This guide is obsolete as a newer build of Windows 10 has been released. See Windows OEM Downloads and FAQs for the newer guide.
DellWindowsReinstallationGuide is written and maintained by Philip Yip. Scotland , Great Britain (GB), , United Kingdom (UK) .
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Prerequisites – Installation Media
You have created a Windows 10 Version 1709 Bootable USB. For more details see Creating a Windows 10 Bootable USB for a UEFI BIOS within Windows.
I will use a Windows 10 Version 1703 English (UK)/English (International) Bootable USB as an example. Installation is however identical for Windows 10 Version 1709.
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:
Ensure you have selected your preferred Language, Time and Currency Format and Keyboard or Input method. Then select next:
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
Despite what Microsoft marketing stated Windows 7 OEM and Windows 8.x OEM keys still work with Windows 10 RS2 installation media as Windows 10 OEM keys. For more details see Windows 7 OEM and Windows 8.x OEM Keys Still Activate Windows 10 OEM).
If your system came with a Windows 10 OEM or Windows 8.x OEM your product key is embedded in the systems UEFI BIOS (for more details see my guide Your OEM Product Key). Windows 10 RS2 Installation Media is Multi-Edition and will automatically input your Product Key during installation selecting the correct Edition of Windows 10 to install and taking you to the license agreement screen.
If you have a Windows 7 OEM key printed on the COA or a Retail Windows 7/8.x/10 key then Windows 10 RS2 media will search but won't find a Product Key embedded in the UEFI BIOS.
If you have the key to hand you can input it here and then the correct Edition of Windows 10 to install will be selected.
Alternatively to save time you can select "I don't have a Product Key" and then select your Edition of Windows 10:
Note: Be careful here if you select the wrong Edition here you will need to start other and reinstall the correct Edition or alternatively purchase a new Product Key to activate the Edition you've installed.
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.
If your system has Windows 10 Pro/Home previously installed and activated then its system hardware profile (motherboard details) have been submitted to a Microsoft Product Activation server. Upon this Clean Reinstallation the system hardware profile will be resubmitted to the Microsoft Product Activation server and as your system is known as a Windows 10 Pro/Home Device the system will be given the green light for Product Reactivation. If alternatively your system has never had an activated version of Windows 10 installed you will be able to manually enter the Product Key post-installation for the initial activation.
Once you have selected your Edition of Windows 10 select Next
The Windows 10 Version 1703 .iso has 4 Editions:
The Windows 10 Version 1709 .iso has 9 Editions:
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:
Next you'll be asked to select your keyboard layout, select it and select yes:
You'll then be asked if you wish to select another keyboard layout. Assuming you don't want another keyboard layout select skip:
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 network:
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:
You'll be asked whether you want to setup a pin for convenience. Select set a pin:
Input your pin and confirm it then select ok:
Windows will apply the pin to your Microsoft Account login: You'll be asked whether or not you want to Enable Cortana:You'll then be presented with the privacy settings. Take the time to read through these settings and apply or disable according to your own preferences. Then select Accept:
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:
Enter your password and then select next:
Confirm your password and then select next:
Confirm your password and then select next:
The Windows Setup: Part 6 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
Right click the start button and select settings:
If settings is normal then Windows is activated:
If on the other hand Windows is not Activate then settings will be watermarked:
If Windows isn't Activated select Update & Security:
Then select Change 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:
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 Management Engine Interface
- 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 1709 and Version 1703 will have even more native support.
1. Intel Management Engine Interface
Windows 10 Version 1709 has an updated Intel Management Engine Interface Driver (126.96.36.1999) which suffices in most cases.
Windows 10 (Version 1703 and earlier) installs an old driver version 188.8.131.527 that is buggy and results in a black 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:
2. Intel Rapid Storage Technology Applications – Under SATA Drives and/or CPU
Another common issue with Windows 10 is 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 184.108.40.2068.
Intel Rapid Storage Technology is available to download from Intel download the version that matches your hardware ID.
220.127.116.111 (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)
18.104.22.1681 (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)
22.214.171.1248 (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)
126.96.36.1991 (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)
188.8.131.523 (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)
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.