Windows 10 (OEM and Retail)

Downloading a Windows 10 ISO and Creating a UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive and Clean Installing on a Dell PC

In this guide I will go through the clean installation of Windows 10 on a Dell OptiPlex 7050 which is equipped with a 7th Intel Generation Processor. I will go through the UEFI BIOS Settings, Creating Installation Media, performing a Secure Data Wipe, performing a Clean Installation and installing Dell System Drivers.

Table of contents

  1. Downloading a Windows 10 ISO and Creating a UEFI Bootable USB Flash Drive and Clean Installing on a Dell PC
    1. Video
      1. OEM Product Keys
        1. The One Year Free Upgrade
          1. Recommended System Requirements
            1. Processor Requirements
              1. Older Devices
                1. Newer Devices
                2. MSInfo32 and SMBIOS Version
                  1. SMBIOS <2.5
                    1. SMBIOS 2.5 and 2.6 (1st and 2nd Gen Intel Processors)
                      1. SMBIOS 2.7 and 2.8 (3rd and 4th Gen Intel Processors)
                        1. SMBIOS 2.9 (5th Gen Intel Processor)
                          1. SMBIOS 3.0 (6th and 7th Gen Intel Processors)
                            1. SMBIOS 3.1 (8th Gen and 9th Intel Processors)
                              1. SMBIOS ≥3.2 (10th Gen and 11th Intel Processors)
                            2. UEFI BIOS
                              1. UEFI BIOS Overview
                                1. Storage Controller (SATA Operation)
                                  1. UEFI Boot Sequence and Secure Boot
                                    1. Trusted Platform Module Security
                                      1. Processor Performance Technologies
                                        1. Processor Virtualization Technologies
                                        2. Windows 10 Installation Media
                                          1. Media Creation Tool vs Direct Download Links
                                            1. The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
                                              1. Intel Rapid Storage Technology Controller Drivers
                                                1. Dell (Command) Update
                                                  1. Dell UEFI BIOS Update
                                                  2. Updating the Dell UEFI BIOS
                                                    1. Removing Old Boot Entries and Dell Data Wipe
                                                      1. Booting from a Windows 10 USB
                                                        1. Windows 10 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Product Key
                                                          1. Loading Storage Controller Drivers
                                                          2. Windows 10 Out of the Box Experience (OOBE)
                                                            1. Regional Settings
                                                              1. Connect to the Internet
                                                                1. User Account Setup
                                                                  1. Privacy Settings
                                                                  2. OneDrive
                                                                    1. Cortana
                                                                      1. Computer Name
                                                                        1. Product Activation
                                                                          1. Windows Update
                                                                            1. Dell Update
                                                                              1. Dell Optional Applications
                                                                                1. Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application
                                                                                  1. Thunderbolt
                                                                                    1. Intel Processor Power Management Utility and Dell Power Manager
                                                                                      1. Network Applications
                                                                                      2. Office
                                                                                        1. Office 365
                                                                                          1. Free Office
                                                                                            1. Libre Office
                                                                                            2. Chromium Browser
                                                                                              1. Google Chrome
                                                                                                1. Microsoft Edge
                                                                                                2. Productivity Settings
                                                                                                  1. Media Creation Tool (All Versions)
                                                                                                    1. Using Gather OS State to Generate a Genuine Ticket
                                                                                                      One-Time
                                                                                                      Monthly

                                                                                                      This website is maintained by an individual and technology enthusiast, Philip Yip. Although I have been recognised as a Dell Community Rockstar and Microsoft MVP, I am affiliated with neither company. If you've found my tutorials helpful, please consider making a one-time small donation to offset the WordPress Premium Plan costs to host the website.

                                                                                                      This website is maintained by an individual and technology enthusiast, Philip Yip. Although I have been recognised as a Dell Community Rockstar and Microsoft MVP, I am affiliated with neither company. If you've found my tutorials helpful, please consider making a monthly small donation to offset the WordPress Premium Plan costs and the costs for buying computer hardware. I am also spending a considerable amount of time doing some programming courses (Python, C++, Qt and Arduino) and hope to write some more programming tutorials.

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                                                                                                      Video

                                                                                                      Note the videos were made for a Previous Build of Windows 10 but the procedure hasn't changed very much.

                                                                                                      OEM Product Keys

                                                                                                      Originally Microsoft marketed Windows 10 as a 1 Year Free Upgrade to any computer that is running Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. The time limit was originally associated with the Upgrade Only Product Activation Mechanism that was available in the first Mainstream Windows 10 Build released in July 2015. Microsoft quickly released the second Mainstream Windows 10 Build in November 2015 which addressed Windows Insider and End User Feedback regarding Product Activation. This new installation media recognises Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Keys as Windows 10 Keys.

                                                                                                      Windows 8.x OEM and Windows 10 OEM Product Keys are embedded in Dell OEM Devices that come preinstalled with Windows 8.x and Windows 10 respectively. Windows 10 Installation Media will automatically input these Product Keys taking you to the Windows License Agreement Screen Automatically.

                                                                                                      Windows 7 OEM Product Keys were typically printed on an external label affixed to the Device. These labels were originally prone to fading and therefore later shielded in a dedicated hatch which included the Service Tag, Regulatory Labels and COA.

                                                                                                      Windows 7 OEM Keys are only required one-time when Initially Upgrading a Windows 7 Device to Windows 10 via a Clean Install.

