How to Directly Clean Install Windows 10 without having to Upgrade First
InformationBy default to get the free Windows 10 offer, you would normally need to upgrade to Windows 10 on your activated Window 7 or Windows 8.1 PC to register the activation of Windows 10 for your PC on Microsoft's activation servers. Afterwards, you would be able to clean install Windows 10 on the PC anytime, and have Windows 10 automatically activated.
This tutorial will show you how to directly clean install Windows 10 on your activated Window 7 or Windows 8.1 PC without having to upgrade first, and have Windows 10 legally activated afterwards.
You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do the steps in this tutorial.
NoteWindows 10 Upgrade Paths
This will help show you what edition of Windows 10 USB or ISO you need based on what edition your current Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 PC is.
From Edition To Edition Windows 7 Starter Windows 10 Home Windows 7 Home Basic Windows 10 Home Windows 7 Home Premium Windows 10 Home Windows 7 Professional Windows 10 Pro Windows 7 Ultimate Windows 10 Pro
From Edition To Edition Windows 8/8.1 Windows 10 Home Windows 8.1 with Bing Windows 10 Home Windows 8/8.1 Single Language Windows 10 Home Single Language Windows 8 Single Language with Bing Windows 10 Home Single Language Windows 8.1 Pro Windows 10 Pro Windows 8/8.1 Pro with Media Center Windows 10 Pro Windows 8.1 Pro for Students Windows 10 ProTipStarting in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10565 and TH2 Build 10568:
Device activation improvements: Microsoft has received a lot of feedback from Insiders on making it easier to activate Windows 10 on devices that take advantage of the free upgrade offer to genuine Windows by using existing Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 product keys. If you install this build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview on a PC and it doesnít automatically activate, you can enter the product key from a qualifying Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 used to activate the prior Windows version on the same device to activate Windows 10 by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and selecting Change Product Key.
If you havenít upgraded to Windows 10 yet and perform a clean installation, youíll need to enter a qualifying product key for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 or buy a license in order to activate Windows 10.
Starting with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14371, you can link your Microsoft account to the Windows 10 digital license (formerly called digital entitlement) on your device. This can help you reactivate Windows using the Activation troubleshooter if you make a hardware change later, such as replacing the motherboard.
1. Do step 2 (USB) or step 3 (ISO) below for what type of Windows 10 installation media you want to use.
2. Create a Windows 10 USB that is for the same type (32-bit or 64-bit), edition, and language as your current Windows 7/8.1, connect and open the USB in your activated Windows 7/8.1 PC, and go to step 4 below.
3. Download a Windows 10 ISO file that is for the same type (32-bit or 64-bit), edition, and language as your current Windows 7/8.1, mount the ISO file in your activated Windows 7/8.1 PC, and go to step 4 below.
4. Open the sources folder in the opened USB or mounted ISO, and copy the gatherosstate.exe file to your desktop. (see screenshot below)
WarningYou must copy the gatherosstate.exe file to your desktop.
If you do step 5 below directly from the sources folder location instead of from your desktop, it will not work.
5. Right click or press and hold on the gatherosstate.exe file on your desktop, and click/tap on Run as administrator. This will create a GenuineTicket.xml file on your desktop.
NoteThe Windows you are currently running must be activated to be able to create a GenuineTicket.xml file.
6. Copy the GenuineTicket.xml file to a USB or another drive than your Windows drive as a backup. You will need this GenuineTicket.xml file later to activate Windows 10 with.
7. Do a clean install of Windows 10 on your Windows 7/8.1 PC to replace the Windows 7/8.1 with Windows 10. Be sure to click/tap on Skip when asked to enter a product key during Windows Setup. (see screenshot below)
8. When Windows 10 is finished installing, open File Explorer, copy and paste the folder path below into the address bar, and press Enter to open the GenuineTicket folder.
9. Copy the GenuineTicket.xml file from your backup from step 6 above into the GenuineTicket folder. (see screenshot below)
NoteThe GenuineTicket.xml file can only be used on the PC it was originally created on.
10. Click/tap on Continue to approve. (see screenshot below)
11. Restart the computer to apply.
12. When you check the activation status of Windows 10, Windows 10 should now be activated. If not, restart the computer one more time. (see screenshot below)
I'm going to give this one a workout for sure! One thing I did when browsing to the GenuineTicket folder for the present install was an empty folder since the clean install followed an upgrade. I suspect that would be the reason for that.
I will be looking at the old case(900-1) to add in a second drive for the owner to see a 7/10 dual boot there however where this will cut the need for seeing an upgrade over another temp install of 7 Pro on a second drive. It will also be a good time saver when going to lug that steel case around to get things done!