How to install Windows 10 using a DVD, an ISO file or a USB flash drive

Windows 10 is the best known operating system for PCs, and many want to install it on their computers and devices. One way to do that is by upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Another way is to use a DVD with the Windows 10 setup, a USB flash drive, or an ISO file with the installation. In this guide, we show you how to make a clean Windows 10 installation on your computer or device, using the following types of installation media: DVD, ISO file, or USB memory stick. Let's get started:

NOTE: This guide is based on Windows 10 November 2019 Update, the latest version of Windows 10 when this tutorial was created.

Read this before you begin installing Windows 10:

Before you install Windows 10, read the Windows 10 Specifications on Microsoft's website and review its system requirements. Windows 10 demands the following:

  • Processor or System on a Chip (SoC): 1 GHz or faster, single core or multicore, compatible with Windows 10
  • RAM: minimum 1 gigabyte (GB) for the 32-bit version or 2 GB for the 64-bit version
  • Free hard drive space: 32 GB or more, for both the 32-bit version and 64-bit version. For the best experience, it is better to use 60 GB or more.
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 compatible graphics card
  • A display with a minimum resolution of 800 x 600 pixels

Before you start the installation, you should have the product key for Windows 10, even though you can install it without one. However, you cannot fully use Windows 10 until you activate it and provide the product key. It is a more straightforward process to activate the operating system during its installation. We also recommend a working internet connection and a Microsoft account.

If you need the ISO setup image file for Windows 10, read Use the Media Creation Tool to create Windows 10 installation media. We also recommend a third-party tool that you can use to download any edition of Windows and Office: Download ISO files and disc images with any version of Windows and Microsoft Office (100% legal).

If you want to run the Windows 10 in a virtual machine, the best virtualization applications that we tested and are capable of running Windows 10 are VirtualBox, VMware Player, VMware Player Pro, Hyper-V, and VMware Workstation. VMware Player, Hyper-V, and VirtualBox are the free products on this list. If you want to install Windows 10 in a virtual machine, you need to mount the Windows 10 ISO setup file before starting the virtual machine. Make sure that you know how to create a virtual machine in your preferred virtualization product.

How to install Windows 10

Boot your computer or virtual machine using the installation DVD, USB flash drive, or the ISO file with the Windows 10 setup files. As soon as you boot, you see a quick message on the screen stating that you need to press any key to continue. Press any key on your keyboard, and the installation wizard is shown.

Once the necessary files are copied, the Windows 10 Setup asks what language, time and currency format, and keyboard input settings you want to use. Make the selections you prefer and press Next.

Choosing the language, time, currency, and keyboard for the Windows 10 installation

Click or tap Install now to start the installation.

Starting the installation of Windows 10

The setup takes a couple of seconds to start and asks you to enter the product key for Windows 10. Type it and press Next. If you are reinstalling Windows 10, click or tap that you do not have a product key, and your copy is automatically activated later. You can also make a clean installation without providing a product key by clicking "I don't have a product key."

Entering the product key to activate Windows 10

After you do that, you have to select which Windows 10 edition you want to install: from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Education, all the way to Windows 10 Pro.

The list of Windows 10 versions and editions available to install

You are shown the license terms. Click or tap "I accept the license terms" and then Next.

The license terms for Windows 10

You are asked for the type of installation you want to perform. As you are installing Windows 10 from scratch, click or tap "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)."

Choosing to do a custom Windows 10 installation

Now you are asked to select where you want to install Windows. Choose the drive or partition that you want to use for Windows 10 and press Next.

If you need to configure your partitions in a specific way, do not hesitate to use the tools available for creating new partitions, deleting old ones, formatting, and so on, before clicking Next.

Selecting where to install Windows 10

The setup takes some minutes to copy all the required files and then installs the Windows 10 operating system. It also installs updates, if it detects that it can connect to the internet.

Installing Windows 10

Once the installation is done, the Windows 10 setup automatically reboots, at least once, to run the first-time configuration scripts. You need to wait patiently for the process to finish. If you see the prompt below, you can skip the waiting by pressing Restart now.

The Windows 10 installation needs to restart the PC to continue

During the waiting process, Windows 10 shows you the status of its activities, so that you know whether the installation is progressing or not.

How to customize your Windows 10 installation

After the reboots are finished, Windows 10 asks you to choose the region where you live. Select it from the list, and then click or tap Yes.

Choosing the region where you live

Then, choose the keyboard layout that you want to use.

Choosing the keyboard layout that you prefer

If you need to use a secondary keyboard layout, you can add a second one during the next step. Otherwise, choose Skip.

Choosing whether to add additional keyboard layouts or not

If you have a working internet connection, Windows 10 checks if there are any updates available. If there are, it downloads and installs them during this step.

Windows 10 installs the latest updates available

You are asked to confirm the ownership of your Windows 10 device. If you are its owner, select "Set up for personal use." If the device belongs to an organization (for example, the company you work at), select "Set up for an organization," and use your business account to sign in and access your resources. Then, press Next.

Setting Windows 10 for personal use

Read the second page of this tutorial using the buttons below to see how to configure your user account on your Windows 10 installation.