                                                                                                      • If a Device has had Windows 10 Installed via an Upgrade Install or the Windows 7 Product Key is input, its Device Details (Motherboard Details) will be registered with a Microsoft Product Activation Server.
                                                                                                      • After this initial activation, Windows 10 can be Clean Installed by skipping the Product Key and selecting the correct Windows 10 Edition. In the background the Devices details will be sent to the Microsoft Product Activation Server which will recognise the Device and give it the green light for Product Activation.
                                                                                                      • Note that the correct Edition is Windows 10 Home (for Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium OEM Licenses) and Windows Windows 10 Pro (for Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate OEM Licenses).

                                                                                                      If a Device has a Windows 7 Label that has faded and was never upgraded to Windows 10… We can use the GatherOSState Application found on the Windows 10 Bootable USB to Generate a Genuine Ticket which we can use for our Initial one-time Product Activation. This is the same Activation Mechanism used when an initial upgrade install is invoked. This is described in more detail at a section at the end of this guide.

                                                                                                      The One Year Free Upgrade

                                                                                                      The One Year Free Upgrade was a marketing ploy to entice as many users to upgrade as possible. None of the activation mechanisms for Windows 10 have changed.

                                                                                                      Windows 7 was released in 2009 and reached End of Life in 2020. Windows 10 was originally released in 2015 and will be supported until it reaches End of Life in 2025. Although Microsoft originally stated that any Device Capable of running Windows 7 or Windows 8.x could also run Windows 10… Now they only recommend using it on only on the more recent Devices, which have more capable hardware.

                                                                                                      Processor Requirements

                                                                                                      Recent Windows 10 Feature Updates have been optimised towards Devices with a 5th-9th Generation Intel Processor and a Fast Storage Device.

                                                                                                      Specifically Microsoft recommend only installing Windows 10 64 Bit on Devices with a 5th-9th Generation Intel processor (or AMD equivalent), equipped with a Fast Storage Device such as a >250 GB Solid State Drive and equipped with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM or superior. All these systems are equipped with a modern UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot and these technologies should be enabled in the UEFI BIOS Setup prior to Windows 10 Installation for optimal security and performance. For more details see:

                                                                                                      Older Devices

                                                                                                      The processor requirement for Windows 10 isn't as strict as the processor requirement for Windows 11… That being said the mileage of running Windows 10 on older Devices will vary… Many tutorials and YouTube videos will demonstrate running an older Windows 10 Build (such as Version 1709 or older) on an older Device stating that the performance is acceptable. However for more recent Windows 10 Builds (Version 1803 or later):

                                                                                                      • Devices with a slow 2nd-4th Generation Intel Processor will often lock up with 100 % CPU Usage.
                                                                                                      • Devices with <8 GB of DDR2 or DDR3 RAM will often lock up with 100 % Memory Usage.
                                                                                                      • And more commonly Devices with a slow Storage Device such as a Hard Drive lock up with 100 % Disk Usage.

                                                                                                      In these cases the Device essentially becomes unusable while Windows 10 is performing background tasks such as File Indexing, Searching for and Installing Windows Updates and running an Anti-Virus scan.

                                                                                                      These Devices will have performed better on Windows 10 Version 1709 however this older build has reached End of Life and is no longer supported.

                                                                                                      Newer Devices

                                                                                                      Devices with a 10th Generation Intel Processor or newer should be used with Windows 11 which has been further optimised towards more capable hardware.

                                                                                                      MSInfo32 and SMBIOS Version

                                                                                                      To get details about a Device that has Windows installed, we can use msinfo32. To get msinfo32, type in [ ⊞ ] and [ r ] to bring up the run dialog and type in:

                                                                                                      msinfo32

                                                                                                      The system model, processor, BIOS Version, SMBIOS Version, BIOS Mode and Secure Boot state should be listed:

                                                                                                      The Basic Input Output System (BIOS) Version is system specific and corresponds to the system model specific BIOS Version which will change when a BIOS Update is issued, this will be discussed in more detail later. The System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) corresponds to the technologies incorporated into the system at date of manufacturer.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS <2.5

                                                                                                      These Devices exceed 12 years old and in most cases have a processor that is below the system requirements required for all builds of Windows 10 64 Bit. This hardware should be considered at end of life.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS 2.5 and 2.6 (1st and 2nd Gen Intel Processors)

                                                                                                      These Devices exceed 10 years old and most of these Devices had a Legacy only BIOS or a prototype UEFI BIOS without Secure Boot. These Devices will not run any build of Windows 10 past Windows 10 Version 1709 very well and performance on Windows 10 Version 1709 will be borderline. This hardware should be considered at end of life.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS 2.7 and 2.8 (3rd and 4th Gen Intel Processors)

                                                                                                      Devices with a SMBIOS of 2.7 and 2.8 are early UEFI Systems. As they were early UEFI Systems, there were a lot of BIOS Updates for these models, as UEFI matured. The BIOS should be updated to the last version available for optimal stability. Note the BIOS Updates for these systems had to be ran via Windows or via a FreeDOS Bootable USB and could not be updated via the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu. These systems have 3rd-4th Generation Intel Processors and have an early implementation of Secure Boot. Recently there have been security vulnerability holes discovered in this early implementation of Secure Boot however Intel has ended the lifecycle of these devices and consequently they will never be patched. In this regard a safety net with a hole offers better protection than no safety net at all. As these devices no longer receive any support from Intel, Microsoft state there may be only limited support on these Devices for Windows 10.

