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    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive

    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive

    How to Clean Install Windows 10 without any External Installation Media
    Published by Category: Installation & Upgrade
    04 Nov 2017
    Designer Media Ltd

    Published by


    Kari's Avatar
    Finnish but not finished


    Location: A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts: 12,940

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    information   Information
    Sometime ago I had an interesting dilemma: A Windows tablet simply refused to upgrade from Windows 10 version 1607, the Anniversary Update. Due my own actions the only USB port was broken, not recognizing any USB flash drives. I had no SD cards available and even if I had found one, Windows installation can't be booted from SD card. In addition, to get more storage space I had removed factory restore partition and extended C: drive to that freed space.

    I wanted to clean install wiping the hard disk (removing and recreating Windows partitions). I knew from earlier experience that when clean installed, although Windows 10 usually is pretty good in finding and installing correct drivers, setup would be unable to find correct network drivers for this device (a tablet with Intel Atom CPU). These drivers would need to be manually installed after the installation. Otherwise the tablet would be just a worthless brick, a Windows device without network / Internet access, no way to add and install them and therefore unable to install rest of the drivers.

    Short: I had to find a way to install without any external media, and be sure installers for network drivers would be available after installation.

    This tutorial will show how to do this, how to clean install using it without any external media. Screenshots are from a simulation on a Hyper-V virtual machine but the method shown will be and work exactly the same on any PC, laptop or tablet regardless if the machine in question is UEFI / GPT or BIOS / MBR device.

    This method can of course also be used even if you have DVD or USB device available as an alternative method to clean install.

    The instructions might look complicated but trust me, this is an easy and straight forward procedure. I've tried to make instructions as complete as possible to be sure that any user even with limited knowledge of Windows can manage it by following the instructions to the letter.

    warning   Warning
    In my case, the tablet in question I had issues with upgrading had detachable keyboard which made the reinstall possible. If your device is touch only with no keyboard this method might not work for you.

    Before proceeding, test if the touch control works when device is booted to Command Prompt as told in steps 2.1 through 2.3. If touch control is not working, this method does not work for you. Do a hard reset (power off, power on) to boot back to Windows.




    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Contents Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Use links to go to any part of tutorial, back button of your browser to return to this list.

    Part One: Preparations
    Part Two: Boot to Command Prompt
    Part Three: Run Windows Setup from partition on same PC
    Part Four: Run Windows Setup from a networked PC
    Part Five: Post install tasks

    Note   Note
    Parts Three & Four are alternative ways to do the same thing. Go through parts One & Two, then depending on if you are doing this on a single device without access to a networked PC do part Three, or if you have access to a networked PC do part Four instead.

    Finish the install doing Part Five.




    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Part One: Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Preparations


    1.1) Download Windows 10 ISO image for version you want to install. See this tutorial for how: Download Windows 10 ISO File Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials

    1.2) Download device driver installers for chipset and network drivers for your device from its manufacturer's site. You can of course download all drivers but to get going after clean install in case device has no network connection, at least the two drivers mentioned should be available
    Note   Note
    If you have another PC available on your network, clean reinstall without DVD or USB can be done over network. In that case download ISO and drivers on that another PC.

    If the device you want to clean reinstall is your only available device, download ISO and driver installers on it.

    Steps 1.3 through 1.9 are required only if you have no other computers available on your local network, and your device only has Windows partition C:. If you have other computers available on network, or if the hard disk on your device you want to reinstall already contains additional partitions, you can skip these step and continue from step 1.8.

    1.3) Create a partition to store Windows ISO image and driver installers by shrinking the C: partition. To do this, open Disk Management (right click Start, select Disk Management), right click C: partition and select Shrink Volume:
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    1.4) Shrink C: with 6 GB (6,144 MB):
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    1.5) Right click new partition, select New Simple Volume:
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    1.6) New Volume Wizard will open. Accept all defaults by clicking four times Next, finally create the new volume (partition) by clicking Finish:
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    1.7) New partition will be created and formatted:
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    1.8) On new partition, create a folder naming it ISO_Files. Mount the downloaded ISO image as virtual DVD simply by double clicking it. Open mounted ISO in Explorer, select all files and folders with CTRL + A and copy them with CTRL + C, paste the ISO content to ISO_Files folder on new partition:

    Copy ISO content:
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    Paste to ISO_Files folder:
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    1.9) Copy the downloaded driver installers to new partition. In my case now, when done I had the contents of ISO and driver installers where I wanted to have them, on additional small 6 GB partition:
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    Note   Note
    Steps 1.10 through 1.14 below only for users with network access to another PC. If working on a single device, continue from step 2.1.

