The official way to upgrade an existing computer system to Windows 10 is to upgrade it while it is still installed on the computer.
Some users prefer to do a clean install instead which, according to Microsoft, does not work directly if you have upgrade media (for instance by using the free in first year offer)
Clean installs are useful if you want to start anew, or if you don't have access to the old operating system anymore.
If you follow Microsoft's instructions, you would have to install the old operating system first before running the upgrade. To get a clean install, you'd have to install Windows 10 anew after that upgrade process.
A user on Reddit discovered a method that improves that process significantly. Basically, it enables you to clean install Windows 10 directly provided that you still have access to the previous version of Windows.
Install Windows 10 from scratch
Tip: Before you run this operation, make sure to backup the existing Windows installation so that you can restore it should things go wrong.
Here is what you need to do to clean install Windows 10 on a computer system.
- You need a Windows 10 DVD or ISO image for that. If you don't have one get it from here. Download the tool from Microsoft's website to create the ISO image. Make sure you pick the right architecture and version.
- Burn the ISO, mount it or extract it.
- Navigate to the folder \Windows\x64\sources or P:\Windows\x32\sources and drag&drop the file gatherosstate.exe to the desktop.
- Run the file afterwards. It creates GenuineTicket.xml on the desktop. This file is needed so copy it to a USB drive or other location.
- Run a clean install of Windows 10 afterwards on the system. Make sure you skip the product key.
- Once you are done and in Windows 10, copy the file GenuineTicket.xml to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\ClipSVC\GenuineTicket.
- The folder is hidden by default. If you cannot see it, select File > Options > View > Show hidden files, folders and drives in File Explorer.
- Reboot the PC.
The next time you boot into Windows 10 it should be fully activated. You can verify that easily with a tap on Windows-Pause. This opens the System Control panel and the system's activation status at the bottom of the page.
This method improves the installation process for users who want to clean install Windows 10 as they don't have to upgrade their existing system first before they can run the clean install. It saves them the upgrade process
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