                                                                                                      These Devices tend to have Windows 10 Drivers, although the drivers were designed for Windows 10 Version 1709, an older Build of Windows 10 which had lower System Requirements and these Devices were not tested with current Windows 10 Builds. Most of these Devices should continue to run the latest builds of Windows 10 with borderline performance despite not being supported if they have a Solid State Drive installed. These Devices will likely perform better running a Linux distribution such as Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS 2.9 (5th Gen Intel Processor)

                                                                                                      Devices with a SMBIOS of 2.9 have a 5th Generation Intel Processor which are supported by Intel and Microsoft to run Windows 10. Note the BIOS Updates for these systems had to be ran via Windows or via a FreeDOS Bootable USB and could not be updated via the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS 3.0 (6th and 7th Gen Intel Processors)

                                                                                                      Devices with a SMBIOS of 3.0 have a 6th-7th Generation Intel Processor which are supported by Intel and Microsoft to run Windows 10. They are not supported to run Windows 11.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS 3.1 (8th Gen and 9th Intel Processors)

                                                                                                      If the SMBIOS is 3.1 then your system typically has an 8th or 9th Generation Intel Processor. Microsoft will recommend running Windows 11 on your Device, although in some cases Windows 10 may perform slightly better on your Device.

                                                                                                      SMBIOS ≥3.2 (10th Gen and 11th Intel Processors)

                                                                                                      If the SMBIOS is 3.2 then your system typically has a 10th Generation Intel Processor or newer and Microsoft will recommend running Windows 11 opposed to Windows 10 as they have made some developments in Windows 11 optimised for your hardware which won't be available in Windows 10.

                                                                                                      UEFI BIOS

                                                                                                      This section will look at the technologies required in the UEFI BIOS Setup required for Windows 10.

                                                                                                      To enter the Dell UEFI BIOS power off your system and then power it up holding down [F2]:

                                                                                                      UEFI BIOS Overview

                                                                                                      To the top left your system model is stated. Dell use a 4 digit numeric designation QSGV where Q is the Quality (3 Entry, 5 Mid, 7 High), S (the Screen Size), G (the Generation 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0), V (the Variant of the model, if multiple models are made in the same generation e.g. an Intel and an AMD variant). In this case the model is an OptiPlex 7050 which has a High Quality 7, no screen size as it is a desktop designed for use with an external monitor 0, it is the 4th Generation OptiPlex under this naming convention 4 and is variant 0.

                                                                                                      At the top of the System Information tab.

                                                                                                      The date of manufacturer and BIOS Version will be stated. In this case 21st of September 2017 and BIOS Version 1.16.1.

                                                                                                      The 7 digit Service Tag will also be listed.

                                                                                                      At the bottom of the system information tab:

                                                                                                      The Processor Model will be listed. Intel use a designation which specifies the Quality (3 Entry, 5 Mid, 7 High and 9 Premium), Generation (2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and 11), SKU and in newer processors G indicates the Graphics version. The i5-7500T corresponds to a Mid Quality of 5, and a 7th Generation.

                                                                                                      This system also has onboard Intel Graphics and an Intel Wireless Card. It also has a Realtek Audio Controller. The system has a 500 GB NVMe SSD (M.2 Slot).

                                                                                                      Storage Controller (SATA Operation)

                                                                                                      Windows 10 should be installed on a 256 GB NVMe/SATA SSD or superior. It will not perform well on a legacy HDD unless it is configured with an Intel Optane Memory Module.

                                                                                                      These settings should not be modified until Windows 10 installation media is created as altering the settings will result in the current Operating System from Booting.

                                                                                                      The default SATA Operation on a Dell Computer is RAID On. RAID On will allow the Intel Processor to work with a single SSD/HDD offering better system performance over a single drive. It will also allow for multiple SSD/HDD configurations such as Intel Optane where an Intel Optane Memory Module (16-32 GB M.2) can be used as a cache drive for a large capacity SATA HDD or SSD. This SATA Operation will also allow later setup of a RAID configuration if two matching drives are installed. To configure Intel Optane or a RAID configuration you will need to install the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application after Windows is installed. Unfortunately Windows 10 Installation media may lack the storage controllers required for the RAID SATA Operation. These can however be loaded easily during the Windows 10 setup as demonstrated later.

                                                                                                      Windows 10 Installation Media natively drivers for the AHCI/NVMe SATA operation but this will result in a reduced performance.

                                                                                                      UEFI Boot Sequence and Secure Boot

                                                                                                      Windows 10 requires a UEFI Only Boot with Secure Boot Enabled. Secure Boot should be in Deployed Mode.

                                                                                                      These settings should not be modified until Windows 10 installation media is created as altering the settings will result in the current Operating System from Booting.

                                                                                                      Under Advanced Boot Options. Enable Legacy Option ROMs and Enable Attempt Legacy Boot should be Disabled.

                                                                                                      Under Secure Boot Enable, Secure Boot Enable should be Enabled:

                                                                                                      The Boot Sequence should be UEFI:

                                                                                                      Trusted Platform Module Security

                                                                                                      Under TPM 2.0 Security, the TPM 2.0 should be Enabled. This feature at current has limited support in Windows 10 and is only really used for Device Drive Encryption by Bitlocker. It is a more significant Security setting for windows 11:

                                                                                                      Note if your SMBIOS is 3.0 and you are running a 6th-8th Generation Intel Processor, you may see TPM 1.2 Security instead of TPM 2.0 Security. This was used only for a Legacy Security Application and should be updated to Version 2.0. For more details see:

                                                                                                      Processor Performance Technologies

                                                                                                      The following Processor Performance Technologies should be Enabled:

                                                                                                      Processor Virtualization Technologies

                                                                                                      The following Processor Virtualization Technologies should be Enabled:

                                                                                                      Windows 10 Installation Media

                                                                                                      There are 3 options on the Windows 10 Download Page (2 Options Display on a Windows 10 PC and the third option is hidden).