    1.10) Create a new folder on other PC, name it as you wish. In this tutorial I use folder name W10 Image. Copy driver installers to this folder, create a subfolder W10 Image\ISO_Files and copy all content from mounted Windows ISO image this subfolder (see steps 1.8 & 1.9

    1.11) Right click the folder containing the ISO files and driver installers, select Properties.

    1.12) Select Sharing tab, click Advanced Sharing:
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    1.13) Select Share this folder, name the share if you are not happy with the default name (folder name), select Permissions:
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    1.14) Enable full control for everyone, click OK to close Permissions, click OK to close Advanced Sharing, click Close to save changed properties:
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    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Part Two Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Boot to Command Prompt


    2.1) Open Run prompt (right click Start > select Run) and enter following command to restart to Advanced Startup Options:

    shutdown /r /f /o /t 0

    More about booting to Advanced Startup Options: Boot to Advanced Startup Options in Windows 10 Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials

    2.2) On Advanced Startup Options, select Troubleshoot, select Advanced Options and finally Command Prompt:
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    Tutorial: Open Command Prompt at Boot in Windows 10 Windows 10 General Tips Tutorials

    2.3) Select one of the listed administrator accounts. In this case now I only have one admin account, I'll select it and enter my password in next screen to open Command Prompt:
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    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Part Three Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Run Windows Setup from partition on same PC

    Note   Note
    If you are using a networked computer for reinstall, skip to Part Four below. This Part Three is only for users running Windows Setup from additional partition on device in question.
    3.1) Drive letters might not be the same when booting to Command Prompt. To be sure, we will check the drive letter for additional partition containing Windows 10 ISO and downloaded driver installers. This can be done with DISKPART command.

    Enter following commands one by pressing Enter after each command:

    diskpart

    list vol

    exit
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    3.2) I can now launch Windows Setup from the ISO_Files folder which in my case is located on drive D: with following command:

    D:\ISO_Files\setup.exe
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    3.3) Run setup as in normal clean install until you reach the drive options screen asking on which partiton you want to install. When product key is asked, select I don't have a product key. it is not needed in reinstall, Windows 10 will be automatically activated with digital license:
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    See Clean Install tutorial if you need any help: Clean Install Windows 10 Windows 10 Installation Upgrade Tutorials

    3.4) In drive options, select each partition one by one (highlighted partitions in screenshot, your actual partition layout may be different) except the additional partition containing Windows ISO files and driver installers and click Delete to remove partitions:
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    3.5) When you only have unallocated space and the partition with ISO files and driver installers left, select the unallocated space and click Next to start installing Windows. Windows Setup will repartition the HDD automatically:
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    3.6) You can now continue installing Windows normally (tutorial). Continue from Part Five





    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Part Four Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Run Windows Setup from a networked PC


    4.1) When booted to Command Prompt, network needs to be initialized before you can connect to another PC to run Windows Setup. This is done with following command:

    wpeinit

    4.2) Map the shared folder on other PC as drive W: with following command, replacing IP-Adress with actual IP address or computer name of the networked computer, and ShareName with the name the folder was shared in step 1.13:

    net use W: "\\IP-Address\ShareName"
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    4.3) In this example the network share was mapped as drive W: and the ISO content on that folder is located in folder ISO_Files, I can start Windows Setup with following command:

    W:\ISO_Files\setup.exe
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    4.4) Run Windows Setup normally until you reach drive options. When asked, skip the product key (see how in step 3.3)

    4.5) Remove all partitions from drive 0 by selecting them one by one and clicking Delete (see how in step 3.4) until you only have unallocated space. Now click New. Be careful now, be sure to click New. Do not click Next!:
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    4.6) By default, setup suggests that you use the full capacity of the HDD for Windows partition:
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    4.7) However, we need a small partition for driver installers. In this example I've reduced the suggested size with 2,000 megabits to leave space for an additional partition to store the driver installers. When size have been adjusted, click Apply:
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    4.8) Accept with OK:
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    4.9) Select the small unallocated space at the end of HDD, click New:
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    4.10) Click Apply:
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    4.11) Click the new, small partition at end of HDD, click Format:
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    4.12) Press SHIFT + F10 to reopen Command Prompt. Check the drive letter for new small partition created in 4.10 & 4.11 with DISKPART (see 3.1 for DISKPART instructions).

