It is not always necessary to purchase physical retail boxed copy of Windows 10 for new computer. If you have a new computer, you can actually use the Windows 10 ISO created bootable USB or DVD to install Windows 10 without product key first, then purchase your Windows 10 digital download copy from Microsoft Store to activate your Windows 10 later. This guide will show you how to buy and install Windows 10 digital download copy for clean install on new computer or HDD wiped computer.
Before we begin, this guide is only necessary if you want to install the Windows 10 on a blank computer with empty hard disk drive. If your computer is currently running Windows 8 or Windows 7, you can go directly to the Microsoft Store to purchase Windows 10 and use the download provided by Microsoft (usually as an instruction in the confirmation email after purchasing) to upgrade to Windows 10 easily.
You can, of course, use the following method to clean install Windows 10 instead of upgrading from existing Windows 7 or 8 which will bring over some of your old files. If you just want to upgrade to Windows 10, you can follow step 1 to 6 in the guide below. Then, select Upgrade this PC now during step 6 to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 automatically.
How to Install Windows 10 Digital Download
Create Windows 10 digital download USB bootable drive
This guide is for people who want to install Windows 10 on a computer with empty HDD that don’t have any operating system installed. You can also use this guide to format and clean install a Windows 10 on your existing Windows PC. In order to download and create the Windows 10 digital download installation disc or USB, we need to do that on a functioning Windows computer.
- On a Windows computer, go to here.
- Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download Tool now.
- This will download the Windows 10 media creation tool.
- Open the downloaded tool and you should see a screen showing “Getting a few things ready“.
- After it gets past the screen, click Accept to agree to Microsoft software license terms.
- On the next screen, select Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC.
- Click Next to continue.
- Select your desired language, Windows 10 edition and architecture (64 bit or 32 bit) you want to install on the new PC. When you have done with the selections, click Next.
- You will need at least 8GB of hard disk space to allow the tool to download the Windows 10 digital installation files.
- When it asks to choose which media to use, it is entirely up to you, but we recommend choosing USB flash drive. If you choose ISO file, you will have to burn the ISO onto a DVD later.
- Insert a USB flash drive. The installation files will require 8GB of empty space. We suggest you to format your USB drive before selecting it in the media creation tool.
- When your USB drive is inserted and ready, click Refresh drive list.
- Select your USB drive from the list of removable drives and then click Next.
- It should show downloading Windows 10 which is exactly it is doing now.
- Give it some time to complete the download and creation of your bootable Windows 10 digital download USB drive.
Install Windows 10 digital download from USB
Now that you have your Windows 10 digital download USB installation drive ready with you, insert it to the new computer. Boot the computer and press DEL or F12 to boot into BIOS menu. Look for an option usually called Boot sequence or Boot priority. Set your BIOS to boot your USB drive first.
Once the Windows 10 digital download USB installation drive is booted, follow the on-screen instruction to install Windows 10. During the process, you will be asked to enter a product key. Click on I don’t have a product key at the bottom, or may also appear as Skip. Follow the rest of the instruction to complete the Windows 10 digital download installation.
Buy Windows 10 Pro or Home Digital Download License
When the installation is completed, you should be booted into Windows 10 welcome screen. Fill up all the info needed in the welcome screen.
Once you boot into Windows desktop, go to start menu. Search for Settings to open the Settings app. Select Update & Security. On the left pane, click on Activation.
From there, click on the Go to Store button to buy Windows 10 Digital Download copy from Microsoft. It should include an instruction about how to activate your Windows 10 after making the payment. Otherwise, you can use the digital license product key (which should be sent to you through email after purchasing Windows 10) to activate your Windows 10 by going to the same Activation setting and click on the Change product key button.
Alternatively, if you already have an OEM or retail Windows 10 digital license product key with you, you can just click on the Change product key button and enter your product key to activate your Windows.
If you are doing a license transfer, you may need to find Windows 10 Digital License Product Key from your old computer and then follow the guide here to transfer Windows 10 license to another computer.