                                                                                                      Note that the Windows 10 Software Download Page only offers the latest Mainstream Build of Windows 10 which is recommended in 99.99 % of cases. I will leave some remarks on Previous Builds at a Section at the Bottom of this Guide.

                                                                                                      The first one is the Windows Installation Assistant which is a Windows Application that can be used for an in place upgrade on a PC with an older Build of Windows 10 or a PC that meets Windows 10 minimum system requirements and runs Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Note that this usually results in slightly worse performance and this guide focuses on a clean installation.

                                                                                                      The second option is the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool which is a Windows Application that can be used to easily create a Windows 10 Bootable USB directly.

                                                                                                      It contains the most commonly used OEM Editions used by Home Users and Small Business Users:

                                                                                                      The third option is the Direct Download ISO which are hidden by default on a Windows PC (but can be accessed by emulating another Device in your Browser) and a Linux PC.

                                                                                                      The Direct Download ISO has the additional Pro Education Editions designed for Educational Institutions such as Schools, Universities and Libraries. It also has the Workstation Editions designed for high end workstations such as the Dell Precision models which are used for high end research applications which require more computing power.

                                                                                                      Because this ISO has more Editions, it contains an install.wim that exceeds 4.0 GB. 4.0 GB is the upper file size for the FAT32 File System and a FAT32 partition is required to pass Secure Boot. A number of additional steps are required to make a Bootable USB with a FAT32 Boot Partition and a NTFS Install Partition to Boot on a Dell System with Secure Boot and Install Windows 10 respectively which is more advanced. This is out of scope this guide and covered in separate guides for both Windows and Linux:

                                                                                                      Because it is a more advanced procedure, on Windows we can also slipstream the Dell Driver Pack create Windows 10 Installation Media which has better Out of the Box Support for our Dell System.

                                                                                                      The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

                                                                                                      Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and launch the application:

                                                                                                      Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Accept the License Agreement:

                                                                                                      Select Create Installation Media:

                                                                                                      Check the Language is correct and the Architecture is 64 Bit, if these are wrong uncheck "Use Recommended Options for this PC":

                                                                                                      Select your Language from the drop down menu and select the Architecture (64 Bit) from the dropdown menu:

                                                                                                      Select USB Flash Drive:

                                                                                                      Unfortunately in the next screen, I've had difficulties because the Media Creation Tool looks for partitions and not USB Flash Drives directly. It does not find a Drive with no partitions on it and does not work correctly with a Drive that has multiple partitions:

                                                                                                      I find it better to use DiskPart to make a USB Flash Drive that has a GPT Partition Table and a Single FAT32 Partition. Insert a 16-32 GB USB Flash Drive and right click the Start Button and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) and then Accept the User Account Control. Input the following commands (update line 3 in accordance to the disk number of your USB Flash Drive, you can tell this by the disks listed in the line above and the capacity of each drive):

                                                                                                      diskpart
                                                                                                      list disk
                                                                                                      select disk 1
                                                                                                      clean
                                                                                                      convert GPT
                                                                                                      create partition primary
                                                                                                      list partition
                                                                                                      select partition 1
                                                                                                      format fs=FAT32 quick label="USB"

                                                                                                      Select Refresh Drive List and now your USB Flash Drive should display and you can select it and select Next:

                                                                                                      The Windows 10 Media Creation Tool will Download Windows 10 Setup Files, Verify their file integrity and then create a Bootable USB from them:

                                                                                                      When it's finished, you will be informed your USB flash drive is ready select Finish:

                                                                                                      We can quickly browse the contents of the Bootable USB:

                                                                                                      It has a sources folder:

                                                                                                      This contains a boot.wim and an install.esd


                                                                                                      Intel Rapid Storage Technology Controller Drivers

                                                                                                      The boot.wim lacks the required Storage Controllers to recognise the NVMe SSD when the SATA Operation is set to RAID and Intel VMD is configured. To resolve this we need to add a folder containing the F6 Floppy Drivers to our Bootable USB. These drivers are called F6 Floppy Drivers because they were originally loaded via Floppy Disk by pressing F6 during the Windows XP Setup. For Windows 10 we don't need to press F6 or use a Floppy Disk.

                                                                                                      The F6 Floppy Drivers can be downloaded from Dell Drivers and Downloads. Drivers are also available from Intel however they recommend using model specific drivers from your OEM when available.

                                                                                                      Note these drivers must be extracted to a folder in order for the Windows Setup to load them. They cannot be packaged in an Windows .exe or .zip folder.

                                                                                                      Select your System Model and manually find drivers:

                                                                                                      Select Windows 10 and Serial ATA. Look for Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver (and Application):

                                                                                                      Double click the Downloaded .exe:

                                                                                                      Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Select Extract:

                                                                                                      Create a folder in Downloads called SATA:

                                                                                                      Select View Folder and then Close:

                                                                                                      Look at the folders contents. It may a subfolder containing the earliest Windows Build supported by the driver however eventually you should find a F6 folder:

                                                                                                      Copy and paste it to your Windows 10 USB Flash Drive. Copy and paste the Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application also:

                                                                                                      There may be some additional sub-folders, in my case I get to f6flpy-x64. The extracted drivers should however have a similar form to below:

                                                                                                      Dell (Command) Update

                                                                                                      Dell Update and Dell Command Update are virtually the same Application… The only difference between both these Applications is Business Models have a Deploy Driver Pack and Dell Command Update can be instructed to Download and Install this Driver Pack before it Searches for Additional Drivers.