    Copy driver installers from shared folder on networked PC one by one with following command replacing target drive letter X: with actual drive letter of the small new partition:

    copy W:\DriverInstallerFileNameWithExtension X:\

    For instance, if WLAN driver installer filename would be RealtekWLAN.exe, and the small partition would be drive E:, the command would be as follows:

    copy W:\RealtekWLAN.exe E:\

    If all driver installers have the same extension, you can copy all of them with one command replacing filename with asterisk (*). In my case now, all three driver installers I want to copy are ZIP archive files with extension .zip, and I want to copy them to new small partition E:, the command would be as follows:

    copy W:\*.zip E:\
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    This copies all files with given extension, ZIP in this case, to target.

    4.13) Select the Windows partition (partition 4 on UEFI / GPT machines, partition 2 on BIOS / MBR) and continue installing Windows normally (tutorial). Continue from Part Five:
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    Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive Part Five: Clean Install Windows 10 without DVD or USB Flash Drive
     Post install tasks


    5.1) Windows 10 is really good in finding correct drivers, in most cases I have had no need to install drivers manually. However, as so often in computing, you should not trust that Windows can do it automatically and be prepared instead.

    That's the reason we downloaded the chipset and network drivers copying them to a small additional partition, to be prepared. In case Windows Setup already installed correct network drivers, you are ready to go and can skip this step, but if Windows Setup was unable to install correct network drivers, you have now partition D: on your HDD containing them.

    Run the installers and install drivers manually. Notice that some network drivers require chipset being up to date, I recommend you start by installing chipset driver, restart and continue installing network drivers.

    When done and you have got network and Internet access, you can run Windows Update and install other missing drivers.
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    5.2) When you have network access, you can remove the additional partition where you had ISO files and driver installers (single machine setup) or driver installers (installing from network) in Disk Management:
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    5.3) Extend drive C: using the freed space:
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    5.4) Accept all defaults by clicking two times Next, then Finish
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    5.5) You have now full capacity of HDD to be used with Windows:
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    That's it! The hard disk was cleaned and wiped and Windows 10 installed without using any external DVD or USB device.

    Kari


  1.    30 Sep 2017 #1
    Join Date : Feb 2015
    Bamberg Germany
    Posts : 17,530
    Win10 Pro, Win10 Pro N, Win10 Home, Win10 Pro Insider Fast Ring, Windows 8.1 Pro, Ubuntu

    With a PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, it would only take a couple of minutes to install then(Win10 ISO comes with some default NVMe drivers which is great)
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  2.    30 Sep 2017 #2
    Join Date : Jan 2017
    Turku
    Posts : 1,768
    Windows 10 Pro IP Build 16299.19 (Branch: RS3 Release)

    A really great tutorial!

    Thanks!
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  3.    30 Sep 2017 #3
    Join Date : Dec 2015
    Posts : 5,841
    Windows10

    This is a great tutorial.

    Another similar way of achieving this solution is to create a boot entry of the installer (in the partition) using easybcd or @Kyhi's great scripts (used them many times), then on booting PC, there is a boot option for the installer.

    https://www.tenforums.com/attachment...menu_option.7z

    I use this exact same method for creating boot entries for Macrium Reflect winpe files, and also a custimised version of @Kyhi's recovery drive.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    30 Sep 2017 #4
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,940
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by cereberus View Post
    This is a great tutorial.

    Another similar way of achieving this solution is to create a boot entry of the installer (in the partition) using easybcd or @Kyhi's great scripts (used them many times), then on booting PC, there is a boot option for the installer.
    Whatever the method to clean reinstall without any external install media, the important thing is to be sure you do not brick the device because of missing network driver in case you are not able to use external devices or SD cards to transfer files to your device.

    Everything else can be obtained, drivers installed and Windows updated when network is working. My starting point, as told at the beginning of tutorial, was that I had a W10 tablet with Intel Atom processor, USB not working, no SC card, no factory reset partition, and I knew from past experience that for this specific device, Windows Setup would not install correct network drivers.

    The tutorial could be shorter, installation itself without external device being a piece of cake, but I wanted to show a way to do this in a way that ensures that you will have network and Internet access when done.

    BTW, did you know that Windows ISO or DVD / USB burned from it contains two different Setup.exe applications to install Windows? If you run Setup.exe which is located on root of the ISO (for instance X:\setup.exe), only in-place upgrade install is possible, but running the other Setup.exe from Sources folder (X:\Sources\Setup.exe) allows a custom install.

