Upgrading to Windows 10? You can do clean installs


Via the fine folks at Ars Technica: there’s a bit of good news for those of you who will be upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 after its release (expected July 29th, 2015). Well, it’s good news if you plan to wipe your hard drive before the installation.



An informal Q&A happened on the micro-blogging platform Twitter in the past couple of days, wherein one Gabriel Aul gave as much information as is possible in those 140-character bursts. To put it succinctly:

-Yes, there’s still a license key/activation key. But a connection to the Internet means you don’t absolutely *have* to write it down once you acquire it and activate your system.

-Yes, clean installations are supported.


-Yes, installations from an ISO will be supported. (Ideally, if you’re transitioning from 7 or 8.1 within the first year, you will begin the upgrade from within 7 or 8.1 to get your free license.)

-No, you do not have to revert back to your 7 or 8.1 installation to perform a clean installation of 10; once you have your license for 10, it’s yours…well, for that computer.

Much like in the past, your unique Windows license/activation key is tied to the computer. The definition of “your computer” has varied since Windows introduced activation with Windows XP, where some major hardware changes would force a reactivation but minor hardware changes & additions still counted as the same system. However, the gist is the computer will be assigned a Windows 10 license & you should be able to reactivate your installation with no more issue than reinstalling Windows 7 or 8.1 might entail. Calls to Microsoft’s activation hotline will probably still be the bane of your existence should you desire to transfer your Win10 installation to another machine (& promptly meet refusal), but some traditions are hard to break.

Now we have yet to see what kind of official tools will be released for people who want to put the installer on a flash drive or a separate hard drive partition, but one can only assume that the proliferation of flash media and cheap external storage (& better support for booting from external media through your system’s EFI) means you won’t be limited to optical media as a boot source. Should Microsoft not provide a dedicated tool to make a bootable drive (unlikely), intrepid users will surely answer that call within days of release.

Get excited, people. 10 is on its way, and Microsoft isn’t looking back. Well, except for when it has to support older operating systems. But other than that, it’s full steam ahead! Microsoft promises more information is to come, and we are ready for it.

Have any questions? Corrections? Concerns? Requests that Microsoft will never hear? Vitriol for Microsoft placing an icon in your taskbar? Sound off in the comments below! While you’re at it, be sure to check out our poll in the forums: “Will you upgrade to Windows 10 quickly?“.