                                                                                                      We can download the latest version of Dell Update or Dell Command Update from the Dell Drivers and Downloads Page and save this application onto our USB Flash Drive for installation once Windows is installed. The latest version of Dell Command Update can also be installed on a fresh Windows installation using the Windows Command Line Package Tool winget which will be covered in more detail later.

                                                                                                      On a Business Model, you may need to instead change the Category to System Management and instead Download Dell Command Update:

                                                                                                      Save this to your USB Flash Drive:

                                                                                                      Dell UEFI BIOS Update

                                                                                                      Change the category to (UEFI) BIOS and download the latest (UEFI) BIOS Update for your model:

                                                                                                      Save this on your USB Flash Drive:

                                                                                                      We now have all we need to install Windows 10.

                                                                                                      Updating the Dell UEFI BIOS

                                                                                                      Before installing Windows 10 we want to make sure that our (UEFI) BIOS is at the latest version as it may contain some fixes which facilitate the Windows 10 Installation.

                                                                                                      Power up your Dell and press [F12] to get to the UEFI BIOS Boot Menu:

                                                                                                      Select (UEFI) BIOS Flash update:

                                                                                                      Select Browse:

                                                                                                      Select FS0: (default) and hen select your (UEFI) BIOS Update and OK:

                                                                                                      If the (UEFI) BIOS Update is compatible with your model, you will be able to select Begin Flash Update:

                                                                                                      Select Yes:

                                                                                                      Your Computer will reboot and your UEFI BIOS will Update:

                                                                                                      Removing Old Boot Entries and Dell Data Wipe

                                                                                                      Power off your Dell. To enter the (UEFI) BIOS Setup power up your Dell and press [F2]:

                                                                                                      Select the Boot Sequence tab to the left and uncheck your USB Flash Drive:

                                                                                                      Select Delete Boot Option to remove the old Boot Entries (in this case corresponding to an old Windows and an old Ubuntu install):

                                                                                                      Now only your Windows 10 Bootable USB should be listed and it should be checked:

                                                                                                      To the left hand side select Data Wipe. Check Wipe on Next Boot:

                                                                                                      Select OK:

                                                                                                      Select No (to not Cancel):

                                                                                                      Select Apply:

                                                                                                      Select OK:

                                                                                                      Select Exit:

                                                                                                      Your Computer will reboot, taking you through the Dell DataWipe Routine:

                                                                                                      Select Continue:

                                                                                                      Select Erase:

                                                                                                      The Erase routine should be done in a couple of minutes for a system with only NVMe SSD and SATA SSDs. If the system has a SATA HDD it may take several hours:

                                                                                                      Booting from a Windows 10 USB

                                                                                                      Power off your Dell. Power it up and press [F2] to get to the Dell (UEFI) BIOS Boot Menu:

                                                                                                      To the top the Boot Mode should be set to UEFI and Secure Boot should be On:

                                                                                                      In the next screen you will be asked for your language options with the language to install being shown for information purpose matching the language you selected when you used the Media Creation Tool. The Time and Currency Format and Keyboard Layout should be amended to your own preferences. Once you have made your selection, select Next:

                                                                                                      Windows 10 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Product Key

                                                                                                      Select Install Now:

                                                                                                      You will see an hourglass display, the Windows Installation Media is searching your motherboard for an embedded Windows 10 or Windows 11 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Product Key.

                                                                                                      If it finds one, the Edition will be selected from this OEM Product Key and you will be taken straight to the License Agreement Screen:

                                                                                                      Failure to find an OEM Embedded Product Key will prompt you to enter a Windows 7 OEM Product Key or Windows 7, 8.1, 10 Retail Key which will select your Edition.

                                                                                                      As it is a nuisance locating and inputting a 25 digit retail product key this is designed mainly for first time use. If a Retail License has previously been activated on the system the system hardware is registered with a Microsoft Product Activation Server. You can select I don't have a Product Key and then select your Edition from the Dropdown List. When connected to the internet, in the background your system details will be resubmitted to the Microsoft Product Activation Server which will recognise your system and give it the green light for Product Activation:

                                                                                                      Select Windows 10 Home for a Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium OEM License and select Windows 10 Pro for a Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate OEM License:

                                                                                                      Loading Storage Controller Drivers

                                                                                                      To begin a Clean Install select Custom: Install Windows Only (advanced):

                                                                                                      If the boot.wim of the installation media contains the storage drivers for your system it will recognise the internal NVMe SSD otherwise as in this case no drive will be listed. Select Load Driver:

                                                                                                      Select Browse:

                                                                                                      Select your Windows 10 Bootable USB, then your F6 subfolder and navigate directly to the subfolder with the F6flpy drivers. Select OK:

                                                                                                      Hide All Drivers Incompatible with your Hardware should be checked showing only a list of compatible drivers. Select all of these and then next:

                                                                                                      Your NVMe SSD should now display. Highlight Disk 1 Unallocated Space and select Next.

                                                                                                      Note: if you have not performed a Dell Data Wipe. You will need to select each old partition (including old Recovery Partitions) one by one and select Delete until your list of partitions looks similar to below.

                                                                                                      The Windows setup will copy all the Windows setup files from the install.esd to your NVMe SSD and begin to install Features:

                                                                                                      You will be informed the installation will restart in 10 seconds. Select Restart Now:

                                                                                                      Windows 10 Out of the Box Experience (OOBE)

                                                                                                      You should see the Dell OEM logo and then be taken to the Windows Out of the Box Experience (OOBE).

                                                                                                      Note: If you see a screen with a purple background your system has rebooted to the Windows 10 Bootable USB instead of the Windows 10 Installation on your NVMe SSD/SATA SSD/SATA HDD. Remove the Bootable USB and Exit the Windows Setup in this case, which should result in your computer rebooting and taking you to the Windows OOBE.

                                                                                                      Regional Settings

                                                                                                      Select your Region and Keyboard Options:

                                                                                                      Connect to the Internet

                                                                                                      Note: You can setup Windows 10 Home with a Local Account only if you remain offline during the Windows 10 OOBE. A Local Account is designed otherwise to be a Windows 10 Pro Feature only. If you connect to the internet with a Windows 10 Home license during the Windows Setup, you will be forced to login with a Microsoft Account.

                                                                                                      Select your Wireless Network and select Connect:

                                                                                                      Input your password and select next:

                                                                                                      You should now be connected to the internet:

                                                                                                      User Account Setup

                                                                                                      In the next screen you will be asked whether you want to set up for personal use or whether you want to set up for work or school. Details will be given by your IT department for the latter option. For home use, select Set up for personal use:

                                                                                                      If you see the following screen, your Windows 10 Setup doesn't think its connected to the internet, press back and retry (if you want to setup with a Microsoft Account):

                                                                                                      When connected you should get the following screen.

                                                                                                      On Windows 10 Pro you will get additional Sign In Options for a Local Account. To sign in with a Local Account, select Offline Account:

                                                                                                      Microsoft will try instead to get you to sign in with a Microsoft Account, select Limited Experience to Continue:

                                                                                                      If using a Local (Offline) Account. It is recommended to create a username that is all lower case without any special characters or spaces. Some third party programs such as Python Libraries may not work correctly if you have a username with special characters or spaces:

                                                                                                      I am going to sign in with a Microsoft Account and set this system up to use my 1 TB OneDrive Storage and my Office365 subscription. I am just going to use a test email to do this. Input your email:

                                                                                                      Input your password and select Next:

                                                                                                      You will be prompted to create a Pin (for this particular computer). Select Create Pin:

                                                                                                      Input and confirm your Pin and select OK:

                                                                                                      Privacy Settings

                                                                                                      If you have previously installed Windows 11 on You will be asked first if you want to allow Microsoft and Apps use your location. Select your option and select Accept:

                                                                                                      The Location is used by the Weather App and News Apps for example:

                                                                                                      You will ask whether you want to enable "Find My Device" which will allow you to locate your Device using your Microsoft Account (providing that it is turned on and connected to the internet):

                                                                                                      You will be asked if you want to receive tailored diagnostic feedback related to your computer, specific hardware or specific problems. Once again select your option and then select Accept:

                                                                                                      You will be asked if Microsoft can receive your input data (how you use random keystrokes) to help improve typing and inking. Select your option and select Accept:

                                                                                                      You will be asked if you want to receive tailored diagnostic feedback related to your computer, specific hardware or specific problems. Once again select your option and then select Accept:

                                                                                                      The next privacy setting is related to Microsoft Apps primarily Microsoft Edge and the Bing Search Engine but also some Games which show adverts. Microsoft would rather you share an Advertising ID across all the Apps to target Adverts towards you. Once again make your option and select Accept:

                                                                                                      You will then be asked to select the way(s) you plan to use your PC. This will relate to the tips and notifications you receive and suggestions displayed on the Start Menu. For example if you select Family, you may be prompted with additional notifications such as Family Safety. Once you have your option(s) select Accept or alternatively select Skip:

                                                                                                      You will be informed about the Phone App and linking your PC to your Android Phone. Select No Thanks or Remind me Later:

                                                                                                      OneDrive

                                                                                                      In the next screen you will be prompted for integration with OneDrive. Only do this if you have an Office 365 subscription as it includes 1 TB of OneDrive Storage.

                                                                                                      Note: Free OneDrive Storage without a Microsoft Account is ~5 GB and you will be hassled continuously about having low OneDrive storage. Select Only Save Files to this PC.

                                                                                                      When Only save files to this PC is selected. The Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, Music and Video folders are locally stored on the PC:

                                                                                                      When Next is selected the Desktop, Documents and Pictures folder are automatically integrated with OneDrive and you will see a cloud icon beside these folders. The Downloads, Music and Videos folders are not automatically integrated as file sizes in these folders tend to be very large and therefore it is less common for these files to be uploaded to OneDrive:

                                                                                                      If I delete the shortcut created by Microsoft Edge on my Desktop for example, I am informed about the file being moved to the OneDrive Recycle Bin:

                                                                                                      Cortana

                                                                                                      You'll be asked if you want to Enable your Digital Assistant, Cortana. Select Not Now:

                                                                                                      The final OOBE screens will display as your user account is setup:

                                                                                                      Computer Name

                                                                                                      There is no prompt to assign your computer, a Computer Name during the OOBE Setup screens for Windows 10. Instead a randomly generated Computer Name is created. To change this to something more sensible, Right Click the Start Menu to get to the Power User Menu and select System. This is useful when it comes to identifying your computer when it comes to an Office 365 Installation for example.

