[This post is deprecated. See the Installation page instead.]
I presume you’ve got your USB flash ready with the latest version of Windows 10 Professional or any other version you have picked.
First off, make sure you have made a backup of everything you might need later (like your documents, photos, emails, bookmarks, etc.). Think twice before moving on. Once you’re OK with wiping out the machine completely, shove the USB into a socket, reboot and, as soon as it shuts down, press and hold F9 key until “Boot Options” appear.
It can happen that the option to boot from USB will not be available right for the first time. Just keep calm and reboot once again, the option will appear. If not, then you’ll need to dive into BIOS Settings (see the blue box below).
(You can skip this if you don’t have a problem with booting from USB flash even though it’s worth to disable USB legacy support* after the installation is completed.)
Shut the PC down and turn it on while holding F10.
Go to System Configuration –>> Boot Options –> and make sure that the box with USB device boot is ticked.
Then go to System Configuration –>> Device Configurations –>> and make sure that the box with USB legacy support* is ticked as well.
(Depending on the device and BIOS version the terms can vary slightly.)
Hit Exit –> Save Changes –> Yes.
Now go back and reboot again while holding F9 to trigger “Boot Options”.
*Important note: Regarding the USB legacy support option in BIOS, it’s something that needs to be on during the installation otherwise you might not be able to boot from USB flash. However, it’s good to turn it off once you have the system installed because this thing can confuse Windows device detection and delay boot-up.
Once you have successfully launched the installation, there will be two main options:
• Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files,…
• Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)
Click on the second option, i.e. “Custom”, meaning do not upgrade. This is when you want to have a fresh, clean installation while getting rid of everything that’s been on the PC before. You did make a backup, right?
Then there will be a window where you can delete all the existing partitions, create a new one, format it and select it for installation. Thus you’re making sure that you’re starting really fresh. (There will be one more small, system “reserved” partition created automatically which you can’t install the system to. Just ignore it and leave it as it is.)
Do not “get going fast”
Now comes the important part. At a certain point you will get to a blue screen with a headline “Get going fast”. If you do want to get fast (and private) then you had better avoid what Microsoft is offering here. The best thing you can do is forget about the “
Use Express settings” button in the bottom right corner of the screen and instead, click on the “Customize” button.
It used to be a ridiculously tiny text on the left side saying ”Customize settings” in the previous Windows 10 builds, now (as of build 14393.693) they seem to have finally implemented a bit saner approach. Choosing the customization option here can right off spare you some time that you would probably spend later on searching for those options scattered across system settings and trying to turn them off.
Now, let’s make it very simple: Don’t worry and turn off everything. You will go through a total of 3 screens1 of the customization:
Personalize your speech, typing, etc. – Off
Send typing and inking etc. – Off
Let apps use your advertising ID etc. – Off
Let Skype (if installed) help you connect etc. – Off
Turn on Find My Device etc. – Off
Connectivity and error reporting
Automatically connect to … open hotspots etc. – Off
[ Automatically connect to networks shared etc. (Previous builds only) – Off ]
Automatically connect to hotspots temporarily etc. – Off
Send full error / diagnostic etc. – Off
Browser, protection, and update
Use SmartScreen2 etc. – Off
Use page prediction etc. – Off
Get updates from … other PCs etc. – Off
On the next screen select “I own it” and click “Next”.
Then there’s a screen headed with “Make it yours” prompting you to sign in to Microsoft account. If you’re not going to use OneDrive there’s really not many reasons why you would do this. So you can again head over to the bottom left of the screen and click on the tiny, inconspicuous text ”Skip this step”.
On the next screen called “Create an account for this PC” you can just type your name or whatever in the white box and, if you’re the only person intended to use the particular machine and if you want the system to start automatically without a need for entering any password, then you can just leave the other boxes blank and click on “Next”.
OK, you should have the system installed now. That was the easy part. If you want to make it really light and blazingly responsive then there are a plethora of other things you might need to turn off, alter or simply learn about. Some of the most effective means of achieving a light flavor of Windows are described in the “Settings” section of this web.
1. [As of the Redstone 2 edition (March 2017) it’s been actually reduced to just one screen offering fewer customization options. The recommendation of turning everything off still applies.]
2. [SmartScreen is a security feature that is supposed to protect you when browsing the web through Microsoft Edge browser. Strangely enough, it can slow down Windows Explorer in a really annoying manner, especially while you’re having an external hard-drive connected. You really don’t want this to be on if you care about performance and if you’re going to use another Internet browser which can be equipped with extensions that provide security without interfering with system performance.]