It’s been a long while since the original rollout of Windows 10, and if you missed your chance to get a free upgrade on an existing PC or want to install it on a new PC entirely, you may need a little help.
That’s what we’re here for. Here is how you can download and install Windows 10 on your PC. Let’s get you set up.
Note: if instead you wish to upgrade the Windows 7/8 PC you’re already using, click here to check out our Windows 10 Upgrade Guide.
Prerequisites for Downloading and Installing Windows 10
Before we dive into the meat of this, here are a few things you’ll need to follow this guide:
- A separate Windows PC from the one you’re installing Windows 10 on to create the installation media.
- A USB Flash Drive of 8GB or larger to create your installation media.
Once these prerequisites are taken care of, it’s time to get the installer.
Acquiring the Media Creation Tool
First, click here to head to the download page, then click “Download tool now” and hit “Save” in the popup window. By default, the .exe file you just downloaded should go to your Downloads folder.
Once you have the Media Creation Tool downloaded, click the .exe in either your browser or the folder you downloaded it to. You’ll get a User Account Control prompt. Click Yes to run the Creation Tool.
Next, you’ll get a EULA. Read through at your discretion and click Accept to proceed.
On the next screen, you’ll get an option to either “Upgrade this PC now” or “Create installation media for another PC.” Click “Create installation media” and proceed to the next section.
Choosing Your Version of Windows 10 and Creating Your Installation Media
You will have a few different options to choose from.
Language and Edition are somewhat self-explanatory, but Architecture may not be, depending on the age of the PC that you’ll be installing Windows 10 on. If your CPU supports 64-bit Windows, you’ll generally want to install the 64-bit version of the operating system, even if you don’t have more than 4GB of RAM, for compatibility reasons.
32-bit is only recommended for installing Windows 10 on older machines that don’t have support for a 64-bit version of Windows, and choosing both is generally a waste of bandwidth and space on your external drive.
Once you’ve confirmed your selection, click “Next,” then select “USB flash drive.”
On the next screen, select your USB flash drive from the drop-down and click “Next” again.
You’ll need to wait for your selected version of Windows 10 to download. If, for whatever reason, you went against our advice and chose “Both” instead of 32-bit or 64-bit, expect your download time to be longer. Like the installer says, feel free to keep using your PC – just don’t try to close the window or shut down your machine while it’s running.
Once the download has finished, the Creation Tool will automatically use the files to create your installation media. When you’re all done, you should get a screen that looks like the one below. Click “Finish” and you’re good to go.
Running the Installer on Your New PC
Now that you have the installation media created, you’ll need to plug your USB drive into your new PC and power it on. Most PCs should automatically register your USB drive and boot you into the Windows 10 installer, which will automatically walk you through the setup process.
If you plug your USB drive in and nothing happens, however, you may need to manually set it as the first boot drive inside your PC’s BIOs. The instructions for doing this will vary from PC to PC, but generally, holding F8 or F12 will boot you into your BIOs on startup. If you have any trouble setting your USB drive as the first boot drive or getting into BIOs on your machine, consult your instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website for more assistance.
Once you’re finished going through the installer on your new PC, congratulations! You’ve installed Windows 10. At this point, the first thing we would recommend for most users is to see our guide on setting up a new Windows 10 PC.