    Setup.exe on the root of Windows install media:
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    Setup.exe in Sources folder:
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    If cleaning HDD, wiping it empty when reinstalling (as told in this tutorial) is not important to you, you can reinstall simply by mounting a W10 ISO, then running Windows setup from Sources folder. Other than missing drive partitioning options, running Sources\setup.exe allows a custom install, moving previous Windows installation to Windows.old folder. It's clearly told that running setup this way does not allow partitioning:
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    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    30 Sep 2017 #5
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 1,391
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    Due my own actions the only USB port was broken, not recognizing any USB flash drives. I had no SD cards available and even if I had found one, Windows installation can't be booted from SD card.

    I knew from earlier experience that when clean installed, although Windows 10 usually is pretty good in finding and installing correct drivers, setup would be unable to find correct network drivers for this device (a tablet with Intel Atom CPU). These drivers would need to be manually installed after the installation. Otherwise the tablet would be just a worthless brick, a Windows device without network / Internet access, no way to add and install them and therefore unable to install rest of the drivers.
    Ah that's very useful.

    I have a tablet in a very similar situation- although I'm not admitting so easily that it was me who broke the USB port.

    Although it will charge the battery, I can't boot from a USB and because I can't even plug in a keyboard, I don't think I can change BIOS options. It also wouldn't find the correct drivers by default when I clean installed Windows 8.1 and I haven't risked it since then.

    Edit: One difference with mine is that it's only a so-called 32GB disk, which makes some of this even more tricky!

    Fortunately it's still working but it's only a matter of time before I lock myself out of it somehow...
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    30 Sep 2017 #6
    Join Date : Dec 2013
    Portsmouth Hampshire
    Posts : 1,825
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    If cleaning HDD, wiping it empty when reinstalling (as told in this tutorial) is not important to you, you can reinstall simply by mounting a W10 ISO, then running Windows setup from Sources folder. Other than missing drive partitioning options, running Sources\setup.exe allows a custom install, moving previous Windows installation to Windows.old folder. It's clearly told that running setup this way does not allow partitioning:
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    Kari
    I seem to recall that at this point in the process, Shift+F10 is available and of course then, Diskpart may be used from the command prompt to change, create or otherwise modify the partitions, and the Refresh option in the setup dialog will rescan the available partitions after Diskpart has made changes to reflect the available partitions in the setup dialog.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  7.    30 Sep 2017 #7
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,940
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    Although it will charge the battery, I can't boot from a USB and because I can't even plug in a keyboard, I don't think I can change BIOS options.
    That's a BIOS device? If it would be UEFI, this could be a solution: Create Shortcut to Boot to UEFI Firmware Settings in Windows 10 Windows 10 General Tips Tutorials


    Quote Originally Posted by DavidY View Post
    Edit: One difference with mine is that it's only a so-called 32GB disk, which makes some of this even more tricky!
    Using a network share for this as told in tutorial, you can do it. Windows installation requires a 20 GB partition, the small partition to host driver installers 1 or 2 GB,

    If you can't do this from network share, you need 5 to 6 GB for the temporary partition. In other words you just have to find enough stuff you can delete to make that much space free,

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    30 Sep 2017 #8
    Join Date : Oct 2013
    A Finnish expat in Germany
    Posts : 12,940
    Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Fafhrd View Post
    I seem to recall that at this point in the process, Shift+F10 is available and of course then, Diskpart may be used from the command prompt to change, create or otherwise modify the partitions, and the Refresh option in the setup dialog will rescan the available partitions after Diskpart has made changes to reflect the available partitions in the setup dialog.
    Yes, Command Prompt and DISKPART are available when launching setup from Sources\Setup.exe. I did not cover that option in this tutorial because I wanted to keep it "newbie proof".

    Kari
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    30 Sep 2017 #9
    Join Date : Jan 2014
    Posts : 1,391
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    That's a BIOS device? If it would be UEFI, this could be a solution: Create Shortcut to Boot to UEFI Firmware Settings in Windows 10 Windows 10 General Tips Tutorials
    Thanks Kari, Yes it's UEFI, so that would take me into the firmware.

    However I'm not sure that I'll be able to select anything when I got there, as I'm not sure the UEFI screen will have drivers for a touchscreen and I've not risked trying it in case I get stuck!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kari View Post
    Using a network share for this as told in tutorial, you can do it. Windows installation requires a 20 GB partition, the small partition to host driver installers 1 or 2 GB,

    If you can't do this from network share, you need 5 to 6 GB for the temporary partition. In other words you just have to find enough stuff you can delete to make that much space free,
    Yes and I do have an SD card in there which, as you said, won't boot it but will be a place to store things such as drivers (although I guess the SD card itself will also need a driver... so again I'll need to be careful!)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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