finally only after a year or two (including the lack of a Windows 8.0 OEM .iso) Microsoft have looked to common sense and released a downloader which works as expected.
The Windows Installation Media Creation Tool allows for selection of:
Windows 8.1 Version
The Windows Installation Media Creation Tool importantly does not ask for a product key, allowing you to download the .iso on any Windows computer.
The Windows Installation Media Creation Tool also checks that the downloaded .iso is okay which should reduce the errors users previously encountered when trying to install with media created from incomplete downloads.
Finally the Windows 8.1 with Update 1 .iso accepts both Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.1 product keys during installation regardless whether OEM or retail:
Windows 8.1 (Home) .iso will accept Windows 8.1 (Home) Product Keys and Windows 8.0 (Home) Product Keys.
Windows 8.1 Professional .iso will accept Windows 8.1 Professional Product Keys and Windows 8.0 Professional Product Keys
Windows 8.1 Single Language .iso will accept Windows 8.0 Single Language and Windows 8.1 Single Language Product Keys
I have multiple confirmations of the new media creation tool .isos working on the OEM license although some cases users used RWEverything and change key for product activation afterwards.
Microsoft have acknowledged the feedback left here and many other places on the many difficulties their previous deployment options (or lack of options) had on the end user. From my own guides these were:
I'd been hassled by a subset of Microsoft MVPs for providing this guide however its a corner stone of the Windows Reinstallation Guide and one of the main reasons I designate this guide as "unofficial".
I have therefore compiled together complete information including download links to Windows Vista and Windows 7 Reinstallation media. This includes the OEM system locked preinstallation activation mechanism found in the Dell Windows Vista Reinstallation DVDs and Dell Windows 7 Reinstallation DVDs. These are now incorporated into the Windows Reinstallation Guide. For full instructions including the download links see: