Windows 10 is Microsoft’s newest operating system and was launched back in July 2015. Microsoft has arguably released their best operating system since the glorious days of Windows XP back in 2002. Windows 10, while being buggy at its beginning stages, has come a long way in providing an excellent OS for desktop and laptop users. Having been using Windows 10 since its early beta stages, I can confirm that Windows 10 today is vastly superior to the early development stages in every possible way.
Microsoft has been pushing Windows 10 onto its users quite aggressively since July 2015, allowing existing Windows 8.1 users at the time to upgrade their devices for free for one year. If you had been using Windows 8.1 you could upgrade to Windows 10 for free and Windows would automatically activate based on the license you had with Windows 8.1.
After July 2016, Windows 10 was theoretically no longer available for Windows users and you had to buy a Windows 10 retail key or a laptop with a Windows 10 OEM key already embedded in order to use Windows 10 legally. The home version costs around $120 and the Pro version around $180-200. With the purchase of those versions, you get customer support (which you do not need anyway because you have access to the internet) along with an Office 365 subscription.
A cheaper alternative would be buying a Windows 10 Retail key form 3rd party providers like Kinguin for example for around $20-30. You may not get Microsoft’s customer support but you get an activated version of Windows for almost $100 less for the Home version and $150 for the Pro version.
But, what if I told you that you can download and install Windows 10 for free? If you do not want to spend any money to buy a Windows 10 license there is actually a legitimate way to download and install Windows 10 at no cost.
Windows 10 for free? Is that actually possible?
Now, do not get me wrong I am not talking about using illegal software to activate Windows 10. I would advise no one going down that road. Not only is it illegal and you could get in trouble, but you could also catch a virus or trojan searching for this kind of software. The best and cheapest way to legally use Windows is and will always be buying a retail key. $20-30 is not that much of a deal if you consider it.
However, for those who can not even spend that money or would want to try out Windows 10 before deciding to upgrade their operating system, there is a legitimate way of doing this.
Microsoft has been pushing out updates to existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users gradually meaning that not all users of previous Windows users would get an update at once. You may have noticed an update icon on your Pc where Microsoft was prompting you to update to their new OS and telling you that it would be available in a few days. Choosing this upgrade path was time-consuming and would lead to an upgrade with all your settings kept in place. In addition to that, waiting for an update which could be done immediately is annoying, at least for me.
Download and install Windows 10 fast
Going through this slow upgrade path is ok but what if you want to upgrade multiple devices or clean install Windows 10 without having to wait for each device to get an upgrade notification from Microsoft?
All you need is a USB device with at least 4 GB of storage and enough space on your desktop or laptop to install Windows 10.
Windows 10 Step-by-Step Installation Guide
- Download a program called “Windows 10 Media Creation Tool“. It is a tool provided by Microsoft, which contains all the Windows 10 files. It also is updated frequently to the latest version of Windows 10.
- Connect your USB device to your computer and run the Media Creation Tool Software. Next, you will be prompted to choose between two options:
1. Upgrade this Pc
2. Create a USB bootable device. You need to click on the second option.
- Then choose your preferred version of Windows 10 (Home, Pro, Enterprise), language and architecture. You should always choose x64 unless you have less than 2 GB of RAM installed or a very slow PC that cannot handle x64. Another case would be installing both versions if you want to upgrade multiple computers. I always choose the x64 version.
- Next, you want to choose where you want your Windows to get installed on. The two options are:
1. Windows USB Flash Drive
2. ISO File
In our scenario, we want Windows to get installed on the USB flash drive.
- The next step is to wait for Windows 10 to install and apply all the necessary updates. Be patient, as this can take quite a while but you will save a lot of time later on.
- After applying updates, you will be asked to choose whether you want to keep all your files and settings, keep only files or do a clean install of Windows 10.
Keep all your files and settings: Your existing configurations, passwords, and files will be transferred to Windows 10.
Keep only your files: Only your personal files such as images, music and video files will be transferred to Windows 10 and any configurations, passwords or profiles will be deleted.
Clean install Windows 10: This option will delete everything and leave you with a clean version of Windows 10. It is the recommended option out of the three. It may be time-consuming to set everything up from scratch, but you will be left with a more efficient Windows and any wrong configurations or programs that may have slowed down your system will be gone. Starting from scratch is always the best choice especially if your Windows is starting to get slow.
- After choosing your option let Windows 10 fully install. Depending on the speed of your system, the whole process will take from 30 minutes up to an hour to complete. Your computer will restart multiple times before you will be presented with the Windows 10 logo.
- Now you need to adjust time and date settings as well as login to your account or create a new one. You will also be asked to connect to an existing Wifi or Ethernet connection and configure privacy settings. I always recommend choosing custom settings and turning everything off except for Windows 10 antivirus protection. The recommended privacy settings will grant Microsoft access to sensitive information with your acceptance. Microsoft claims that this type of information will only be used to improve the delivery of services regarding Windows 10, but I would not trust any company that has access to my sensitive and private information.
- Choose a password for your account or a 4 letter PIN code to access your profile more quickly. After doing that, log into your Windows 10 account and you are basically done.
After installing Windows 10 there are certain things you should do to optimize Windows 10 and get the best experience possible:
Check for updates: Checking for updates is crucial and you should always allow Windows to install updates. Only if you encounter issues with a specific update, should you postpone updates.
Install an Anti-Virus and Malware protection program: Personally, I use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium and Avast Premier to protect me against viruses and malware.
Install CCleaner: CCleaner is by far the best program to delete unnecessary files in Windows and clean your registry. Furthermore, you can use it to delete unwanted programs. Use it to clean your registry upon installation.
Delete unnecessary files: Right-click on your local C: drive, click on “Properties” and then choose “clean disk”. Then, click on “advanced options”. You should have 25 GB of unnecessary files, from the installation of Windows 10. Check all boxes and click “Yes”. This will free up a great amount space on your Pc.
After installing programs and apps, do a Windows backup: This is something that many people forget to do once they get everything set-up. By doing this, you will have access to a clean version of Windows 10 once things start to get messy after a while. You will not need to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch again, just restore your Pc back to that particular date. A good and free program to back up your files is AOMEI Backupper Standard. I am using it 2 years now and never had an issue with it either when backupping or restoring. I will also include the AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition here if you want to get more than just the standard version.
Installing and using Windows 10 for free is really easy and, on top of that, totally legal. Microsoft themselves have launched the Media Creation Tool to allow their customers to install Windows 10 on multiple devices with ease. No need to wait for update notifications. Simply download the tool, follow instructions and you will have an updated and clean-installed version of Windows 10.
If you have an existing Windows 8.1 or 7 license, it would be a good idea to try and activate Windows 10 by phone. Microsoft support may actually let you activate it if they see that you have a legitimate license. But activating is not necessary if you want to use Windows 10 for testing or even regular use. The only disadvantage is that you can not customize Windows by changing colors and themes. A minor drawback for using Windows for free. When you decide to activate your Windows 10 license, I recommend heading over to Kinguin and getting a retail Windows 10 key. These keys work 99% of the time and even if not, you get your money back if you include their buying protection in your purchase. Personally, I never had an issue with Kinguin.
I hope that you found my review helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your opinion on Windows 10? Do you think Microsoft did a good job with their latest operating system?
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