                                                                                                      Select Rename this PC:

                                                                                                      In my case I will rename it as OptiPlex-7050 and then select Next:

                                                                                                      Then I will select Restart Now when prompted:

                                                                                                      Product Activation

                                                                                                      Right click the Start Menu to get to the Power Users Menu and select Settings.

                                                                                                      Look for a watermark at the bottom of the Settings Window. If there is no watermark, Windows is activated.

                                                                                                      If there is a watermark, you can select it and follow the prompts for Product Activation and input your Windows 7 OEM Key to Activate.

                                                                                                      Windows Update

                                                                                                      Select Windows Update.

                                                                                                      Then select Check for Updates and then Download Now at the Top:

                                                                                                      Most the Unknown Devices in your Device Manager (which can also be accessed from the Power Users Menu) should get a Driver from Windows Update. In this case there are still some Unknown Devices that require additional driver installation from Dell:

                                                                                                      Repeat the process until Windows Update states You're up to date:

                                                                                                      Dell Update

                                                                                                      Install Dell Command Update or Dell Update by double clicking the application:

                                                                                                      Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Select Install:

                                                                                                      Select Next:

                                                                                                      Accept the License Agreement and select Next:

                                                                                                      Optionally participate in the Dell (Command) Improvement Program and select Next:

                                                                                                      Select Install:

                                                                                                      Select Finish:

                                                                                                      Select Close:

                                                                                                      Launch Dell (Command) Update. Optionally select Yes or No for automatic update checks and then select OK:

                                                                                                      Dell Business Systems have a Dell Driver .Cab File. Dell Command Update has the option to download, extract and install all the drivers from it. This is not present for most Dell Home Systems and this option will not display in Dell Update.

                                                                                                      Select Click here to Download and Install a Complete Driver Library:

                                                                                                      Restart when prompted:

                                                                                                      Launch Dell (Command) Update again and this time select Check:

                                                                                                      Select Install:

                                                                                                      Select Restart:

                                                                                                      All the system drivers are now installed.

                                                                                                      Dell Optional Applications

                                                                                                      There are a number of optional Dell Applications and Utilities which you may wish to install that are not installed automatically via Dell Update but are available on your Dell Drivers and Downloads Page.

                                                                                                      Intel Rapid Storage Technology Application

                                                                                                      The Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver has been installed but the Application hasn't. It can be isntalled by launching the setup.exe:

                                                                                                      Once again, Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Select Install:

                                                                                                      Then select Next:

                                                                                                      Accept the License Agreement and select Next:

                                                                                                      Select Next:

                                                                                                      Select Include Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management App:

                                                                                                      Select Restart:

                                                                                                      Launch Intel Optane Memory and Storage Management from the Start Menu:

                                                                                                      Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Accept the License Agreement and select Next:

                                                                                                      In my case, I have a single PCIe NVMe SSD and my storage is functioning normally. There are no advanced configurations available for a single PCIe NVMe SSD:

                                                                                                      On a high end Dell Precision with multiple PCIe ports, it is possible to configure a multiple drive configuration. When two identical drives are installed it is possible to create a RAID0 or RAID1 Volume.

                                                                                                      In RAID0 both drives are combined to create 1 large virtual drive, which has double the capacity and double the speed as it uses two RAID controllers simultaneously to access data across the virtual drive. If either one of the two drives fails however the data on the RAID volume is essentially unrecoverable.

                                                                                                      In RAID1 the contents of the first drive are mirrored onto the second drive. The OS only sees one virtual drive. the primary drive. However if this drive fails, all the data remains on the secondary drive.

                                                                                                      When 5-8th Generation Intel Processors were released, they were installed on Intel motherboards with high speed PCIe slots as well as the more traditional SATA ports. At their time of release, high capacity SSDs compatible with the high PCIe slots i.e. NVMe SSDs were expensive and therefore on entry to midrange systems, the main drive was a SSD or HDD installed in the SATA slot.

                                                                                                      To increase the speed of the SATA SSD or SATA HDD and take advantage of the PCIe port, they were paired with a 16-32 TB Intel Optane Memory Module. The Intel Optane Memory Module is essentially a low capacity NVMe Cache SSD. The most common components of the Windows 11 OS for example can be cached onto the OS to substantially improve system boot time or to speed up background processes.

                                                                                                      If you have such a configuration both your drives will show; your NVMe Intel Memory Module attached to your PCIe port will be listed at the top and your OS Boot Drive SSD/HDD attached to the SATA port will be shown at the bottom. You will be able to select Enable Intel Optane Memory and then be prompted for a Reboot:

                                                                                                      If using a SATA drive, you will also have the option to Enable Link Power Management which will reduce the power consumption of the Intel chipset and SATA drive when on battery, prolonging battery life:

                                                                                                      Thunderbolt

                                                                                                      On the Dell Drivers and Downloads page, you may wish to install additional applications such as the Intel Thunderbolt Controller Application or USB-C Type-C Status Display application. There may be other optional applications available depending on your models hardware.

                                                                                                      Intel Processor Power Management Utility and Dell Power Manager

                                                                                                      For portable devices such as Laptops in the Systems Management Category, you can download the Intel Processor Power Management Utility and the Dell Power Manager Service.

                                                                                                      Network Applications

                                                                                                      A number of Network Applications may be available for your model, depending on your installed Network Adapters:

                                                                                                      Office

                                                                                                      If you have a Office 365 with 1 TB OneDrive Storage you can install it using the preinstalled Office App by logging into your account. If you are not using OneDrive and do not have an Office 365 subscription and are instead looking for a free alternative, with a similar user interface you should try SoftMaker FreeOffice. This free version has most the functionality that standard users require however some of the advanced functionality is stripped out and only available in their free product. The LibreOffice suite is also available which has full functionality but a more clunky user-interface.

                                                                                                      Office 365

                                                                                                      If you have an Office 365 subscription you should be able to open up the preinstalled Office App and use it to install the latest version of Office on your computer. I had to close the Office App and open it again:

                                                                                                      In the top right, you can select Install Office:

                                                                                                      This takes you to the Office365 website where you can login and manage your installations:

                                                                                                      Select Install Office:

                                                                                                      This will take you to the Office Website:

                                                                                                      To the bottom, you will see the Devices you are signed into. Since I have just reinstalled Windows on the OptiPlex-7050, I will sign out of the OptiPlex-7050 as this license corresponds to the old installation.

                                                                                                      Confirm that you want to sign out of the old Device:

                                                                                                      Select Done:

                                                                                                      Now select Install Office:

                                                                                                      Select, your language and the Default Version. The Default Version corresponds to the 64 Bit Architecture which is standard for a Windows 11 installation. Select Install:

                                                                                                      Then launch the Downloaded Application:

                                                                                                      Accept the User Account Control Prompt:

                                                                                                      Then Office will install in the background:

                                                                                                      You can then launch a program such as Microsoft Word:

                                                                                                      Select Get Started:

                                                                                                      Select Office Open XML Formats and then OK:

                                                                                                      Office should now be installed and activated.

                                                                                                      Free Office

                                                                                                      SoftMaker Free Office can be downloaded from the FreeOffice Website. It contains TextMaker (a Word Processor similar to Microsoft Word), PlanMaker (a Spreadsheet Application similar to Microsoft Excel) and Presentations (a Presentation Application similar to PowerPoint):

                                                                                                      Once you have installed the software you may be prompted to register and an email in order to obtain a Free License Key.

                                                                                                      Libre Office

                                                                                                      Libre Office can be downloaded from the LibreOffice Website.

                                                                                                      It contains Writer (a Word Processor similar to Microsoft Word), Calc (a Spreadsheet Application similar to Microsoft Excel),Impress (a Presentation Application similar to PowerPoint), Draw (a Drawing Application similar to Visio) and Base (a Database Application similar to Access).

                                                                                                      Chromium Browser

                                                                                                      In previous versions of Windows, Microsoft created their own web browser from scratch and as it was primarily closed-source this created a lot of conflicts, rendering issues and general bugs when it came to browsing and navigating through websites. Microsoft would advertise that their web browser Microsoft Internet Explorer, later rebranded as Microsoft Edge performed better in performance and security (on some arbitrary tests) than their main competitor Google who support Google Chrome across multiple platforms. However for many users the only time they opened Microsoft's Browser was to download and install Google Chrome.

                                                                                                      The open-source project Chromium aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. The Chromium Open Source Project has a stream of continuous commitments by professional developers working on different file formats such as markdown, hyper text mark down (html) and a variety of multimedia formats such as Media Player 4 (MP4) as well as Security Experts who look for and address Security Exploits.

                                                                                                      Chromium is the basis of Google Chrome and Google essentially add some proprietary code on top of Chromium to customise it for integration with Google Services and a Google Account as well as optimising it for use with the Google Search Engine. As Chromium needs to be stable for Google Chrome to be stable, Google also commit a lot of developments directly to the Open Source Chromium project. Other less commonly used Browsers such as Samsung Internet, Opera and Brave are also Chromium Based.

                                                                                                      The new version of Microsoft Edge is now also Chromium based and therefore has a very similar user interface to Google Chrome. Since both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome are Child Browsers of the Parent Browser Chromium, websites that render well in one Browser should equally render as well in the other Browser.

                                                                                                      Microsoft Edge has slightly better integration with Windows 11 Security Features and slightly better Privacy Settings however it uses tight integration with the Bing Search Engine. The Bing Search Engine is quite inefficient compared to other Search Engines, generally taking a lot more effort to find a relevant link.

                                                                                                      Google Chrome

                                                                                                      In general if you are using the Google Search Engine and Google Services such as GMail and YouTube you are still best to install Google Chrome.

                                                                                                      Microsoft Edge

                                                                                                      When you first launch Microsoft Edge, you will be prompted for integration of Microsoft's services via your Microsoft Account:

                                                                                                      Select your desired option and Confirm:

                                                                                                      Then select Let's Go:

                                                                                                      On a New Tab you have both an Address Bar and a Search Box:

                                                                                                      To change the Search Engine, you can go to Settings:

                                                                                                      Then select Privacy, Search and Services:

                                                                                                      You can change the behaviour of the Address Bar:

                                                                                                      And then the behaviour of the Search Box:

                                                                                                      Note when you close and reopen Microsoft Edge, Microsoft will recommend you use the default Settings i.e. the Bing Search Engine. Select don't update your browser settings and select apply:

                                                                                                      Productivity Settings

                                                                                                      To enable the paste clipboard press [⊞] and [v] and then turn it on.

                                                                                                      You can copy multiple items using [Ctrl] + [c] and access it using [⊞] and [v].

                                                                                                      To access the emoji panel, you can press [⊞] and [.] this now has symbol input.

                                                                                                      If using a touchscreen you may want to right click the taskbar and select Show touch Keyboard button.

                                                                                                      The icon will now display on the taskbar:

                                                                                                      Which you can use to access the touch keyboard.